Fast Company Magazine brings us an excellent resource to review the projects, including energy, in the Stimulus bill and how the list was generated. View writer, Chris Dannen, full artile here, “Breaking Down the “Energy” Projects in the Stimulus.”
Here is an excerpt:
Most of the projects in the the President’s $900 billion stimulus package are the kind of public works the government has executed for decades: trains, bridges, and so on. But the “Energy” projects that will be eligible for funding are full of new technologies that have never before been implemented on a large scale. What exactly are they?
According to the House Committee on Appropriations, the House version of the bill reserves “energy” monies for the following project categories.
- $11 billion for R&D devoted to the Smart Grid Investment Program and various energy pilot projects
- $8 billion for loans for renewable energy plants
- $6.9 billion for loans to state and local governments, to help them make general “investments” that will increase their energy efficiency
- $8.7 billion to weatherize HUD-sponsored and moderate income housing
- $2 billion in loans and grants for battery technology
- $1.5 billion for increasing the efficiency of schools and colleges
- $300 million in rebates for consumers who buy Energy Star-rated appliances
- $1 billion to buy alternative fuel cars for federal, state and local government
- $200 million in grants towards electric vehicle research
- $2.4 billion for carbon-capture technology to cleanse fossil fuel energy
- $350 for the Department of Defense to figure out how to power bases and weapons with renewable energy
- $500 million for energy-efficient manufacturing projects
- $300 for reducing diesel emissions.
You can read the House’s summary of the bill here.
We know a little bit about the so-called “smart grid” that President Obama is advocating. The smart grid is an energy transmission system that can handle variable energy levels, and can pull energy from homes and businesses as easily as it can send energy there. That makes inconsistent generators like wind turbines and solar panels feasible energy sources, and opens the possibility for hybrid cars and houses to sell back some of their energy to the utility company.
But the details of the other projects are discussed largely in catch phrases and metonyms. To figure out where this money will actually go, you have to dig into the pages of the Main Street Economic Recovery Report, which is a list of potential stimulus projects compiled by the US Conference of Mayors. As I explained in an earlier post, the mayors of America’s cities will be the ones sending stimulus ideas to the state-level government, who, in turn, will apply for funding from the Department of Commerce once the stimulus–aka the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act–is signed into law at the end of this week.
But if you want a more Web 2.0 way to explore the mayors’ project suggestions, you can check out Stimulus Watch, which has ported the mayors’ list, and allows people to vote and comment on the projects.
The mayors’ report lists over 1300 “energy” and related project ideas in all 50 states. This is the meat and potatoes of the stimulus package, right here; each idea is summarized with job-creation predictions and cost estimates. It’s also the most exciting part of the act, because many of these suggested projects will, if enacted, bring thousands of talked-about “green” ideas to immediate popular use.