$9.4 mil in stimulus funds for local green energy

U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, hosting a group of clean energy developers and manufacturers at the White House this morning, announced $550 million in new awards through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s 1603 program, bringing to more than $1 billion the total awarded so far to companies investing in domestic renewable energy production.

Among today’s big winners was Massachusetts-based Ameresco, producing green electricity from landfill gases at sites Half Moon Bay and Pittsburg.

The Ox Mountain landfill site in Half Moon Bay, in operation since July, was awarded $6,641,747 in stimulus funds, while the Keller Canyon landfill site in Pittsburg – for which a ribbon-cutting will be held next Thursday – was was awarded $2,796,377. Both sites sell electricity to Alameda Power & Telecom, the City of Alameda’s municipal utility company, and to the City of Palo Alto.

“This Recovery Act program is an example of a true federal partnership with the private sector,” Geithner said in a news release. “Not only are our Recovery dollars meeting an immediate funding need among innovative companies, they are also jumpstarting private sector investment in communities across the country – with benefits for the renewable energy industry and our economy alike.”

Chu, formerly the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s director, called the investments “crucial to ensuring America can compete and win in the race for the clean energy jobs of the future. With American workers and American innovation, we can and must lead the world when it comes to the new Industrial Revolution in clean energy.”

Section 1603 of the Recovery Act provides cash to energy producers to improve project viability so companies can create and retain jobs while expanding and speeding up renewable energy projects. The government provides a cash payment in lieu of a tax credit totaling 30 percent of the qualifying cost of the project; for each federal dollar spent in payments, more than two dollars are spent in private sector investments. This second round of awards will be made in half the 60-day turnaround time required by law, the news release said; an earlier round was announced Sept. 1.

In other Recovery Act news today, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced $42.7 million in stimulus funds awarded through the federal Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program to 31 California agencies and local governments to fight homelessness. The recipients include:

  • Samaritan House, San Mateo: $1.6 million
  • Sacred Heart Community Service, San Jose: $1.6 million
  • Cornerstone Community Development Corp., San Leandro: $1.5 million
  • Shelter Inc. of Contra Costa County, Martinez: $1.5 million
  • City of Livermore: $900,000
  • City of Union City, $500,000
  • The funding is meant to provide short and medium-term rental assistance to people and families now in housing but at risk of becoming homeless, as well as to people and families already homeless.

    Josh Richman

    Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

    One Comment

    1. Could someone please tell me how grants to fight homelessness produce jobs, the supposed purpose of the “stimulus”?

      Unfortunately, most jurisdictions, aided and abetted by the democrat administration, regard the “stimulus” funds as simply a barrel of cash from Uncle Stupid.

      But that’s OK. You and I and our kids and grandkids will be paying for it with higher taxes and higher inflation for decades. The indigent of course don’t pay taxes, so what do they care?

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