Discussion Paper

A Preliminary Review of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Clean Energy Package

Jan 13, 2012 | Joseph E. Aldy

Abstract

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included more than $90 billion in strategic clean energy investments intended to promote job creation and promote deployment of low-carbon technologies. In terms of spending, the clean energy package has been described as the nation’s “biggest energy bill in history.” To provide a preliminary assessment of the Recovery Act’s clean energy package, this paper reviews the rationale, design, and implementation of the act. The paper surveys the policy principles for clean energy stimulus and describes the process of crafting the clean energy package during the 2008–2009 Presidential Transition. Then, the paper reviews the initial employment, economic activity, and energy outcomes associated with these energy investments and provides a more detailed case study on the Recovery Act’s support for renewable power through grants and loan guarantees. The paper concludes with lessons learned.