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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Grant Program Supported up to 75,000 Wind and Solar Jobs: Congress Killed It Anyway

Why would congress engage in such behavior? This grant program was part of the stimulus package if you will. It allowed developers of wind and solar farms to take a cash grant in lieu of a tax credit.

Now I know for a fact our tax system has gotten rather screwy over time, I am not here to argue either for or against that fact. But this stimulus funding would have created 23,000 projects over all and would have created an excess of about 13,000 MW of generating capacity (wind and solar capacity).

From January of 2010 until December of 2011 the solar market grew by 176 percent, driven in part by the availability of these grants. The wind sector, which took a deep nosedive after the financial crisis, was able to develop more than 12,000 MW of projects with the support of the program.

This incentive also covered biomass, landfill gas, hydro and geothermal as well. Although the bulk of the tax incentives went toward wind and solar. The DOE however only tracked job creation and development for these two sectors. They have no data on the biomass, landfill gas, hydro, or geothermal sectors.

It is hard to say which of the projects would have gone ahead and be built without this incentive. But it is a fact that these projects supported 52,000–75,000 direct and indirect per year over the grants lifetime 2009-2011. But the congress has killed anymore spending in this area. Who knows why they did it-- I have my suspicions but am going to keep them to myself at the present time.

If you would like to read a more in depth story about this particular subject, please go here.


  1. Cory, your post is typical of how the MSM obfuscates issues like this. "Congress did this.." or "Congress did that..." without naming names as to which party or which leaders were responsible. Without knowing the individuals who were responsible for killing the grant program there's no way to hold them accountable. By using the generic "Congress" as the culprit, the true culprits will get away with it.

    In fact, the culprits are Republican leaders in the House, which is the branch of Congress in charge of the budget. It is also the only branch under control of the Republican Party. Both the Democratic Senate and President Obama want to continue the program. Nowhere in your post is this mentioned.

    Republicans, including House leader John Boehner have been hammering Pres. Obama on his administration’s clean energy policy and they are the ones responsible for doing away with the alternative energy grant program. They should be held accountable in the next election by laying this at their feet. As long as they can get away with it by shifting the blame to "Congress" they will continue doing what they do best, which is representing the fossil fuel industry.

  2. There is no doubt you are 100% correct. I do not know why I made no mention of this in the post.