On February 10, the Senate voted 61-37 in favor of economic stimulus legislation that includes critical investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy infrastructure, and mass transit projects. Among the energy-related provisions are:

  • $2.1 billion for states for clean energy projects
  • $4.2 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program
  • $2.9 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program
  • Increase of energy-efficient existing homes tax credit to 30 percent through 2010, with a maximum of $1500 per dwelling per taxpayer
  • $2.5 billion for improving energy efficiency in federal buildings
  • $1.6 billion for Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs)
  • $50 billion for the Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program, $7 billion of which is designated for renewable energy projects (The amendment that added this provision was developed largely to support nuclear projects.)
  • Extension of renewable energy production tax credit through 2012 for wind facilities and 2013 for other qualifying facilities including biomass, geothermal, small irrigation, hydropower, landfill gas, waste-to-energy, and marine renewable facilities
  • Temporary option for renewable energy facilities to claim the investment tax credit in lieu of the production tax credit (Because of current market conditions, it is difficult for many renewable projects to obtain financing from investors.)
  • $4.5 billion to modernize the electric grid
  • $2 billion for advanced battery systems
  • $8.4 billion for urban and rural transit
  • $2 billion for high-speed rail projects
  • $4.6 billion for fossil energy research and development, $2 billion of which is available for “near-zero emissions power plants” and $1 billion for the Clean Coal Initiative

One provision passed by the House but eliminated by the Senate was the funding of $14 billion for school design, construction, modernization and repair, with specific provisions relating to high-performance green schools. This investment is estimated to create nearly 400,000 jobs in the design and construction industries, while also improving learning environments and lowering schools’ energy costs. EESI and dozens of other organizations sent a letter to Congressional leadership on February 10 expressing support for this funding.

A House/Senate conference committee is now working to reconcile the two bills. That conference report must then be approved by both the House and Senate before being sent to the President for signature. The goal is to send the bill to the White House by Presidents' Day.