A green stimulus package
President Obama's $900 billion stimulus package contains more than $100 billion for energy efficient, green initiatives
On the CNN.money.com website, staff writer Steve Hargreaves breaks down how the money will be allocated to different energy efficient sectors. The bill intends to use tax cuts and government spending for projects ranging from building wind farms to helping consumers replace an inefficient refrigerator. Last week, the House passed its version of the bil (see President Obama’s Stimulus Bill will provide energy assistance to states ); meanwhile the Senate has just begun to debate its bill. Both of the bills are similar on green issues.
Conservation programs: ($24 billion House, $15 billion Senate)
Conservation programs are the largest part of the green plan because many projects can be implemented quickly and employ out-of-work construction workers. $12 billion would be slated to upgrade federal building and low and middle income homes. The upgrades would include adding insulation and replacing windows. In the House version, $300 million would fund rebates for people to buy new efficient appliances, which would save more than 30% in power costs.
Public transportation: ($13 billion House, $8.5 billion Senate)
This money would discourage driving by building train lines, adding new bus routes, and upgrading existing public transportation systems.
Renewable energy loans: ($10 billion Senate, $8 billion House)
This funding will serve as grants for renewable energy and transmission projects in the early development. Wave power, geothermal, offshore wind, or innovative solar projects would qualify for these grants.
Power lines: ($6.5 billion)
Due to the shortage of power line capacity, evidenced by previous blackouts, this portion will fund more lines to transport renewable energy from less populated areas.
Nuclear waste cleanup: ($6.4 billion Senate)
This portion will pay for cleanup at old nuclear weapons facilities.
Smart grid: ($4.5 billion)
Although only a fraction of money needed to digitize the power grid, thus making it more efficient and more capable at handling renewables, this funding will be used to match grants to utilities and set up pilot programs in select cities.
Advanced vehicle grants: ($3.2 billion)
More than $2 billion is slated for loan guarantees to companies developing batteries for electric cars.
National parks and public land improvements: ($3 billion)
This funding includes better access roads, facilities, and trails.
Environmental cleanup: ($1 billion Senate)
This would pay for additional cleanup up at old industrial sites and other areas currently monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Large-scale wind projects: ($13 billion)
This is a three-year extension of the tax break for big wind projects, which calls for the current tax credit to be renewed every year.
Large-scale renewable projects: ($11 billion)
In the Senate’s version, companies can take a “carry-back”, which is a tax credit against prior profits. This is an important incentive for businesses that are investing in renewable energy. The tax credit would apply to all industries, not just renewable energy, but the renewable sector will take a major portion of the money. In the House version, it too has the “carry-back” provision, but it also allows for direct grants from the DOE worth 30% of the value of a renewable energy project.
Home conservation: ($4.3 billion)
Homeowners will be eligible for a tax credit for part of the cost of various efficiency measures such as replacing an old furnace or adding insulated windows. The bill would also remove the individual dollar amount caps for the items and allow for 30% tax credit on all items.
Renewable energy and conservation bonds: ($1.5 billion)
This funding will allow local and state governments to raise money for renewable energy and conservation projects by issuing bonds backed by the government.
Renewable energy manufacturing: ($1.4 billion)
In the Senate version, this funding allows companies that produce renewable energy components, wind turbines or solar panels, to receive a tax credit of 30% on new investments.
Small-scale renewable tax credits: ($1 billion)
In the current system, if a consumer buys a small windmill, solar hot water heater, or geothermal heating system, they can write off 30% of the cost on their taxes. The capped limit is $2,000 for heating systems and $4,000 for wind turbines. The new bill will remove the caps, but the 30% limit will remain.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.