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The "Grand Experiment": An early review of energy-related Recovery Act efforts

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act injected approximately $840 billion into the U.S. economy for job creation, technological advancement, and infrastructure development. This grand experiment of stimulus support targeted education, health care, unemployment assistance, the environment, and energy programs, among other areas. This study examines energy-related Recovery Act program implementation between 2009 and 2013; areas of inquiry include how funds were allocated and disbursed, which programs were targeted, and the impacts of the Recovery Act. Results indicate that the Recovery Act provided many immediate benefits to the economy, environment, and the energy sector, but also suggest that implementation was hindered by the coordination required between federal, state, and local agencies; reporting and transparency requirements; pre-existing layoffs and furloughs; inexperience with new programs; and inconsistencies with pre-existing laws and regulations. Although some economic and environmental impacts have already been assessed, not all will be known for some time due to the time horizon of the energy-related funding. Further study will be required to quantify the economic and environmental benefits of the renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.

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