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Clean Energy and the Summer of Recovery

Cathy Zoi, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, travels to New Hampshire to highlight weatherization projects funded by the Recovery Act.

Today I’m with Senator Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire to congratulate the state on meeting a major milestone under the Recovery Act. New Hampshire and eleven other states have now weatherized more than 30 percent of the homes they planned to complete under the Recovery Act.  Increasing the energy efficiency of homes is especially important for New Hampshire, where more than half of homes use oil for heating. 

Under the Recovery Act, we’ve already weatherized more than 108,000 homes.  Each of these families saves an average of more than $400 in the first year.  The economic impact is already being felt nationwide: the weatherization program supported 10,000 jobs in the first quarter of 2010. This summer, we’ll weatherize another 82,000 homes versus 3,000 last summer – that’s 27 times as many homes this summer as last.

Weatherization is an important part of the Recovery Act.  It is creating jobs for thousands of unemployed Americans, and providing them long-term career training opportunities. Earlier this month, the Department of Energy announced $29 million for 34 weatherization training centers nationwide – more than tripling the number of federally funded training centers. 

Teaching installers, inspectors, and supervisors the skills they need to land jobs in energy efficiency retrofits will help dramatically expand our capacity nationwide to make energy efficiency upgrades.  With this training, an unemployed construction worker can get back on the job insulating attics and sealing doors and windows. We’ll have a generation of clean energy workers ready to make efficiency available to every American.

The Recovery Act is investing more than $80 billion in clean energy technologies – investments that are paying off today. They are supporting domestic manufacturing of clean energy technologies – like Spire Semiconductor here in New Hampshire that will be manufacturing components for solar power generation. These investments are also supporting installation of renewable energy generation projects across the country, Smart Grid projects like SustainX here in New Hampshire, and building a fleet of new factories to make advanced batteries for electric vehicles.  We’re using Recovery Act funds to build local capacity for clean energy projects, like the Retrofit Ramp-Up award that New Hampshire will use to retrofit residential and commercial buildings and support the development of a long-term energy services industry.

The level of economic activity we’re seeing in New Hampshire is not unique.  Across the nation – in every state and in literally thousands of cities – clean energy projects are under way. Together, these investments will not only accelerate economic activity and job creation this year, but will help lay a foundation for long-term economic growth for years to come. They are rewarding the efforts of entrepreneurs and innovators, small businesses and great American companies, workers and investors.

We see the consequences of our over-reliance on fossil fuels in stark relief today.  The Recovery Act gives us the opportunity to change direction and adopt the clean energy technologies that will create a more secure future – while providing jobs for Americans.

This summer, with thousands more projects breaking ground across the country, the American people will get to see the full impact of the Recovery Act dollars we’ve invested to revolutionize the ways we generate and use energy.

This video highlights a DOE-supported weatherization workforce training program in Pennsylvania.

Cathy Zoi is Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy