Clean Energy Investment Accounts for 30% of ARRA Appropriations
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At $94.8 billion, clean energy investments account for the largest portion, 30 percent, of ARRA appropriations directed for innovative infrastructure improvements. This public spending in the form of direct funds and tax incentives were appropriated to encourage innovation and adoption of clean energy technologies, establishing a foundation for a national transition to a clean energy economy. ARRA energy-related funding not only presents potential near-term economic benefits, but also long-term economic and strategic investment and a transformative opportunity for the energy sector.
The greatest opportunities to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions can be found in the transportation, power, and residential and commercial buildings sectors. To this end, ARRA clean energy provisions represent an array of investments in advances in clean transportation, renewable power generation, modernization of the electric transmission and distribution grid, carbon capture and sequestration, and building efficiency. These investments support the development, production, and/or deployment of a host of both new and existing technologies, industry training to install, operate, and maintain these technologies, and community outreach programs to facilitate market conditioning to accelerate adoption of new, energy efficient products and methods.
The Transportation Sector received the greatest stimulus boost in terms of sheer dollar allotment with more than $22 billion to promote the development, production, and purchase of energy efficient transportation solutions and technologies. ARRA funding of mass transit will be essential to reversing the years of infrastructure deterioration, the declining service reliability for transit riders, the increasing maintenance costs for transit operators, and the worrisome limitations on the ability to expand system capacity at a time of high demand. Meanwhile, ARRA investment in advanced vehicles and fuels has the potential to someday deliver affordable electric cars that can drive 300 miles on a single charge, powered by $10 of clean electricity instead of $50 of oil—a scenario that could emancipate the country from its reliance on imported oil.
The Power Sector received the second highest allotment of ARRA funding with almost $21 billion, lead by investments in the smart grid that approached $11 billion. Smart grid investment, can be regarded as the biggest stimulus winner in terms of latent impact because the favorable implementation of various other ARRA energy initiatives—increasing renewable electricity generation and enabling electric vehicles while simultaneously ensuring reliability of electric service—hinges on successful grid modernization. In addition, maximizing the efficiency of the smart grid is widely viewed as the incident that will usher in an era of energy independence for the U.S.
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