Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stimulus Package Aims to Revive Renewable-Energy

For years now the only way for the clean energy sector to compete with more traditional forms of energy, was through tax breaks. These tax breaks helped fee up cash, allowing companies to operate off of lower profit margins and receiving loans from lenders based on estimated growth.

With the economic downturn over the past year and the failure of the banking industry, tax breaks and loans are not what they used to be. This has lead to a halt in the industry. But, no need to fear, Obama is hear (sarcasm somewhat noted).

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will invest nearly $79 billion in renewable energy, energy efficiency and green transportation, according to a finally tally of the legislation by the nonprofit Environment California.

As a result residential solar firms like SolarCity, for example, will end their hiring freezes soon and will be adding 16 additional crews over the next few months.

The hope is that this will help the industry enough to attract investors once again, who are always happy to get tax credits and to help out the environment.

Notable provisions of the recovery act include $5 billion for weatherization fo more than 1 million homes, $8 billion for new high-speed rail systems, $4.5 billion for energy upgrades to federal buildings and $4.5 billion in federal matching funds to upgrade the nation's creeky energy grid.

The key for this industry now is to keep the momentum going forward after the stimulus has helped to push it along. While some green enthusiasts wanted more, this should be enough to make most feel ok. I think it's a safe bet that if they want more, results will need to be shown.

After all, finding and improving renewable energy alternatives is not only an environmental issue but also a way to rid ourselves of oil dependency with foreign nations.