Friday, May 29, 2009

How Many Green Jobs Have Been Created By Stimulus Spending?

President Barack Obama recently claimed that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has created or saved an estimated 150,000 jobs over the past few months, including new green jobs. According to the President, Americans have been put to work “…building solar panels and wind turbines, making homes and offices more energy efficient.” Yet details about how many green jobs have been created by federal economic stimulus spending remain sketchy at the moment.

What information is currently available does seem to indicate that at least some of the stimulus spending over the past few months has gone towards projects and programs capable of creating green jobs. Using information found on and related government websites, I have compiled a brief list of programs that capable of creating green jobs that have received stimulus funds to date.

Department of Housing and Urban Development 

Assisted House Stability and Energy and Green Retrofit Investments: Total Amount Paid Out: $205,370,367

Description: N/A

Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources Conservation

Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations: Total Amount Paid Out - $2,200,517

Watershed Rehabilitation Act: Total Amount Paid Out - $212,077

Description: Will fund projects that provide the greatest public and environmental benefits through floodplain easements and investments in watershed infrastructure improvements. Watershed rehabilitation projects will mitigate the risks of failure and threats to public safety posed by aging flood control infrastructure. Potential projects are being evaluated and specific information will be posted as implementation proceeds.

Department of Education:

Impact Aid: Total amount paid out - $39,517,011

Description: Awards must be used for construction activities, including the preparation of drawings and specifications for school facilities; erecting, building, acquiring, altering, remodeling, repairing, or extending school facilities; and inspecting and supervising the construction of school facilities. Criteria for project selection includes: “The extent to which projects would use energy-efficient and recyclable materials.”

Department of Energy:

Defense Environmental Cleanup: Total Amount Paid Out – $10,989,818

Description: N/A

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Total Amount Paid Out - $9,871,909

Description: Stimulus money will be used to fund EPA’s Biomass Projects, Clean Cities FY09 Petroleum Reduction Technologies for the Transportation Sector, Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants, Geothermal Technologies Program, High Penetration Solar Development, Large Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility, National Laboratory Call for Foundational Photovoltaics and Concentrating Solar Power Research Development, Solar Market Transformation, State Energy Program Formula Grants, Transportation Electrification, Weatherization Assistance Program Formula Grants, Wind Energy Consortia between Institutions of Higher Learning and Industry

Non-defense Environmental Cleanup: Total Amount Paid Out - $152,210

Description: N/A

Department of the Interior:

Resource Management: Total Amount Paid Out $25,581

Description: N/A

Operation of the National Park System: Total Amount Paid Out: $151,131

Description: N/A

Water and Related Resources: Total Amount Paid Out: $190,095

Description: N/A

Environmental Protection Agency: 

Total Amount Paid Out: $4,052,986

Description: Programs funded by stimulus package include the EPA’s Brownfields Program, Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, Leaking Underground Storage Tanks Program, National Clean Diesel Campaign, Superfund Hazardous Waste Cleanup Program

This list is not meant to be comprehensive. The American Recovery and Relief Act provides for $787 billion in economic stimulus spending over the next few years, according the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. A total of about $125 billion in funding has been made available to federal agencies to date, according to A little over $35 billion of this funding has been spent by federal agencies thus far. The list contains only those projects and programs that have received a portion of this actual spending. It does not contain a number of key programs capable of creating green jobs that have been designated for funding in the future.

The website is currently focused on providing the public with information about how stimulus funds are being allocated by category, state, and government agency. Brief overviews of some of the programs that have already received funding can be found on related government websites, but few details about these programs are available. What is available is a number of Excel spreadsheets that provide information about how much money federal agency been “paid out” so far. Wading through these spreadsheets is a cumbersome task.

The Council of Economic Advisors has projected that federal stimulus spending will create .7 million jobs in 2009, 3 million in 2010, 2.5 million in 2011, and .7 million in 2012. While these projections provide reason for optimism, there is a great need for greater transparency as more information about the actual impacts of stimulus spending become available. The site provides little hard evidence to back up President Obama’s claim that 175,000 jobs have been created by stimulus spending so for. Nor does it provide any information about the number or types of green jobs that have been created by stimulus spending.

To some extent, this is understandable. The American Recovery and Relief Act was signed into law on February 19, 2009. It takes time for any law to be implemented, and the government has acted relatively quickly in beginning to allocate and distribute funding. Information posted on indicates that the site will contain more details about stimulus spending and its impacts as more information becomes available over the coming months and years. It is important that the Obama administration follows through on these promises. Projections do not replace hard, verifiable data.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Obama: Stimulus Money Is Already Creating New Green Jobs

Yesterday, President Barack Obama announced the release of a report that provides early incite into role that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has played in creating new jobs across the nation.

“In these last few months, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has saved or created nearly 150,000 jobs -- jobs building solar panels and wind turbines, making homes and buildings more energy efficient,” according to Obama. “They're the jobs of teachers and police officers and nurses who have not been laid off as a consequence of this Recovery Act. They're the jobs fixing roads and bridges, jobs at start-ups and small businesses, and jobs that will put thousands of young Americans to work this summer.”

The report, entitled Recovery Report: 100 Days, 100 Projects, provides a small sampling of the job creating projects and programs that have been funded by the federal stimulus package to date. Among them are a number of projects designed to create new green jobs by investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and environmental conservation.

Here are a few highlights from the report:

“Using $27 million of Recovery Act funding, a public housing development in Washington, D.C., the Regency House, has undergone a green retrofit. As part of this upgrade, the building installed solar panels, a ‘green’ roof, a rainwater collection system, energy-efficient lighting as well as water conserving toilets, showerheads, and faucets. The greening of this building will allow the Regency House to save money in energy costs, while lessening their impact on the environment.”

“The Housing Authority of Laredo, Texas, has begun using $1.5 million in Recovery Act funds to implement “green” improvements at a number of older developments. The work will entail installing energy-efficient windows; weatherizing the exterior roofs, vents and siding; installing Solar Attic Fans; installing Solar Security Lighting; and, installing Energy Star Appliances throughout the developments. Combined, these improvements will drive down energy costs for the developments, while also lessening their impact on the environment.”

“The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will receive $64 million in federal stimulus money, with most of the funds going toward roadwork. The park’s trails, cemeteries, public restrooms and other buildings also will be improved. The park has already hired its own temporary workers for the projects.”

“A federal stimulus grant worth $17.5 million will fund the development of a solar fuels research center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the university said Wednesday. The five-year grant, which comes from the U.S. Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will fund research on how to use artificial photo¬synthesis to produce low-cost and efficient solar fuels. The research at UNC would study how to use the sun’s energy to make fuels from water and carbon dioxide that could be used for heating, transportation or energy storage.”

“Elgin Community College, in Illinois, will use Recovery Act funds to create a summer jobs program for 16-to-24-year-olds. The program offers participants a chance to serve their community by working on green projects, earn a salary, and receive educational resources.”

“$20.6 million in Recovery Act funding is accelerating cleanup at the Iron Mountain Superfund site near Redding, California. These additional funds will make it possible to dredge, treat, and dispose of heavy-metal contaminated sediments in the Spring Creek arm of the Keswick Reservoir, a project originally slated to take three years that can now be completed in 18 months.”


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Obama Administration Announces $500 Million For Green Jobs Education, Training, And Job Placement Assistance

Yesterday, the Obama administration announced plans to invest $500 million in grants for green jobs training programs. The money will be used to train workers for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. $50 million worth of grants will be directed towards communities that have been impacts by the recent restructuring of the auto industry.

The announcement came at a meeting of the Middle Class Task Force in Denver and was accompanied by information about a new partnership between the Department of Labor, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Education. The new partnership will bolster the government’s efforts to provide students, the unemployed, and disadvantaged workers with the education, training, and job placement assistance they will need to compete for jobs in the nation’s growing green economy.

"Over the past three months, members of the Task Force and their staffs have come together to work on ways in which we can leverage programs at different agencies to ensure that green jobs are accessible to middle-class workers, as well as lower-income workers trying to gain a foothold into the middle class," Vice President Joe Biden was quoted as saying.

Biden also called upon the Council for Environment Quality to prepare a report on proposals that will prepare the way for future investments in the green economy. The proposals are expected to include programs designed to make commercial and residential buildings more energy efficient and develop new tools that will help Americans find green jobs. The administration hopes to revolving-loans and other forms of private financing to continue making investments in the green economy once funding from the stimulus package has been distributed.

The administration has already made great strides in using stimulus money to create jobs improving the energy efficiency of American homes by boosting in the federal Weatherization Assistance Program from $250 million in 2008 to $5 billion, according to one White House official.

“That translates to jobs for professionally trained crews using computerized energy audits and advanced equipment to determine the most cost-effective measures,” according to Van Jones, Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environment Quality. “To meet this demand for workers, there will have to be a huge ramp-up in training workers. That's why the Recovery Act also includes $500 million for green job training through the Department of Labor.”