The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Recovery Act projects will stimulate economic development, provide opportunities for new jobs in growing industries, and lay the foundation for a clean energy future. It will do this through investments in three strategic areas: 1) Advanced Transportation; 2) Energy Efficiency; and 3) Renewable Electricity Generation.
EERE Recovery Act funding will broadly benefit Americans by providing more widely available clean energy choices that both increase energy security and help our environment. It will do this through accelerating the rate at which cost-effective clean energy technologies are deployed, bringing them to the market more quickly. A major benefit of these Recovery Act projects will be the creation of specialized green-collar jobs in the clean energy industry, which will be needed for a significant increase in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and vehicle technology activities. These funds will help make the U.S. competitive in a growing industry and lessen our nation’s reliance on other countries to supply our energy needs. Some of the specific public benefits in each of the three core investment areas are outlined below.
Advanced Transportation: Recovery Act projects in this area will focus on reducing U.S. dependence on oil through investments in advanced vehicle technologies, such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), fuel cells, and advanced biofuel technologies, such as non-food based, or cellulosic ethanol. Investing in new vehicle technologies will expand consumer choices in vehicle models and offer non-petroleum based vehicle options, ultimately driving down petroleum demand. Making steps towards shifting the transportation system to electrification will also help start the U.S. on the path of diversifying away from oil as the primary transportation fuel and towards more steady fuel prices for consumers. On a larger scale, reduction of oil use in the transportation sector greatly adds to U.S. energy and national security, and achieving 35 miles per gallon average fleet efficiency by 2016. Expansion into next-generation vehicle technologies also might be a pathway for revitalization for the ailing U.S. automotive industry.
Energy Efficiency: Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, fastest energy source to deploy and the most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Recovery Act provides for unprecedented investments in the weatherization of homes of low-income Americans, state and local energy efficiency programs, ENERGY STAR appliance rebates, and buildings and industrial efficiency. Ultimately, the Recovery Act will allow for execution of the largest weatherization program in U.S. history and lay the foundation for an expansion of the program in the future. Reducing electricity demand can also postpone the need to invest in new generation capacity, a cost that is ultimately passed on to rate payers.
Renewable Electricity Generation: While the U.S. has installed the most wind energy of any country in the world over the past four years, wind still only supplies less than 2 percent of U.S. electricity generation. With Recovery Act funds, EERE will make strategic investments in renewable electricity, including geothermal, wind, and solar, which will increase energy security and diversify our energy supply. Because it has little to no emissions, renewable energy’s use leads to cleaner air and water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The renewable electricity sector has great potential to provide green jobs for both manufacturing and installation, in addition to a variety of support services.
EERE Recovery Act funds will be awarded through competitive solicitations whenever possible, which will ensure that the funds are distributed in a fair and transparent manner to the projects that will have the greatest potential to transform our energy economy.