Energy Policy

Grants and Incentives


We could probably devote an entire lesson to all the energy-related grants and incentives available to citizens and companies. Instead, let's pick just a few examples and work through how this type of energy policy is implemented.

While the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is by no means a 'typical' piece of legislation, let's take a look at it, specifically, because it called out several types of energy-related grant and incentive opportunities.

When ARRA passed, so too did all of the provisions built into it to drive clean energy development and stimulate new job growth in the energy sector. As a taxpayer and informed citizen, it's important for you to understand where your tax dollars are going and what sorts of activities they fund. With ARRA, energy funding reaches across the spectrum from installation and adoption of smart grid technologies to improved efficiency to innovative research into carbon capture. I encourage you to check out DOE's ARRA website to learn more about how the stimulus package benefited clean energy. Briefly, here's a general list of the types of activities funded through grants and incentives in this important piece of energy policy.

  • Modernizing the Electric Grid - $4.5 billion
  • Energy Efficiency - $12 billion
  • Renewable Energy - $1.64 billion
  • Carbon Capture and Storage - $3.4 billion
  • Transportation - $2.85 billion
  • Science and Innovation - $2.0 billion (including about $40 million in loan guarantees)
  • Environmental Cleanup - $6 billion

ARRA was a rather high-visibility piece of legislation, given the tremendous investment of taxpayer dollars. And of course, we can't talk about ARRA funding for energy projects without talking about Solyndra, the failed solar energy company that received a federal loan guarantee, which was a talking point for years after it occurred. Learn more about the Solyndra story.

In addition to ARRA, there are many, many other opportunities available to citizens and organizations, and DSIRE is a very comprehensive repository of these programs. While the site is devoted primarily to state-level incentives, it also offers links to federal programs as well.

And as I'm sure you know, the Inflation Reduction Act provides a bevy of incentives and some loan guarantees. (But I'll let you do the research to find out more.)