Show Us the Money: How Green Is the Stimulus Package?

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How have you been feeling about the green economy lately?

Hopeful? Apprehensive? Excited? Skeptical? Curious? Wary? Motivated? Disillusioned?

There are more and more signs from the Obama Administration that we are moving into a new era where climate change, green jobs, and renewable resources are front and center in discussions, negotiations, and policy.


Vice President Joe Biden is directing the Middle Class Task Force in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which will focus on green jobs. The blog announcement http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog_post/save_the_date_1/ of this meeting provides their working definition of green jobs. I couldn’t have said it better myself!

“Green jobs are jobs that provide products and services which use renewable energy resources, reduce pollution, conserve energy and natural resources and reconstitute waste.” http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog_post/save_the_date_1/

As Hillary Clinton prepared for her first trip abroad, she said, “Climate change http://news.yahoo.com is not just an environmental nor an energy issue, but also has implications for our health, our economies and our security.” Several weeks ago she appointed Todd Stern as the special envoy for climate change to help restore America’s credentials and leadership in shaping environmental policy. Stern was the former White House assistant who was the chief U.S. negotiator at the Kyoto Protocol.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

This week we enter a new phase of the journey that bring to mind the phrase: Show Me the Money!

Ironically what is breathing life into the green economy is the depressed state of the traditional economy due to problems in the banking industry, downturns in the housing industry, and the increasing unemployment rate. The goal of this stimulus package is to invest in areas of the economy that will provide immediate jobs, new innovations, and support emerging industries in their efforts to grow. It just so happens that the green economy can drive all three of these desired outcomes.

As you scan the description of the green elements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 below, pay particular attention to the green industries targeted by the stimulus package.

  1. How do these industries line up with your passions and your target niche? 2) What can you learn about the future of your target industry from what’s listed here? 3) What new ideas and directions come to your mind as you review the list below?

The wording for these bullets is taken directly from an email I received from my Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. (Please note: I deleted provisions, tax cuts, and funding that do not address green issues. My additions are in parentheses.)

High Tech and Green Tech Provisions
  • $11 billion for smart-grid related activities, including work to modernize the electric grid.

  • $6.3 billion for energy efficiency and conservation grants.

  • $2.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy research.

  • $2 billion in grant funding for the manufacturing of advanced batteries systems and components and vehicle batteries that are produced in the United States.

  • $6 billion for new loan guarantees aimed at standard renewable projects such as wind or solar projects and for electricity transmission projects.

  • $1 billion for other energy efficiency programs including alternative fuel trucks and buses, transportation charging infrastructure, and smart and energy efficient appliances.

Science and Energy Funding and Incentives
  • Federal Building Energy Efficiency – $4.5 billion

  • Fossil Energy Research and Development – $3.4 billion (degree of green depends on projects funded)

  • Weatherization Assistance Program – $5 billion

  • National Science Foundation – $3 billion (degree of green depends on projects funded)

  • Science at the Department of Energy – $2 billion, including $400 million to Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association – $830 million

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology – $580 million which includes the Technology Innovation Program

Energy Tax Credits and Funding
  • Advanced Energy Investment Credit: Establishes a new manufacturing investment tax credit for investment in advanced energy facilities, such as facilities that manufacture components for the production of renewable energy, advanced battery technology, and other innovative next-generation green technologies.

  • Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles: Provides a tax credit for families that purchase plug-in hybrid vehicles of up to $7,500 to spur the next generation of American cars.

  • Long-term Extension and Modification of Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit: Includes a three-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for electricity derived from wind (through 2012) and for electricity derived from biomass, geothermal, hydropower, landfill gas, waste-to-energy, and marine facilities (through 2013).

  • Temporary Election to Claim the Investment Tax Credit in Lieu of the Production Tax Credit: Facilities that produce electricity from wind, closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, geothermal, small irrigation, hydropower, landfill gas, waste-to-energy, and marine renewable facilities are eligible for a production tax credit. The bill would allow facilities to elect to claim the investment tax credit in lieu of the production tax credit.

  • Removal of Dollar Limitations on Certain Energy Credits: The bill would repeal the individual dollar caps. As a result, each of these properties would be eligible for an uncapped thirty percent (30%) credit.

  • Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (“CREBs”): The bill authorizes an additional $1.6 billion for new clean renewable energy bonds to finance facilities that generate electricity from the following resources: wind, closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, geothermal, small irrigation, hydropower, landfill gas, marine renewable, and trash combustion facilities.

  • Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds: The bill authorizes an additional $2.4 billion for qualified energy conservation bonds to finance State, municipal and tribal government programs and initiatives designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Tax Credits for Energy-Efficient Improvements to Existing Homes: Promotes energy-efficient investments in homes by extending and expanding tax credits through 2010 for purchases such as new furnaces, energy-efficient windows and doors, or insulation.

  • Transportation and Infrastructure Funding-The legislation will invest $8.4 billion for investments in public transportation. State and local governments will be eligible for an additional $1.5 billion in competitive grants for transportation investments. $9.3 billion will be invested in Amtrak, High Speed and Intercity Rail. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will allow high-speed rail exempt facility bonds to be used to develop rail facilities that are used by trains that are capable of attaining speeds in excess of 150 miles per hour.

Don’t be discouraged if your target green niche doesn’t appear in this list. Most of these funds are going to technologies and renewable energies that will fuel the green economy. Furthermore, all of the companies that are going to do this work are going to need the same business infrastructure roles of any other business; management, finance, marketing, sales, operations, human resources, training etc.

As you consider the possible openings and opportunities that will develop from this package, stay true to your interests and passions. Stay alert to how these developments begin a ripple effect into other areas of the green economy.

About the Author: Green Career Expert Carol McClelland, PhD, is the author of Your Dream Career For Dummies and founder and executive director of Green Career Central, a one-stop website with easy-to-use programs and effective targeted information to help you identify your green niche, find a green job, start a green business or get a green education. Visit http://www.GreenCareerCentral.com to request our free report – “Six Strategies to Find Your Green Career”

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