I watched President Obama signing the U. S. stimulus package yesterday on CNN, while taking a break from other green tech matters. I was delighted to hear Blake Jones talk about how his solar company has gone from 3 employees to over 60 in 3 years time and how now (brown cow) that the stimulus package is signed he will grow his company by another 20-percent this year and 40-percent the next.
The stimulus package of course isn’t popular with everyone. The politics of doing nothing, however, I believe would have been far worse and especially for green companies in the wind, solar and geothermal fields. Now, the wind projects that have been put on hold the last quarter may be unlocked and start up again. The same for solar contracts as renewable energy under the new stimulus plan is getting $2.5 billion.
The big winners in the package are wind, solar, energy conservation and transportation. Rail and other transit projects get a whopping $17.7 billion in the package. It’s not clear, however, how this will be divided up between public transportation such as buses and rail and emerging markets such as hydrogen cars, plug-in hybrids, and battery electric vehicles.
These last items may also come under the $2 billion for advanced battery grants. To help prepare people for taking on the new green jobs that will be created the government is tossing in $500 million for this training.
While the stimulus package is going to be expensive, the whole idea is to stimulate the economy and put people to work. The new twist is that the development of green energy and green jobs not only benefits those with the jobs but will help us all breath a little easier.