Economic Stimulus Act Provides $16.8 Billion for EERE Programs
February 18, 2009
President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17.
President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, and the measure includes $16.8 billion for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The funding is a nearly tenfold increase for EERE, which received $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2008. While the bulk of the new EERE funding is supporting direct grants and rebates, $2.5 billion will support EERE's applied research, development, and deployment activities, including $800 million for the Biomass Program, $400 million for the Geothermal Technologies Program, and $50 million for efforts to increase the energy efficiency of information and communications technologies. An additional $400 million will support efforts to add electric technologies to vehicles. And separate from the EERE budget, $400 million will support the establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E), an agency to support innovative energy research, modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). See the White House announcement and pages 58-60 and 63 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (PDF 13.4 MB), as well as pages 24-26 of the accompanying joint explanatory statement of the conference committee (PDF 10.3 MB). Download Adobe Reader.
The economic stimulus act also stipulates that $5 billion will go towards the Weatherization Assistance Program, and the act also increases the eligible income level under the program, increases the funding assistance level to $6,500 per home, and allows new weatherization assistance for homes that were weatherized as recently as 1994. A complementary measure in the act provides $4 billion to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to rehabilitate and retrofit public housing, including increasing the energy efficiency of units, plus an additional $510 million to do the same for homes maintained by Native American housing programs. HUD will receive an additional $250 million to increase the energy efficiency of HUD-sponsored, low-income housing. See pages 59, 79, 254-261, and 275-278 of the act, as well as pages 24, 28, 84, and 86-87 of the accompanying joint explanatory statement of the conference committee.
The act also directs $2 billion in EERE funds toward grants for the manufacturing of advanced battery systems and components within the United States, as well as the development of supporting software. The battery grants will support advanced lithium-ion batteries and hybrid electric systems. Another $300 million will support an Alternative Fueled Vehicles Pilot Grant Program, and an additional $300 million will support rebates for energy efficient appliances, while also supporting DOE's efforts under the Energy Star Program. The act also stipulates that $3.2 billion will go toward Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants, which were established in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, but were not previously funded. The grants will go toward states, local governments, and tribal governments to support the development of energy efficiency and conservation strategies and programs, including energy audit programs and projects to install fuel cells and solar, wind, and biomass power projects at government buildings. For background on the program, see pages 176-183 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (PDF 821 KB).
The act also stipulates that $3.1 billion of EERE funds will go toward the State Energy Program for additional grants that don't need to be matched with state funds, but the act only allows such grants for states that intend to adopt strict building energy codes and intend to provide utility incentives for energy efficiency measures. To help states implement the measures, a separate portion of the act allocates $500 million to the Department of Labor to prepare workers for careers in energy efficiency and renewable energy. See pages 59, 81-85, and 147-148 of the act, as well as pages 24, 28, and 51 of the accompanying joint explanatory statement of the conference committee.