How Obama’s stimulus is creating clean energy jobs

Here’s what we hear:  a naggingly high unemployment rate, a wavering stock market, tea party protests, low approval ratings for the President and the party in power…

Here’s what we don’t hear: President Obama’s stimulus package is funding green technology around the nation – creating jobs, spurring innovation and transforming the U.S. economy.

That’s Dan Heffernan writing at  Here’s more of the story that we rarely see in the media:

The Obama administration ensured that a portion of last year’s Recovery Act went towards fulfilling a campaign pledge: 1 million electric cars on U.S. highways by 2015. To that end, $2.4 billion was intended to jump start an entire industry geared toward the production of lighter, more energy-dense lithium-ion batteries to power the next generation of vehicles.

Just one example: With a $249 million share of these funds, A123 systems is building battery-production plants across Michigan, employing about 800 workers and laying the groundwork for a grand conversion of Michigan’s faltering economy towards green technology. Another $110 million is helping Johnson Controls – Saft convert a closed auto parts factory into a state-of-the-art battery-production plant in Holland, MI . In addition to more, lighter batteries with the capacity to go farther on a charge, an electric car industry requires an entirely new infrastructure to support it: charging stations. ECOtality (based in Arizona) received $114 million, which it bundled into a larger funding package to set up 15,000 charging stations in 16 cities across 6 states, including the San Diego Metro Area. With a support structure like this, sales of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf (all-electric vehicles due to roll out in late 2010 and early 2012, respectively) could get a serious boost.

But stimulus investments in green technology aren’t just about electric cars. With a 1,400 percent increase in wind energy production in the U.S. since 2000, and China emerging as a formidable rival in the renewable energy business, some Stimulus funding has been targeted towards spurring innovation (and continuing to increase capacity) in the wind power industry.

Cannon Power is using a $200 million grant expand its wind farm in Washington by more than 350-megawatts – creating 250 jobs and providing enough clean energy to power some 250,000 homes every year. Energetx received $3.5 million for research into new advances in wind turbine blade production. And in a sign of optimism, Energetx has teamed up with Grand Rapids Community College for a specialized training program to help fulfill anticipated needs of more than 1,000 additional workers.

Green technology, green energy, green jobs…  Stimulus a failure? Think again.

— Dan Heffernan lives and works in San Francisco. His storied academic background includes Environmental Policy and Planning, Economics and Wildlife Biology. His passion for all things green is matched only by his obsession with national politics. For a heavily-biased political rant, check out his blog at This is a Reuter’s repost.

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5 Responses to How Obama’s stimulus is creating clean energy jobs

  1. Daniel Ives says:

    I’d love to see the Democrats show some backbone and defend the stimulus heading into the midterms, especially since the GOP want to attack it as a failed policy. Wishful thinking?

  2. Rob says:

    Most news outlets will never find encouraging as sexy as scary, or facts as scary as rhetoric – which makes reading this a breath of fresh air.

  3. pete best says:

    Mid term elections are not looking too good for the democrats as jobs are not being created quickly enough and the economy does not appear to be recovering rapidly enough. The republicans are getting very right wing thinking candidates into the running. Its a no go for ACC action on the scales required and it might still mean FF growth of 2-3% per annum for the forseeable future.

  4. Michael Tucker says:

    Yes, Daniel Ives, I would love to see that too! We rarely hear from the press, the administration, or from campaigning Democrats regarding the success of the stimulus. We hear that it is slow to stimulate jobs and should be ended. The Republicans want to ‘stop spending’ and they don’t mean subsidies for oil; they want to end the stimulus spending among other programs that benefit working and unemployed Americans.

    The president has mentioned it BUT NOT FORCFULLY ENOUGH. He must get his administration talking about this and campaigning Democrats MUST make the truth clear!

  5. BBHY says:

    “The Republicans are getting very right wing thinking candidates”

    Actually, the Republican establishment has been mostly resisting these candidates until they are forced to accept them. It is really the Koch brothers (aka Tea Party) who are the driving force behind these candidates.