The release of the first round of funding from the Obama Administration's stimulus law--the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act--to a program that provides cash assistance to energy production companies in place of earned tax credits was announced by the Treasury and Energy Departments on September 1. This $502 million is intended to provide upfront capital to allow companies to begin construction on jobs that may have been stalled due to funding problems. It's estimated that this first round of funding will provide more than 2,000 construction and manufacturing jobs in the renewable energy sector.
The program is expected to provide more than $3 billion in total financial support for clean energy projects. According to the Treasury Department, these payments will support an estimated 5,000 biomass, solar, wind, and other types of renewable energy production facilities in all regions of the country over the life of the program.
The Treasury Department opened the application process for the 1603 program on July 31, 2009, and was able to make the first awards in half the statutorily mandated turnaround time of 60 days.
Almost all the money in this round of funding went to 10 wind power projects in six states with awards ranging in size from $28 million to a wind farm in Minnesota to $114 million for one in Texas. The other wind farms are in New York, Maine, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. There are also awards totaling less than $3 million to solar projects in Connecticut and Colorado.