It has been more than a year since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was signed into law and despite the shaky state of today’s economy, the ARRA has undoubtedly prevented further economic disaster and has actually spurned economic growth. Yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden released a new report that details the success of the ARRA: The Recovery Act: Transforming the American Economy Through Innovation (PDF).
The report focuses on four areas that fall under the reinvestment spending umbrella. These programs include innovations in transportation, renewable energy, technology, and medical research.
One of the primary focuses in the transportation sector is increasing advanced vehicle battery manufacturing here in the United States. The demand for these batteries is increasing as more automakers are offering hybrid and electric vehicles. This provides an opportunity for the nation to recapture some of the manufacturing jobs sent offshore over the past few decades.
However, in 2009 there were only two factories in the nation that had the ability to manufacture the batteries. The Recovery Act has invested or allocated more than $2 billion to this industry and within the next two years we will see a drastic increase in domestic advanced vehicle battery manufacturing capabilities. By 2012, 30 factories should be up and running with 20 percent of the world’s advanced vehicle batteries being manufactured here in the United States. Good green jobs for Americans.
The renewable energy sector has also received a lot of attention from the Obama administration as a whole. President Obama regularly touts the benefits of a green economy as he tours the nation and the Recovery Act has provided billions in funding to clean energy projects around the nation. The latest ARRA report focuses on two specific clean energy technologies, wind and solar.
Funding for solar and wind projects included direct grants, loan guarantees, and a variety of tax credits, which helped keep funds flowing into the industry when the banks reigned in their lending. Recovery Act-funded wind and solar projects will not only increase our nation’s energy generation capacity but will also help develop next generation solar and wind energy technologies.
Although the economy is still on shaky ground, one can only hope that these projects and others funded by the Recovery Act will help lead our nation out of this financial slump and on to the path to a thriving green economy.