This Friday morning, Washington is taking a brief pause. With Senate debate on the stimulus---or recovery---package set to begin next week, some analysts are digging deeper into the bill that passed the House earlier this week.
In particular, we're starting to see analyses of how the money in the House bill filters down to the state level. From the beginning, proponents of the package have been clear that the stimulus money would be appropriated on the federal and state levels. Understanding where the money will go is key for many industries-- chief among them cleantech and greentech-- who could ultimately become vendors to the federal or state government programs.
The Center for American Progress has introduced an informative online resource that delves into the breakdown, showing how much money each state stands to receive based on the bill. The Center is an advocacy group, of course, so the material should be consumed understanding that the authors support the stimulus plan.
Looking at the Center's interactive map, 18 states have ultimately been allocated more than $10 billion dollars, including California and Massachusetts. The data is based on the House bill, and everyone is expecting the Senate to make changes as the bill traverses the road to becoming a law.
The Center's analysis includes this brief review:
These state and local funds include direct tax cuts for working families; increased unemployment insurance and food stamps to help those most in need; new funding to equip the education system for the 21st century; additional funds for existing clean energy programs; state-level infrastructure projects; and assistance that is necessary to protect vital services such as Medicaid.
Many of the other programs in the recovery plan will be distributed through competitive grants to states and localities, or through funding formulas where it is not possible to make estimates at this stage. The remainder is for programs that are distributed at the federal level. It has not been possible to include these programs in our analysis.
For Massachusetts specifically, the Boston Globe today provides a more detailed analysis, which includes the Center's information and data from other sources. Massachusetts receives around $11 Billion based on the House bill, and $6.5 Billion of that amount is intended for spending (the rest will go to residents in the form of tax cuts, enhanced unemployment programs, etc.).
According to the Globe's analysis, $494 million of the appropriation is for roads and bridges and $194 is for rapid transit.
Here at Renewablog, we will do our best to continue to follow the money, noting where appropriations could benefit the cleantech and greentech industries.
Bibliography: "Stimulus bill would give state $11 billion," by Michael Kranish; Boston Globe; January 30, 2009; page A1.
Posted by Ross Levanto on January 30, 2009 at 8:15 AM
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The U.S. House passed an $819B economic recovery program on Wednesday. Dusting off the old high-school civics books, the bill is still a long way from becoming law. As White House press secretary Robert Gibbs noted, we're only in "the third inning." The bill will be introduced next week in the Senate, and members there will no-doubt make changes. If the Senate passes a bill that varies from the House's version, a conference committee will be necessary, and both bodies will have to vote again.
Still, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is confident the final bill will be on the President's desk by February 13. She told Larry King last week that the bill will be passed by Congress's President's Day recess, or "there won't be a President's Day recess."
Some notable parts of the House bill for the cleantech and greentech industries:
-- Roughly two-thirds of the bill ($594B) is new spending (the rest is tax cuts). The Congressional Budget Office recently declared that 64-percent of the spending would be completed within 19 months.
-- Thirty billion dollars are appropriated for highway construction, plus tens of billions for other transportation projects, water projects, park renovations, military construction, local housing projects and other efforts.
-- Twenty billion dollars are appropriated for school renovations.
-- According to today's New York Times, there is some scrutiny that the appropriations for alternative energy projects will take too long to be spent and will not have an immediate effect on the economy.
Without question, lawmakers are very intent on stimulus ideas that will provide an immediate effect to the economy. The words "shovel-ready" (meaning projects that are ready to get moving right away) are very common.
Bibliography: Figures above taken from: "Following the Money," by David M. Herszenhorn; The New York Times; January 29, 2009; page A1.
Tags: Economic Recovery Plan
, house of representives
Posted by Ross Levanto on January 29, 2009 at 8:29 AM
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All eyes in Washington are on one piece of legislation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Given President Obama's priorities, there's little doubt the Act will include monies that are ultimately invested in renewable energy initaitives. But while our elected officials discuss the specifics of the legislation inside the beltway, those not in Washington have plenty of tools to follow along at home.
During his weekly address to the country, which was broadcast via YouTube, President Obama announced recovery.gov, a website that will track where the money within the Act goes once the legislation is passed.
Even before the legislation is approved, we learn about various decisions that affect the cleantech industry. The New York Times is watching day-to-day developments, which of late have included:
Yesterday, the Times reported that Congressman Edward Markety (D-MA) will be authoring the cap-and-trade legislation that is inteded to curb the production of Greenhouse gases.
Today, the paper noted that the House version of the bill, which will be voted on this afternoon, includes significant sums for public schools around the country. Some of the money is intended for "school renovation and modernization." It follows that schools can invest this money in projects that will conserve energy.
Of course the bigger question is how the money will be alloted and spent. It's a question no one really has the answer to. And we're watching closely.
Tags: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Posted by Ross Levanto on January 28, 2009 at 8:47 AM
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On Smart Grid: President Obama has really driven Smart Grid into the public consciousness and it is showing in the media and blogosphere. Expect it to be a hot topic at DistribuTECH next week when the "who's who" in grid and energy technology meet in San Diego to discuss new developments in the industry. More than $50 billion will be sunk into Smart Grid under the proposed stimulus package currently in the House. So while escalating media coverage makes for a ripening public relations opportunity, the government investment has to make government relations another priority.
Transparency & Green: Back when outing cases of green washing was all of the rage, it became apparent to cleantech marketing and PR organizations that transparency was going to be key (it should be anyway) if people were going to believe the substance or objectivity of a company's claims around going green. FoodServiceWarehouse.com (Full disclosure: a client) is taking the right approach by turning its Green Commercial Kitchen Certification Program over to an independent panel. This is at a time when there are plenty of companies out there that are introducing green certifications for the sole purpose of generating consulting dollars. FoodServiceWarehouse.com's program doesn't require any purchases from the company and is free. Bravo to a company doing it right.
Posted by Jason Morris on January 27, 2009 at 1:37 PM
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To say that the stimulus package currently under review contains significant support for renewable energy, green and cleantech would be a gross understatement. Depending on whose data you use, it is roughly five-to-seven times the total of all VC investment in cleantech in 2008. Or, a little more than twice the total revenue of the solar industry. Wow.
So where is the money going and what is being proposed? Huge chunks of it will go toward improving the energy grid and increasing its dependance on renewable resources. Other chunks will go toward making government buildings and facilities at all levels more energy efficient (including renewable power), but it doesn't stop there. Schools and low-income housing see some benefits as well.
Biofuels will get $800 million. Batteries will get a big chunk. Bottom line: Even if this bill is halved before being signed by President, it will create the largest government investment in renewable energy, likely exceeding all past investments combined.
Government subsidies have been critical to the growth of solar and wind in Europe. The US has lagged behind. This is a major step forward in making the US the world's top producer of renewable energy.
Companies need to take advantage of this opportunity because it will not exist again in our lifetime. It is analagous to being a contractor or steel producer during the New Deal Era. Opportunities exist for both commercially mature and pre-commercial technologies.
Many companies avoid engaging in Government Relations because they don't understand it or they rely on industry associations to execute it on their behalf. If you have a technology that you believe can solve the energy, environmental and geopolitical challenges facing the country, now or in the future, then you should learn about how it works. You will learn a lot about policy making, appropriations, government project management and how to sell to government entities. It also will add to your executive's expert credibility when your public relations team is executing a thought-leadership campaign.
Uncle Sam's House is about to become much more energy efficient and whether you directly engage with him or not, there are many companies that will play a role in helping.
, renewable pr
Posted by Jason Morris on January 22, 2009 at 10:01 PM
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I'll be posting on the historic nature of the stimulus package and the government relations opportunitiy for green companies, projects and technologies, as the federal government becomes the world's largest investor in cleantech. But first, I want to make sure I capture the green elements (if any) of Obama's presidential inauguration speech.
Obama began his speech slightly before 9:07 a.m. PST and in less than two minutes, made reference to the fact that, "the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet." He called this usage one of the "indicators of crisis."
9:14 PST: "We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories..."
9:18 PST: "With old friends and former foes we'll...roll back the spector of a warming planet."
9:21 PST: Obama says that countries of relative plenty can no longer consume the world's resources without regards to its effect.
In an 18 minute inaugural address, President Obama addressed energy in four separate passages. Likely more than any previous president. Every passage focused on sustainability or renewability in some reference.
Now all eyes in solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal, tidal, water and energy management (and public and government relations) turn toward the stimulus package currently proposed in the House. More than $50 billion in tax credits, projects and investments in renewable energy are currently included and we'll do a run down of specifics this week.
Posted by Jason Morris on January 20, 2009 at 11:42 AM
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As we enter 2009, we wanted to take a look at cleantech markets we think will get the lionshare of the media attention during the year. We're calling it the Clean (Baker's) Dozen. We made our selections based on a variety of factors including 2008 venture funding, 2008 media attention, ties to existing large industries (auto, construction) and viability for commercialization.
Here is the list:
-Monitoring & Management
-Storage & Batteries
-Green Building Materials
There are others that should be on this list and that have significant public relations and government relations potential, including Water conservation, purification and potability, but they just haven't taken off yet. We'll do a post on each of these during Q1 and highlight some approaches we think are worth watching. Through our government relations team, we'll also keep an eye on Federal and State funding and policy to see if the G-men agree with our choices.
Posted by Jason Morris on January 10, 2009 at 7:16 PM
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First off, apologies for the holiday blogging break which grew into a European-style summer vacation. We say every year that the holidays will slow things down a bit, but as usual there was lots going on despite the economy and more companies shuttering their doors for the holidays than in the past. That said, being busy is a good thing and working in the markets we serve is pretty fun.
In any event, we are starting to see some serious momentum surrounding a trend we predicted at the start of Q4: The government serving as a funding bridge between the last Green VC boom and the next one.
VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi has a great interview with Peter Nieh of Lightspeed Ventures on the topic, which shows that some VCs are either just growing wise to the upcoming availability of government funding or seeing it as a priority for their portfolio companies. Nieh and John Doerr of Thomas Friedman, who recently testified before a Senate Committee, seem to be ahead of the curve on this topic, as are our friends at Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Some might be surprised that they support the government getting in the funding game, but why not? Better than a competing firm getting equity at a vastly diluted price.
It's not just VentureBeat and the VCs talking about it either. There is a definite buzz in cleantech start-up circles about the value of government relations, the impact of the next stimulus bill and how to approach federal, state and local audiences. When you consider that all VCs contributed $8 billion in funding in 2008 and the government is talking $20 billion just in tax breaks, it is easy to get excited.
There will be some big winners (the ones that get indirect funding through projects) and losers (those that drag their feet or don't take the time to understand it) in GR circles in 2009.
, dean takahashi
, government relations
, green vc
, john doerr
, lightspeed ventures
, stimulus package
, thomas friedman
Posted by Jason Morris on at 6:52 PM
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