November 6, 2009
Institute for Energy Research
Stimulus Funds for Green Energy Projects Going Offshore along with Other U.S. Manufacturing
The Obama Administration sold its $787 billion stimulus plan on the basis of improving the economy through investing in green energy and by doing so, increasing employment in the United States. But what is actually happening, particularly with wind and solar projects, is that the majority of the manufactured components are being built offshore in either Asia or Europe, resulting in foreign countries capturing a good deal of our stimulus funds and finding a lucrative haven for their products in the United States.
Green Stimulus Money Going Overseas
Since September 1, 84 percent of the $1.05 billion in clean energy grants has gone to foreign wind companies. Foreign countries benefiting from stimulus funds for wind technology are Spain (57%), Germany (12.6%), Japan (9.5%), and Portugal (5%).[i] Companies began applying for grants at the end of July and awards were announced by the two joint administrators of the program, the Energy and Treasury Departments, beginning on Sept. 1. In the first round of the grants, 77% went to foreign wind developers, followed by 84% in the second round. Of the 11 wind farms that received grants, 695 of the 982 installed turbines were manufactured by a foreign company.[ii]
Further, there are few restrictions on how the grants can be used. According to the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, over $800 million were provided to wind farms that were already producing electricity. As required by law, all 11 wind farms started operating after January 1, 2009, but before the grants were awarded.[iii]