The Department of Energy released a report this month saying its grant program for wind and solar projects saved or created an estimated 52,000 to 75,000 jobs from 2009 to 2011.
The 2009 federal stimulus bill included $9 billion in grants for wind, solar and other renewable power projects. Known as the Section 1603 program, the grants went to more than 23,000 wind and solar projects across the country. The program was designed to replace tax-equity financing that dried up during the banking crisis in 2008. Developers took the grants instead of existing tax credits for wind or solar.
Oklahoma projects received more than $246.8 million (less than 3 percent), according to the Treasury Department, which administered the program. Here’s a list of the grantees:
The preliminary report said the grant program spurred about $30 billion in total investment from private, state and local sources for renewable energy projects.
Although the primary intent of the §1603 program was to minimize the impact of the weakened tax equity market on renewable project development, by providing project developers with an alternative way to recoup the value of the tax incentives, it ensured that development of renewable energy projects, and the jobs and economic benefits associated with those projects, were not hindered by weak tax equity markets.
Of course, like any economic report that attempts to measure jobs, the report includes some important caveats:
Some projects supported by §1603 awards may still have been implemented without the availability of the award, while others may have progressed only as a direct result of the program.