You are here

Secretary Chu's Remarks on the Anniversary of the Recovery Act

February 19, 2010 - 1:04pm

Addthis


Thank you, Doug, for the introduction.


I want to begin by recognizing Congresswoman Betsy Markey. Congresswoman Markey is a tireless advocate for the families and businesses of Colorado's Fourth Congressional District. She is working to create clean energy jobs and spur economic growth. She is working to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and promote renewable energies like wind and solar. And she is working to maintain American competitiveness and make this region a leader in the clean energy economy.


I also want to thank Vestas for hosting us. Vestas' wind manufacturing operation in Colorado is an example of the economic opportunities in the clean energy sector. Vestas has invested $1 billion in manufacturing facilities in Colorado, including in Pueblo, where it is building the world's largest wind tower manufacturing facility.


Once these facilities are fully operational, Vestas has said they expect to employ approximately 4,000 people in the U.S., including 2,500 in Colorado. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is helping finance this expansion by awarding Vestas $50 million in clean energy manufacturing tax credits.


Vestas is just one of the many businesses benefiting from the Recovery Act - landmark legislation that was signed into law a year ago this week.


When President Obama took office last January, we were facing the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. This crisis demanded a quick and forceful response. Thanks to the President's leadership, and the leadership of Betsy Markey and many others, we passed a Recovery Act that has boosted the economy in the short-term and laid the foundation for long-term prosperity.


Public and private forecasters ranging from the Council of Economic Advisors to Moody's Economy and IHS Global say the Recovery Act is responsible for about 2 million jobs nationwide. And the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says that number could be as high as 2.4 million.


Today, I want to focus on the Recovery Act's impact on our clean energy future. As President Obama has said, "The nation that leads the world in creating new sources of clean energy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy."


Right now, however, we are behind in the clean energy race. For example, China is spending about $9 billion a month on clean energy. And while we manufactured more than 40 percent of the world's solar cells in the mid 1990s, today, we produce just 7 percent.


Rather than sending billions overseas to pay for clean technologies, we must start investing these dollars in America's workers, industries, and innovations. Through the Recovery Act, we have begun to do just that.


The Recovery Act includes $80 billion to put Americans to work in clean energy - making our homes and businesses more energy efficient, doubling our capacity to generate renewable electricity, and modernizing the electric grid.


Let me give you one example. Before the Recovery Act was signed, 98 percent of the world's advanced battery production was in Asia. Through the Recovery Act, we have invested in advanced battery research and technologies and supported the construction of 20 battery factories - factories that will provide good manufacturing jobs. As a result of these investments, by 2012, the U.S. will have the capacity to produce up to 20 percent of the world's advanced batteries. As President Obama said, this is "an entire new industry because of the Recovery Act."


You can see the impact of the Recovery Act right here in Colorado.



  • Cities like Fort Collins and Pueblo are installing tens of thousands of smart meters, giving families and businesses real-time information on the costs of their energy use - and the tools to manage it.

  • Companies likes Vestas, Hexcel Corporation, Advanced Energy Industries and Abound Solar are expanding their wind and solar manufacturing operations through clean energy manufacturing tax credits.

  • And hundreds of Coloradoans are going to work weatherizing homes.

Over the past year, the Department of Energy has worked to get Recovery Act funding out the door quickly, transparently and responsibly. So far, we have awarded nearly 80 percent of our funds, and our goal is to award 100 percent of our funds by September 30th. We are also continuing to work with funding recipients to get projects started and accelerate hiring.


Let me briefly talk about some of the things we've done. We have begun to:



  • Transform the transportation sector. Under the Recovery Act, there is more than $4 billion to make our transportation system more efficient, develop plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles, and deploy new, clean fuels.

  • Modernize the Nation's electric grid. We have awarded more than $4 billion in funding to implement a Smart Grid, deploying 18 million smart meters and more than 1,000 sensors for the grid. This effort is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs.

  • Increase our renewable energy capacity. Last year, renewable capacity increased by 39 percent, largely due to Recovery Act funds. We have committed funds to more than 383 renewable energy development and manufacturing projects.

  • Increase energy efficiency. Through the Weatherization Assistance Program, we are on track to weatherize about 600,000 homes over the course of the Recovery Act, bringing the benefits of energy efficiency to families across the country.

  • Spur innovation. We have awarded the first round of funding from our Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program for 37 potentially transformative research projects - including grid-scale energy storage and ways to harness bacteria to produce automotive fuel from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.

The Recovery Act is a critical down-payment on our clean energy future, but to truly drive this transformation, we need to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation. I want to thank Congresswoman Markey for supporting the American Clean Energy and Security Act, legislation which will promote the development of low carbon sources of energy, and create new jobs and industries throughout America.


Colorado has the industrial base, the knowledge base and the energy resources to seize the enormous economic opportunities of the new energy economy.


The United States has the opportunity to be at the forefront of this new industrial revolution that the world needs. We cannot let this moment pass. Let's use American ingenuity to find new approaches and new solutions. Let's call upon our great research and development organizations to invent new technologies and bring them quickly to market. And let's put Americans back to work building a stronger, cleaner, and more prosperous future. Thank you.


 

Addthis