In addition to the recent $20 million the government gave to support the development of offshore wind energy, the Obama Administration is making another hefty donation to support additional efforts in renewable energy, but this time, it's for solar power. President Barack Obama is giving $1.85 billion to two solar companies in order to build new solar plants throughout the United States.
Obama's plan behind this new financial commitment is to create different avenues of renewable energy use and to also create new jobs for American citizens. His announcement regarding the donation for this project was presented in his weekly online and radio address on Saturday, which was one day after the U.S. Department of Labor revealed that employers, for the first time in six months, cut payrolls once again due to the possible end of 225,000 temporary census jobs.
The two solar companies that Obama has chosen to present the money to are Abengoa Solar and Abound Solar Manufacturing. Abengoa Solar plans to build one of the world's largest solar plants near Gila Bend, Arizona while Abound Solar Manufacturing will build plants in Indiana and Colorado. Together, these plants will create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs.
"We're going to keep competing aggressively to make sure the jobs and industries of the future are taking root right here in America," said Obama.
Out of the total $1.85 billion, $1.45 billion will go to Abengoa Solar, since it's Arizona solar plant will create 1,600 jobs alone and will be able to power approximately 70,000 homes. The other $400 million will go to Abound Solar Manufacturing.
"Already, I've seen the payoff from these investments," said Obama. "I've seen once-shuttered factories humming with new workers who are building solar panels and wind turbines; rolling up their sleeves to help America win the race for the clean energy economy."
The U.S. Department of Energy announced some clean energy news as well. The Weatherization Assistance Program, which insulates and protects homes and buildings with energy efficient improvements, has already helped perform weatherization work on more than 30 percent of homes in 12 states. This totals to approximately 108,000 homes and is saving more than $47 million on energy bills. The program has also created 10,000 jobs.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy has approved another $76 million for energy efficient building equipment and technology as well as new training programs for commercial building operators, technicians and auditors.
Obama holds high hopes for these new programs and developments, hoping they'll boost the economy, and saying that "the administration is accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy and doubling our use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power — steps that have the potential to create whole new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America."
The construction of these new solar plants are the latest efforts toward cleaner energy and employment under the U.S. Recovery Act.