Tracking the stimulus: vice president provides update on clean energy

The vice president’s office has released an update on the green revolution.

There’s not much new there. But the memo from VP Joe Biden, whose duties include overseeing the stimulus, gives a run-down of the administration’s efforts on clean energy specifically as President Barack Obama prepares to join the climate change talks in Copenhagen later this week. 

In total, the Recovery Act invests $80 billion in clean energy, according to the memo. That includes $23 billion to renewable generation and advanced energy manufacturing; $16 billion on the “vehicles and fuels of the future”; $4 billion to upgrade the electric power grid; $5 billion for a weatherization program designed to make low-income homes more energy efficient; $10 billion for carbon capture and sequestration; and $12.6 billion for advanced research and development.

Carol Browner, director of the new White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, said the money for renewable energy would support more than 15 gigawatts of new wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable energy sources that would power four to five million homes a year.

The public money could “leverage” another $43 billion in private investment. In total, the public and private investment in renewable energy could support nearly 470,000 jobs, the administration contends.

Jared Bernstein, the vice president’s chief economic policy advisor, said the stimulus bill was a “twofer” – that is, a way to help the economy and improve the environment.