On Friday the US Congress passed the final version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the “stimulus package”, and President Obama is slated to sign it on Tuesday. If you want you can read it yourself, either the part related to taxes, or to spending, although altogether it’s about 1000 pages worth of stimulus. Renewable Energy World has a summary of some of the provisions. It is everyone’s hope that this important measure will get the economy back in gear and moving again. The $787 billion in the final bill is a lot of money. Some say too much, while others fear not enough. Other measures in the works are being designed to deal with the housing crisis and credit crunch. However you feel about this government action, one thing that is clear is that it focuses a significant chunk of its attention and money on the green economy, a huge step forward for businesses that can take advantage of this opportunity.
The stimulus focuses billions of dollars on renewable energy and energy efficiency through a combination of grants, direct spending, loan guarantees, bonds, and tax incentives. Altogether the bill spends about $80 billion on renewable energy, improving the electrical grid, increasing use of biofuels, developing electric cars, and making homes and federal buildings more energy efficient. This investment could create millions of jobs in the years ahead, and opportunities for thousands of businesses across the country, helping green businesses to continue being a bright point in the economy.
One of the great things about these investments is that they create jobs and create business in the near term over the next few months as the provisions are enacted, and continue stimulating the economy later on. Every dollar spent on energy efficiency releases far more dollars later on, saving money every month with lower utility bills, money that can be spent more productively elsewhere. Renewable energy creates jobs in the near term, supports further research and development, and helps take us a step closer to a cleaner economy, without the cost of fossil fuel pollution and the potentially huge cost of climate change further down the road. The stimulus is a lot of money, it’s true, but if it accomplishes goals like these then it is money well spent.