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Breaking: Details of Obama’s green stimulus plan released

By Joe Romm  

"Breaking: Details of Obama’s green stimulus plan released"


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Obama’s entire package, plus a statement, is out.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 has a lot of green provisions, many of which were recommended by the Center for American Progress (see “A Strategy for Green Recovery“).

Obama proposes more than $50 billion in green stimulus to “create jobs with clean, efficient, American energy” and asserts:

To put people back to work today and reduce our dependence on foreign oil tomorrow, we will make investments aimed at doubling renewable energy production and renovate public buildings to make them more energy efficient. America’s energy shortcomings present a huge opportunity to put people to work in ways that will transform our economy.

Here are the details:

• Reliable, Efficient Electricity Grid: $11 billion for research and development, pilot projects, and federal matching funds for the Smart Grid Investment Program to modernize the electricity grid making it more efficient, secure, and reliable and build new power lines to transmit clean, renewable energy from sources throughout the nation.
• Renewable Energy Loan Guarantees: $8 billion for loans for renewable energy power generation and transmission projects.
• GSA Federal Buildings: $6.7 billion for renovations and repairs to federal buildings including at least $6 billion focused on increasing energy efficiency and conservation. Projects are selected based on GSA’s ready-to-go priority list.
• Local Government Energy Efficiency Block Grants: $6.9 billion to help state and local governments make investments that make them more energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions.
• Energy Efficiency Housing Retrofits: $2.5 billion for a new program to upgrade HUD sponsored low-income housing to increase energy efficiency, including new insulation, windows, and furnaces. Funds will be competitively awarded.
• Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Research: $2 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities to foster energy independence, reduce carbon emissions, and cut utility bills. Funds are awarded on a competitive basis to universities, companies, and national laboratories.
• Advanced Battery Loans and Grants: $2 billion for the Advanced Battery Loan Guarantee and Grants Program, to support U.S. manufacturers of advanced vehicle batteries and battery systems. America should lead the world in transforming the way automobiles are powered.
• Energy Efficiency Grants and Loans for Institutions: $1.5 billion for energy sustainability and efficiency grants and loans to help school districts, institutes of higher education, local governments, and municipal utilities implement projects that will make them more energy efficient.
• Home Weatherization: $6.2 billion to help low-income families reduce their energy costs by weatherizing their homes and make our country more energy efficient.
• Smart Appliances: $300 million to provide consumers with rebates for buying energy efficient Energy Star products to replace old appliances, which will lower energy bills.
• GSA Federal Fleet: $600 million to replace older vehicles owned by the federal government with alternative fuel automobiles that will save on fuel costs and reduce carbon emissions.
• Electric Transportation: $200 million for a new grant program to encourage electric vehicle technologies.
• Cleaning Fossil Energy: $2.4 billion for carbon capture and sequestration technology demonstration projects. This funding will provide valuable information necessary to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere from industrial facilities and fossil fuel power plants.
• Department of Defense Research: $350 million for research into using renewable energy to power weapons systems and military bases.
• Alternative Buses and Trucks: $400 million to help state and local governments purchase efficient alternative fuel vehicles to reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions.
• Industrial Energy Efficiency: $500 million for energy efficient manufacturing demonstration projects.

UPDATE: I left out the transportation stuff:

Transit: Public transportation saves Americans time and money, saving as much as 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline and reducing carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons each year.
• New Construction: $1 billion for Capital Investment Grants for new commuter rail or other light rail systems to increase public use of mass transit and to speed projects already in construction. The Federal Transit Administration has $2.4 billion in pre-approved projects.
• Upgrades and Repair: $2 billion to modernize existing transit systems, including renovations to stations, security systems, computers, equipment, structures, signals, and communications. Funds will be distributed through the existing formula. The repair backlog is nearly $50 billion.
• Transit Capital Assistance: $6 billion to purchase buses and equipment needed to increase public transportation and improve intermodal and transit facilities. The Department of Transportation estimates a $3.2 billion maintenance backlog and $9.2 billion in needed improvements. The American Public Transportation Association identified 787 ready-to-go transit projects totaling $15.5 billion. Funds will be distributed through the existing formulas.

Amtrak and Intercity Passenger Rail Construction Grants: $1.1 billion to improve the speed and capacity of intercity passenger rail service. The Department of Transportation’s Inspector General estimates the North East Corridor alone has a backlog of over $10 billion.

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13 Responses to Breaking: Details of Obama’s green stimulus plan released

  1. ken levenson says:

    Seems like a great start – for day 1. What do you think Joe?

  2. MikeB says:

    It looks like a good start, but I was hoping for more. $50 billion is a big number, but this is one area where stimulus spending could be extremely effective, generating jobs and also making progress towards climate change.

    For example, I’m middle-class with an older home that needs new windows and probably more attic insulation. I don’t see anything to help or encourage me to spend the money on making my house more efficient. Support is there for low-income people, but middle-class people need some nudging too.

  3. bt says:

    Joe -
    Do you know something we don’t re: the closeness of the Obama team and House leadership on these proposals?
    This is a House bill. I’m thinking the Senate may have a different opinion on a lot of aspects, maybe significantly so. And the big unknown is whether this or the Senate or neither more closely represents the Obama team?
    We’ll see some shift from this initial proposal, but how much?

  4. I think the proper metric for judging the scope of the energy program is annual expenditures on our Mideast energy wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, $150 billion per year.

    Obama has set goals for making 2 million homes more efficient and doubling renewable energy production during his term. But Chicago alone plans to weatherize 400,000 buildings. Why not make ALL American buildings more efficient? We could do this with $150 billion per year, plus build an amazing smart grid, move rapidly toward the goal set by Al Gore to replace carbon-based electricity with renewable energy in 10 years, and deploy huge numbers of plug-in vehicles.

    Of course the tremendous added benefit of all this is reduction of our vulnerability to foreign oil. I have thought for the past several years that the proper metric by which to measure federal energy efforts is our expenditures on Mideast energy wars. We’ve been spending $150 billion a year on these. With that same amount of money, we could create millions of jobs (way more than 3 million), turbocharge the economy with green energy, and make the US the absolute global leader in clean energy technology, while dramatically reducing our global warming pollution and foreign oil dependence.

    We’ve wasted an incredible amount of money in Iraq, not to mention thousands of lives. Let’s invest in solving the problem that drove us into such a foolish war. Launch a real New Apollo Energy Project that devotes money and resources equal to our urgent energy and climate challenges. Solving them won’t be easy, but like JFK said about the original Apollo Project, we don’t do this because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.

  5. Details of the clean energy proposals in the stimulus package are at http://www.apolloalliance.org. We calculate $126 billion over two years for clean energy, good jobs facets of the stimulus. A program by program analysis is here:

    Obama and Congress are proposing the first truly transcendent idea for public interest investment and policy making since the 1970s. Best, Keith

  6. hapa says:

    “transcendent”… what’s now praiseworthy, other than meeting prudent targets? there’s no such “honorable try” in this. going halfway would be a historic effort but would historians be impressed?

  7. Jim Newberry says:

    Just a few PRELIMINARY thoughts:

    1) DARPA (Defense) which already receives tens of billions per year gets hundreds of millions more for clean, green weapons
    2) One of the most troublesome, destructive and subsidized technologies we use, coal, gets more than $2 billion for “research” on how not to release what the definition of combustion requires
    3) End-use efficiency and renewables, which should both receive billions per year in R&D, share less than coal gets alone
    4) New light rail for the entire nation gets less than half the cost of a boat made down the road from me in Groton (submarines)
    5) Weatherization retrofit support only applies to gov. and low-income sectors, which is at least consistant at this point in time

    Is this what we should call bold? (How about transferring at least some of the $50 billion-plus annual federal subsidies from entrenced fuels?)

    It’s a start, but needs work.

  8. Dean says:

    I heard Boehner, the House Republican leader, on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, identify the $6.2 weatherization program as among those aspects of the bill that he considers “wasteful,” because it “won’t create jobs” (unlike a “sensible” highway program). So you see what we’re up against.

    [JR: Yeah. I heard that. Imagine, a conservative who thinks it is a waste of taxpayer money to weatherize the homes of low-income households. Did he also say "Bah, Humbug!"]

  9. red says:

    I’d like to see some prizes to encourage technical innovations or energy efficient or environmentally friendly behavior at the national, community, or individual level. If done correctly, they can generate economic activity in the short run without costing more than trivial amounts in the short run (perhaps one Federal employee’s salary, or a fraction of it), since most of the work can be off-loaded to non-profits. When the innovations are achieved (probably years later if ever), more money is spent, but presumably it’s been designed so the innovation is worth the prize money.

  10. red says:

    Here are some other bits that sound somewhat related, in many cases on the environment monitoring or science research sides (rather than deployment of energy efficiency and the like):

    National Science Foundation: $3 billion, including $2 billion for expanding employment opportunities in fundamental science and engineering to meet environmental challenges and to improve global economic competitiveness…

    Department of Energy: $1.9 billion for basic research into the physical sciences including high-energy physics, nuclear physics, and fusion energy sciences and improvements to DOE laboratories and scientific facilities. $400 million is for the Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy to support high-risk, high-payoff research into energy sources and energy efficiency.

    NASA: $600 million, including $400 million to put more scientists to work doing climate change research, including Earth science research recommended by the National Academies, satellite sensors that measure solar radiation critical to understanding climate change, and a thermal infrared sensor to the Landsat Continuing Mapper necessary for water management, particularly in the western states; …

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Satellites and Sensors: $600 million for satellite development and acquisitions, including climate sensors and climate modeling.

    … plus various clean water, environment cleanup, hydropower, and other projects that are somewhat related …

  11. Chris Jordan says:

    I certainly hope for the best in the future using multiple forms of transportation: electric vehicles, public transit (trains, busses, air, monorail… whatever!). Last year I purchased an electric car, but it cost me a small fortune since the small vehicle was an unusual import. Although it was a quite expensive – and self destructive – vehicle; it is a joy to drive such a small non-polluting car. I hope Obama allows uncommon electric vehicles like this to flourish; preferably with solar charging stations popping up all over the place!

  12. Captain says:

    Unless your electric car was recharged using wind or solar power (highly unlikely) then it was polluting via coal derived electricity …although less than a conventional gasoline or diesel powered vehicle.

    Also, to the poster who asked about money to weatherize his home … do it yourself. Don’t sit on your fat lazy ass waiting for handouts as people on welfare do.

  13. Link TV says:

    Check out the Global Pulse video on this, showing how different TV news around the world are covering the issue.

    Watch it here: http://www.linktv.org/video/3479

    I’m an intern with Link TV, the nonprofit that produces Global Pulse. Interesting to see how the rest of the world is reporting on the news.