Update: A revised version of this legislation was signed into law on Tuesday, February 17.
This week, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on economic stimulus legislation (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, H.R. 1). The U.S. Senate version (referred to as the Collins-Nelson Amendment or Amendment 570) differs from the legislation recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. If the U.S. Senate approves its version, a conference committee will be convened to create a single bill that will be presented to both chambers of Congress for consideration.
The U.S. Senate version of economic stimulus legislation contains a variety of investments and tax credits to support clean energy, energy efficiency, and green jobs. A summary of some of these investments (as prepared by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee) are:
$39 billion to the Department of Energy for development of clean, efficient, American energy. The Bill invests in boots-on-the-ground projects and activities that get people back to work as well as energy research, demonstration, and deployment that will provide for our future and assure a cleaner environment.
- A total of $2 billion is provided in grant funding for the manufacturing of advanced batteries systems and components and vehicle batteries that are produced in the United States, including advanced lithium ion batteries, hybrid electrical systems, component manufacturers, and software designers. Batteries are central to our efforts to decrease the oil dependence of our vehicles.
- An additional $2.6 billion is for energy efficiency and renewable energy research, development, demonstration and deployment activities to accelerate the development of technologies that will diversify the Nation’s energy portfolio and contribute to a reliable, domestic energy supply. Biofuels, geothermal, water, wind, solar, and efficiency projects will be deployed to demonstrate and improve our use of renewable energy.
- $4.2 billion is provided for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Grants.
- $1.6 billion is provided for grants to make schools and hospitals, significant users of energy, more energy efficient.
- $2.9 billion is available for the Weatherization Assistance Program.
- There is $4.6 billion for Fossil Energy research and development, including $2 billion for one or more near-zero emissions, $1 billion for the Department’s Clean Coal Power Initiative Round III Funding Opportunity Announcement and $1.6 billion for a competitive solicitation for projects that demonstrate carbon capture from industrial sources.
- The Bill provides $350 million for grants administered through the Clean Cities program of the Department for acquisition and alternative fuel or fuel-cell vehicles once again decreasing our dependence on foreign oil.
- The Bill provides $200 million for grants to states to plan and deploy electrical infrastructure projects that encourage the use of plug-in electric drive vehicles and for near term large-scale electrification projects aimed at the transportation sector, including seaports.
- The State Energy Programs are provided $500 million.
- The bill has a significant focus on the transmission system. This is in recognition of the fact that over the past decade electricity demand has grown by 20%, but transmission capability has only increased 5%. Further, as we push to get more renewable energy sources on line we will need to build out our bulk transmission lines to get stranded renewable energy on line. These stranded renewable resources are mainly in the west and the Great Plains.
- With this recognition the bill includes $4.5 billion for smart-grid related activities, including work to modernize the electric grid, enhance security and reliability, perform energy storage research, development, demonstration and deployment, and provide worker training. A smart-grid will help create greater energy efficiency, reliability, and security.
- A total of $8.5 billion is provided for new loan guarantees aimed at standard renewable projects such as wind or solar projects and for electricity transmission projects.
- $6.5 billion of increased borrowing authority is provided to the Bonneville and Western Area Power Administrations ($3.25 billion each) to pursue the construction of new transmission and upgrading of electric power transmission lines and related facilities necessary to deliver power generated by renewable energy resources. WAPA and BPA will be critical entities in our push to bring large new sources of renewable energy on to the grid.
GSA Federal Fleet: $300 million to replace older motor fleet vehicles owned by the Federal Government with alternative fuel automobiles that will save on fuel costs and reduce carbon emissions.
Green Buildings: $2.5 billion for repair of federal buildings to increase energy efficiency using green technology. Funding will help eliminate the backlog of $8.4 billion in building repair projects.
$613 million for energy efficiency upgrades and construction of alternative energy projects, including wind and solar power and photovoltaic roof systems, at Department of Defense facilities. The Department of Defense is the largest consumer of energy in the Federal government, and has made energy conservation a key component of new construction. As well as contributing to energy efficiency and innovation within the Department of Defense, energy-related military construction funding has the potential to stimulate construction and manufacturing jobs in the energy and alternative energy industry. Defense Department energy construction funding includes the following:
- Energy Conservation Investment Program: $118.5 million for energy conservation projects, energy upgrades, and construction of alternative energy projects such as wind power and photovoltaic systems at military installations Department-wide.
- Navy Energy Construction and Improvements: $494.4 million for Navy energy efficiency upgrades and construction of alternative energy projects, including wind and solar power and photovoltaic system installation.
$400 million for rural business initiatives including development of renewable energy.
- Biorefinery Assistance: $200 million for loans and grants to assist in the development of new and emerging technologies for the development of advanced biofuels.
- Rural Business Programs: $150 million to support $3 billion in loans and grants to support income and employment expansion through improved business opportunities in rural areas. These programs serve as the primary USDA tools for business development in the rural sector and are made available to rural areas with a population of 50,000 or less. As sources of private credit have become more restrictive the demand for these programs has gone up. Additionally, the Small Business Administration has reduced its lending, shifting interest to these programs. It is estimated these funds will create 34,600 private sector jobs.
- Rural Energy for America Program: $50 million for loans and grants to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy development for agricultural producers and rural small businesses. These funds are used by agricultural producers, rural small businesses, and rural schools to become more energy efficient and to use renewable energy technologies and resources through investments in renewable energy systems and other energy efficient systems. It is estimated these funds will create 1,600 private sector jobs.
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