The United States government awarded $502 million in grants to renewable energy companies in the first disbursement of stimulus funds designed to kick-start America's cleantech sector. This first round of funding will subsidize 30% of the project costs of 12 wind and solar programs, which have had difficulty securing investment capital from the private sector since the global economic downturn. The lionshare of the funding—$295 million—will go to Spanish energy company Iberdrola, due to their $1.8 billion investment in renewable energy projects in America in 2009. Iberdrola expressed their desire to receive the other $251 million in subsidies that their 2009 investments are eligible for. In total, $3 billion in stimulus money is expected to be converted into renewable energy grants like those awarded on Tuesday.
"These grants will help America's businesses launch clean energy projects, putting Americans back to work in good construction and manufacturing jobs," said energy secretary Steven Chu concerning the disbursement. "The initiative will help double our renewable energy capacity over the next few years and make sure America leads the world in creating the clean energy economy of the future."
Iberdrola, which is planning the two largest projects in Texas and Pennsylvania, says that in addition to their $1.8 billion investment in wind power this year, they plan an additional $6 billion through 2013. The Obama administration believes that the government grants will support 5,000 renewable energy projects over the next three years, including biomass, solar, and wind energy projects. The 12 projects that were awarded subsidies are expected to have a total capacity of 840 megawatts, which will increase the theoretical amount of renewable energy available in the United States by about 3%.