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ARRA of 2009 Funds Where Are You? – On Main Street, Wall Street, Big Oil or Fortune 500 Companies

August 5, 2010

Does anyone know where is the $787 billion allocated in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 . If I recall, this so called Stimulus or Recovery act was designed to create jobs and promote investment and consumer spending during the recession. It included domestic spending in education, health care, and infrastructure, including the energy sector.

Alone, the energy efficiency and renewable energy research and investment amounted to $27.2 billion and included:

  • $6 billion for renewable energy and electric transmission technologies loan guarantees
  • $5 billion for weatherizing modest-income homes
  • $3.4 billion for carbon capture and low emission coal research
  • $3.2 billion toward Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants.
  • $3.1 billion for the State Energy Program to help states invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy
  • $2 billion for manufacturing of advanced car battery (traction) systems and components.
  • $800 million for biofuel research, development, and demonstration projects
  • $602 million to support the use of energy efficient technologies in building and in industry
  • $500 million for training of green-collar workers (by the Department of Labor)
  • $400 million for the Geothermal Technologies Program
  • $400 million for electric vehicle technologies
  • $300 million for energy efficient appliance rebates
  • $300 million for state and local governments to purchase energy efficient vehicles
  • $300 million to acquire electric vehicles for the federal vehicle fleet
  • $250 million to increase energy efficiency in low-income housing
  • $204 million in funding for research and testing facilities at national laboratories
  • $190 million in funding for wind, hydro, and other renewable energy projects
  • $115 million to develop and deploy solar power technologies
  • $110 million for the development of high efficiency vehicles
  • $42 million in support of new deployments of fuel cell technologies.

 I may myopic, ill-informed or biased but it’s hard for me to see where and how these investments are actually working.

On top of that, the political news from Washington for increasing demand of renewable fuels is less than favorable. In a recent announcement, the Senate decided to abandon all efforts to pass a comprehensive climate change bill. This leaves utilities, vehicle owners, businesses and homeowners with no direction and no reason to adopt renewable energy.

As long as fossil fuel prices remain low largely due to tangible and intangible government subsidies, it is difficult to see how these $ are actually working for the American Public. It appears this the $ are working for the self-interest of the rather dethatched and elusive leaders of our country who took an oath to “promote the general Welfare.” Possibly, I misinterpreted this Constructional guarantee to be promote the general Welfare of Big Business.

 Someone, please enlighten me!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2010 5:31 AM

    Barry, that is a good analyses. Where is all the money gone?
    An who is resonsible to administrating these huge sums? Does the US American administration system have enough smart people to cope with this challenge: Asking for proposals and tenders, checking prices, checking invoices, writing checks to the right receivers and so on and so forth.

    In this list of activities, the seceltion process has not even been tackeld. Who decides, WHERE the money is going to?
    Who decides, it to go to project A and not to projet B?
    Not to forget the projects X, Y and Z.
    Maybe they will not get anything, as they only know the wrong people…
    Good for those, who know the right ones…

    I wonder if all this is running seriously. Considering the time available to make a good job out of the dirstibution of fundings.

    In Germany we have similar programmes, only with other names and a few less zero`s before the commas. I really don`t dare to think about this.
    Such huge amounts of “money washing” within the processes…

    Arno A. Evers
    Starnberg, Germany

  2. Alf Robertson permalink
    August 14, 2010 3:36 AM

    Barry – your article is correct up to a point but the devil is always in the detail and I believe you are confusing CNG with LPG is many respects. You cite Portugal as a paragon of renewable energy and certainly they are doing a lot to change things in their small country but the scale of what is needed in the US is very different and beware the law of unintended consequences. What you may not appreciate fully is that in Europe liquid fuels especially are taxed very hevily resulting in a price at the pump of around $9/gallon and many places it has broken the $10/gallon barrier. Some of this money, as does tax on electricity, goes to support the development of renewable energy power sources such as wind and biomass. Unless you introduce such a system in the US it will be difficult for you to get more than a token contribution.

    You are right that there is plenty of domestic gas reserves in the US but beware of the numbers – and remember that one of the largest gas fields in the US today is not conventional gas but shale gas and remember that much of the US gas supply comes from Canada and the Canadians may switch that off soon to allow them to use it to produce their huge reserves of tar sands – they need all their domestic gas to do that. Do you know the differential in the UK for taxing a road car now – e.g. if I run a VW 1.6ltr diesel I pay $52 per year road tax but if I run a Subaru 2.5ltr gas engine car then I pay $600 per year for the privilege – do you have the same system and differential in the US?

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