Muckraker: Grist on Politics

President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus package into law Tuesday during a ceremony at the Museum of Nature and Science in Denver. The package includes $62.2 billion in direct spending on green initiatives and $20 billion in green tax incentives.

The Obama team apparently picked the signing location to promote the stimulus law’s initiatives to create clean-energy jobs. Before he signed the bill, Obama toured a solar panel installation on the roof of the museum, and he was introduced by Blake Jones, president of Colorado’s Namaste Solar.

Obama also said some nice things about the investment in clean energy in the package in his remarks:

Because we know we can’t power America’s future on energy that’s controlled by foreign dictators, we are taking a big step down the road to energy independence, and laying the groundwork for a new, green energy economy that can create countless well-paying jobs. It’s an investment that will double the amount of renewable energy produced over the next three years, and provide tax credits and loan guarantees to companies like Namaste Solar, a company that will be expanding, instead of laying people off, as a result of the plan I am signing.

In the process, we will transform the way we use energy. Today, the electricity we use is carried along a grid of lines and wires that dates back to Thomas Edison – a grid that can’t support the demands of clean energy. This means we’re using 19th and 20th century technologies to battle 21st century problems like climate change and energy security. It also means that places like North Dakota can produce a lot of wind energy, but can’t deliver it to communities that want it, leading to a gap between how much clean energy we are using and how much we could be using.

The investment we are making today will create a newer, smarter electric grid that will allow for the broader use of alternative energy. We will build on the work that’s being done in places like Boulder, Colorado – a community that is on pace to be the world’s first Smart Grid city. This investment will place Smart Meters in homes to make our energy bills lower, make outages less likely, and make it easier to use clean energy. It’s an investment that will save taxpayers over one billion dollars by slashing energy costs in our federal buildings by 25% and save working families hundreds of dollars a year on their energy bills by weatherizing over one million homes. And it’s an investment that takes the important first step towards a nationwide transmission superhighway that will connect our cities to the windy plains of the Dakotas and the sunny deserts of the Southwest.

Track stimulus spending at the White House’s Recovery.gov site, or over at ProPublica.org.