The government just handed out $452 million for energy efficiency. Can you get a cut?

The government just handed out $452 million for energy efficiency. Can you get a cut?

Summary: The Federal Government is starting to hand out money to make the country more energy effiicient. But will they be spending these funds effectively?

SHARE:

The $452 million in cash incentives that the government handed out today were announced by Vice-President Joe Biden as part of his Earth Day activities.  I noticed a lot of coverage of this announcement from the media, including the technical press, so I decided to take a look at what, if anything, this money would do for the datacenter world. The full details of the payments for the Retrofit Ramp-Up are available in the document from the Department of Energy, and I have to say, after reading the document, I'm wondering if the government people responsible for giving out this money actually read these project summaries.

I'll start with the one project listed of which I actually approve; $40 million in funding for the NY Sate Energy Research and Development Authority.  As I mentioned a few weeks back, they really do put their money into projects that have a direct impact on the energy efficiency of major energy consumers.  I am much less enthusiastic about every other project included in this official document.

$25 million to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to "establish a set of comprehensive initiatives" certainly sounds like a boondoggle, and the Seattle Neighborhood Weatherizing Every Building Initiative to Power Change group seems to think that the phrase "fostering a clean energy economy that relies on energy efficiency as a primary source of power" makes sense.  Well, maybe with their $20 million they can hire an electrical engineer who will explain to them the difference between generation and consumption of power. Read the linked document for yourself to get a feel for where the money is going.

This half-billion dollars in spending is coming from the $80 billion dollars earmarked for a clean energy economy in the Recovery Act. Hopefully, more future funding will be directed at programs like the one in New York and less in low-return programs pork-barreled by politicians to their local favored non-profit group. Datacenters energy consumption could easily hit 5% of the total power generated in the United States by 2015, so money spent by the government on lowering that power consumption growth rate is likely to have a more noticeable effect than funding which helps a non-profit group weatherize part of the local community, as politically incorrect as that sounds.  

Granted a large part of the driving motivation for the funding choices is that businesses and local governments will add to the investment this funding is supposed to jumpstart, with the government projecting an investment of $2.8 billion from these other sources. But when the economy is tight, governmental projections like this are rarely accurate.

Topics: Data Centers, Government, Government US, Hardware, Storage

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

9 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • They should give me a measly 1 million!

    I would use this to start an add campaign explaining to everyone how they will save electricity by driving with the lights on their cars turned off.

    Or how about a device that sits between the electrical outlet and your lamp and causes your lamp to flash off and then back on 3 times per second? That way you save electricity because the light is off part of the time? Hope you aren't epileptic.

    Well, I'm just full of ideas...or something else.
    cornpie
  • You are part of the problem, apparently

    I was dismayed to read the title of your article. Rather than urging everyone to tell the government to STOP SPENDING MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE, you instead behave as though Uncle Sam is some rich uncle showering us peons with shiny coins, with the object being to grab as many as you can.

    Welcome to the Nanny State. We know what's best for you.
    Dorkyman
    • being realistic

      You will never get this administration to stop spending money and taxing in order to try to improve the economy. The best you can hope for is that the money be spent wisely; an action not oft associated with the government.
      David Chernicoff
      • "Money be spent wisely" is the "best you can hope for"?

        Mass-cash wealth-transfers to ecocrats, political
        operatives and other special interests to
        "establish" and "foster" various initiatives and
        behaviors is hardly what I'd consider money being
        "spent wisely".

        No. A complete housecleaning come November is the
        best we can hope for.
        JohnMcGrew@...
  • "the government" handed out? Nope. Future TAX PAYERS pay for this.

    People should see Obama for what he is: a foreign born muslim who's out to destroy the USA. Any way he can.
    SlimK2
  • RE: The government just handed out $452 million for energy efficiency. Can you get a cut?

    You left out the most important part. How do I get a
    cut?

    Walter Carter
    CCC Tech
  • RE: The government just handed out $452 million for energy efficiency. Can you get a cut?

    You left out the most important part of this article.
    How can I get a cut.
    CCC Tech
  • RE: The government just handed out $452 million for energy efficiency. Can you get a cut?

    "Seattle Neighborhood Weatherizing Every Building Initiative to Power Change group seems to think that the phrase ?fostering a clean energy economy that relies on energy efficiency as a primary source of power? makes sense. Well, maybe with their $20 million they can hire an electrical engineer who will explain to them the difference between generation and consumption of power."

    The stylistic is for every dollar spent on insulation and weatherproofing you save 3 to 5 dollars in solar or wind installation cost

    Needing 50% less energy to power your home or business means 50% less solar panels or wind turbines
    john.wayne.bosler@...
  • RE: The government just handed out $452 million for energy efficiency. Can you get a cut?

    The new coalition in power here in the UK has just said it's going to be 'the greenest government ever'. It's going to publish the energy use of government buildings in real-time, so that people can see for themselves how the emissions reductions targets are being met. On the domestic scale, clients of SolarUK have certainly found that by having energy monitors along with their solar hot water systems they are more aware of energy use and so think twice before switching on unnecessary electrical appliances.
    Jasper22