The spending on weatherization would create jobs quickly, Hultman said, because there's no need to invent anything; the materials and skills are readily available.
The bill sets aside $5 billion to improve energy savings in more than 1 million modest-income homes and about $4.5 billion to weatherize federal office buildings.
Weatherizing buildings across the United States offers an easy, relatively cheap way to put people to work and cut energy consumption and costs, said Phil Angelides, the chairman of a coalition of labor, business, community and environmental leaders called the Apollo Alliance that promotes investments that build clean-energy industries and cut energy costs.
About 40 percent of energy use and carbon emissions in the United States come from constructing, operating and powering buildings.
Other parts of the stimulus plan related to cleaner energy that might create jobs:
- Transportation: The measure provides $8.4 billion for public transit and $8 billion for high-speed rail.
The American Public Transportation Association surveyed transit agencies starting a year ago and recently released the results. It found that 227 public transportation agencies said they could provide 787 projects that were ready to start within 90 days that otherwise wouldn't have been able to proceed. It said these projects would "create and sustain more than 440,000 new jobs in the coming months."
The bill also provides a tax credit of up to $7,500 for plug-in hybrid vehicles and funding for advanced battery technology in an effort to stimulate the automotive industry.
Menzie D. Chinn, an economist in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin, said that tax credits for fuel-saving cars might have helped the auto industry incrementally, but a more important benefit would come from boosting the economy overall and fixing the financial system to encourage more people to buy cars.
- Renewable energy: Over the next decade, the government will provide $20 billion in tax incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency, including grants and an extension of the production tax credit for renewable energy.
Greg Wetstone, the American Wind Energy Association's senior director of government and public affairs, said the plan would create jobs in the wind industry and was a "critical down payment" on ways to increase the nation's use of renewable energy. A developer needs only six months to set up a wind plant to generate electricity, he said.
Wind advocates also say that since many of the parts of wind turbines are so large, it makes economic sense to build them in the United States to save on transportation costs.
The U.S. wind market grew rapidly last year: Its power-generating capacity increased by 50 percent. The industry also created 35,000 jobs in the U.S. for a total of 85,000, according to the Global Wind Energy Council in Brussels, Belgium. By late in 2008, however, the financial crisis hit the wind industry and greatly slowed wind-farm projects and turbine manufacturing.
(Jack Chang contributed to this article.)
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