Late last month President Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) into law.    There has been a great deal of talk about green jobs and renewable energy, however many people are not quite sure what part of the stimulus is focused on green initiatives.  So, I thought I would try to break that down for you.  The economic recovery package contains $78.6 billion in clean energy, energy efficiency, environmental and green transportation funding.   There are also energy-related tax incentives.

Want to know which country has the greenest stimulus package? Check out our global green stimulus comparison chart with country profile summaries.

Prior to signing the bill, Obama spoke of how the United States can now convert crisis into opportunity, like making the country more energy efficient, and how he would like to see the nation’s amount of renewable energy doubled in the next three years.

“Just as President Kennedy sparked an explosion of innovation when he set America’s sights on the moon, I hope this investment will ignite our imagination once more, spurring new discoveries and breakthroughs that will make our economy stronger, our nation more secure, and our planet safer for our children,” the President said.

In spite of the fact that only 1/8 of the stimulus money is used be used for green programs, environmentalists, many in the renewable energy sector, labor and workforce advocates see the ARRA as a bold first step in jump-starting the renewable energy industry in the US, creating jobs that cannot be shipped overseas, tackling environmental crisis’s and repairing our ailing economy.

The green movement had a false start and a hollow victory

For many who support the use of recovery funds for green programs, the sighing of this bill was particularly poignant because of the false start the green movement had with the hollow victory of the Green Jobs Act.   Spearheaded by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who was then a member of the House of Representatives, Congress passed the Act it as part of the energy bill in late 2007.  Up to $125 million was to be set aside to train workers for jobs in the clean energy sector, but President Bush’s budget requested $0 for the initiative.

Ironically, ARRA specifically allocates $500 million over 2 years for the Green Jobs Act’s green jobs training program that Solis fought so hard to pass in 2007.  To top that off, billions of dollars in loan guarantees that were to be used for nuclear power and liquid coal were removed from the bill at the last moment.

$30.7 billion allocated to the Energy Department

Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary of the Energy Department plans to use the stimulus money allocated to the energy department to put Americans back to work and begin to transform the way we use energy.

“We will reduce our carbon emissions and create entire new industries based on America’s resources, America’s ingenuity, and America’s workers – and these will be jobs that can’t be outsourced,” said Chu.

Chu has the ten initiatives put in place to accomplish these goals:

1.     Energy Efficient Homes and Businesses ($5 billion) –  Funding will be provided to states so that they can help homeowners and businesses: to take immediate steps toward energy efficiency, all while reducing heating and air conditioning bills and creating jobs.

2.     Greening Federal Buildings ($4.5 billion) – The Energy Department will provide funding to improve the efficiency of federal government offices and buildings, reducing energy bills and creating jobs.

3.    Renewable Energy Projects ($2.5 billion) – The money will be used to accelerate the construction of solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable energy generation facilities through a combination of loans and grants, creating jobs immediately and providing country with a clean energy supply for the future.

4.    Smart Grid Technology and Transmission Infrastructure ($4.5 billion) – The Energy Department will build the transmission lines and grid technology infrastructure needed for a better, smarter grid to transport electricity – from the places renewable energy can be produced to the places it will be used.

5.    Clean Fossil Energy Technology ($3.4 billion) – The money will be used to develop innovative technologies designed to allow our nation to safely use coal and fossil energy resources.

6.    Next Generation Biofuels ($800 million) – The Energy Department will provide grants to accelerate the research and deployment of cellulosic biofuels technologies to provide a clean alternative to imported oil.

7.    Science and Basic Research in The Energy Technologies of The Future ($1.6 billion) –  Money will be allocated to build and renovate laboratories and research facilities.  This will serve to create jobs immediately and enable the research that will sustain American industry and provide new energy and climate solutions.

8.    Battery Research and Advanced Vehicle Technologies ($2 billion) – Loans and grants to support the development of advanced vehicle batteries and battery systems to reinvigorate the U.S. auto industry, reduce the U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and transform the way automobiles are powered.

9.    Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy ($400 million) – Investments will be made to jump start advanced energy technologies by funding high-risk, high-payoff research in collaboration with industry.

10.      Cleanup of Nuclear Legacy ($6 billion) – Ongoing efforts to clean up radioactive waste from Cold War nuclear project sites will be redoubled, creating jobs and reclaiming lands for communities across the country.

The EPA will be administering $7.22 billion for environmental projects.

The U.S. Interior Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been allotted $9.2 billion for environmental projects.

“Through the President’s stimulus package, green initiatives will play a significant role in powering economic recovery,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “EPA’s portion of the plan will create good, sustainable jobs that help produce cleaner drinking water, purer air, environmentally friendly urban and rural re-development, and reduced greenhouse gases. This is a perfect example of economic growth and environmental protection working hand in hand to the benefit of all Americans,” she added.
These environmental areas include:

1.  Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund ($6 billion) –  $4 billion will be used for assistance to help communities with water quality and wastewater infrastructure needs and $2 billion  will be used for drinking water infrastructure needs. A portion of the funding will be targeted toward green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency, and environmentally innovative projects.

2. Brownfields ($100 million) – This money will be for competitive grants to evaluate and clean up former industrial and commercial sites.

3. Diesel Emissions Reduction ($300 million) – These money will be set aside for grants and loans to help regional, state and local governments, tribal agencies, and non-profit organizations with projects that reduce diesel emissions.

4. Superfund Hazardous Waste Cleanup ($600 million) – This money will be used for the cleanup of hazardous sites.

5. Leaking Underground Storage Tank Cleanup ($200 million) –  These funds have be allocated for cleanup of petroleum leaks from underground storage tanks.

Most of the stimulus funds targeting green initiatives will be administered through the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.  However, some of the funds are going to Department of Labor, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation, Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture.  Some of these  departments will be forming joint venture partnerships.  Energy-related tax incentives are also part of the stimulus.

Is was rather difficult identifying all the various progrms and their related value.  If I got something wrong or missed something, please let me know and I’ll will make the necessary changes.

So, after reviewing the list of initiatives, do you think that there are enough green initiatives in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act?

© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine,, Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine,, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.

  • Jamie O

    hey hey! great article!

    what’s missing is the retraining money- unemployed individuals scrambling to find federal funding to put towards retraining education.

    who do these attempting-to-be-productive-members-of-our-new-green-society go to in order to obtain retraining dollars to put towards their education!

    gotta get the people working in the green economy, gotta train them to do the necessary work. it’s new, gotta educate!

    cheers jamie