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US Stimulus package - buildings, energy efficiency, smart grid etc

18 February 2009
US Stimulus package - buildings, energy efficiency, smart grid etc

By Molly Webb, Head of Smart Technologies, The Climate Group.

Are you sick of hearing about it yet? Well, I just thought I'd log my thoughts briefly today and add to them in the future.

In total, 40% of the economic stimulus package or more will be going to tax cuts. Not exactly an investment in our future, but I'm sure people will appreciate that exta $8 per week to get a few more coffees or packets of crisps (or should I say chips!)

However, there is about $30 billion that could potentially go toward energy efficiency, smart grid and advanced battery technology. Tax incentives provide other possible $20 billion for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Where this money goes is likely to be controversial in implementation phase, however, as pointed out in this Economist article.

While £50 billion is a lot, it's nothing compared to the £12 bn that China already invested in renewables back in 2007, or what I heard on NPR from Representative Peter DeFazio is a $600 bn Chinese investment in transportation infrastructure in the next 3 years.

But individual measure add up. Take for example, buildings. "Taking everything together, the bill provides $15 billion that could be applied to building retrofits - creating a tremendous opportunity for fresh approaches.  The next challenge, therefore, is implementation," says Reid Detchon from the Energy Future Coalition. Here is his rundown of the investments related to building retrofit:

  • $3.1 billion for State Energy Programs for building retrofits
  • $3.2 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program,
  • $5 billion for low-income weatherization assistance
  • $1.32 billion to invest in energy efficiency projects and to repair and modernize Department of Defense facilities;
  • $100 million for energy conservation and alternative energy projects for the Navy and Marines;
  • $120 million for the Defense-wide Energy Conservation Investment Program;
  • $400 million to invest in energy efficiency projects and to improve, repair and modernize military medical facilities;
  • $100 million for discretionary grants to public transit agencies for capital investments that will assist in reducing the energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions of their public transit agencies;
  • $4 billion to assist public housing authorities in rehabilitating and retrofitting public housing units, including increasing the energy efficiency of units and making critical safety repairs;
  • $510 million to rehabilitate and improve energy efficiency in housing units maintained by Native American housing programs; and
  • $250 million to support a program to upgrade HUD-sponsored low-income housing to increase energy efficiency, including new insulation, windows, and furnaces.

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