As a whole, Americans are excited for a change in our government and are sincerely hoping that the stimulus package that President Obama put into place will truly stop this financial landside our country is currently in. When I first thought of the stimulus package I really only thought of it in the sense of how is it going to help our pocketbooks and those companies that are struggling to make ends meet. However, after looking at a few highlights of the package it is important to acknowledge how it will help our energy use and how it does some things for our sustainability of energy as a country.
The stimulus package gives the alternative and sustainable energy sector loans, tax incentives and grants totaling up to $6 billion. This is a direct focus on an energy sector that needs to have the time spent on creating new options and educating the world on those options.
The second key piece I found in the stimulus package was the focus on energy conservation in both buildings and in homes. There is a $1500 tax credit that homeowners can qualify for by making energy efficiency changes such as installing energy efficient water heaters, furnaces, boilers, air source heat pumps and central air conditioners in 2009 and 2010. There is a trickledown effect with programs like the tax incentive because initially it looks like the homeowner is the one that wins by receiving $1500. However, the new appliances must usually be installed by a contractor which gets them back to work and reduces the homeowner’s monthly electricity and gas bills. At the same time it reduces the hit on the environment with fewer emissions and uses less of our natural resources that are already under an incredibly high demand.
Another part of the stimulus package that benefits energy conservation is the language that calls for state and local governments to focus on weatherization programs. Once again this is a program that can benefit the homeowner by saving on their monthly bills by weatherizing the home. As well, it gives those that do this type of work a job and reduces energy consumption overall. There was also $500 million set aside to help workers train for “green jobs”, money set aside to study batteries for electric cards and money for “clean coal” work.
The stimulus package appears to target all levels of energy conservation. Beginning with saving at the home levels to public buildings. It looks at how to conserve energy and how to generate clean energy and renewable energy. I believe our energy sector and environment were the big winners when this stimulus was signed. To read a summary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment document click HERE!