Colorado received $217.2 million for green energy programs from the National Recovery Act. The stated goals of the program were to provide clean, renewable energy, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil in particular, and create jobs. Where did the money go? How was it used? Did it achieve its stated goals? Did it create jobs? These are questions that Colorado taxpayers probably would like answered. Supporters of green energy may believe it was successful but is only a beginning. Opponents of green energy think it was all a waste, creating zero jobs. Who is right?
As with any complex question, the answer is not simple. The ﬁrst step is to examine where the money went. Then we need to look at what speciﬁc things it accomplished. Did it result in reducing our consumption of energy? Is it producing renewable energy? Did it create jobs? Finally, we can try and arrive at some conclusion about the beneﬁts, or lack thereof.
This article and the ones in this series to follow will focus on direct energy programs both in the conservation and generation of sustainable energy in Colorado to answer some of the questions raised above.
Breakdown of the funding
According to the Department of Energy (http://energy.gov/sites/prod/ﬁles/edg/recovery/documents/CO_NO_TOC.pdf) , the total amount of federal funding for energy related matters in Colorado from the Recovery Act (aka the stimulus) was $768 million dollars. Of this amount, $427.3 million dollars were spent on green energy speciﬁcally. The balance went for things like improvements to the electrical grid, manufacturing of wind turbine blades, carbon capture, and environmental cleanup.
A lot of money went into the stateʼs universities as grants for research and other items directly or indirectly related to the environment and Colorado received $271.3 million for green energy: How was it used?sustainable energy. We are focusing on energy conservation and renewable energy speciﬁcally.
Here is the Department of Energyʼs breakdown of the $271 million Colorado received:
Energy Efficiency/Conservation Program
Weatherization Assistance Program $79.5 (millions) State Energy Program $49.2 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant $44.9 Better Buildings $25.0 Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate $4.7 Building Energy Efficiency $19.4 Additional Programs (competitive grants, contracts) $ 8.0 TOTAL Energy Efficiency $230.7
Renewable Energy Solar $27.2 (millions) Wind $1.4 Geothermal $12.3 Additional Programs $3.7 TOTAL Renewable Energy $44.6