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Stimulus Energy Fund Tracker: 1.2% Spent, $36.2B To Go

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- aka stimulus money -- put aside nearly $37 billion big ones for the Department of Energy to spend (that includes $4 billion under the loan guarantee program) back when the bill was signed Feb. 17 into law. So far, $9.5 billion has been awarded. But how much has actually been spent? About $451 million or 1.2 percent of the total authorized amount.

Checking in on the DOE's stimulus tracker is a great time-sucker, especially if you download the full Excel spreadsheet. It's been awhile since I've perused the site. But I was inspired to return and learn about the recent doling out of funds after reading a guest post on Google's official blog about the United States Department of Agriculture's stimulus fund mapping effort.

The USDA created an interactive geospatial map using Google Maps API Premier back in May. Both the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Commerce have joined the USDA's recovery fund map this summer.

The DOE's mapping effort is a separate affair, and where I spent a recent afternoon. A few tidbits are below. BNET will update stimulus fund spending by the DOE every month, so check back.

  • The Western Area Power Administration received the smallest amount of funds -- about $10 million -- but has spent 8.7 percent or $870,000, the largest percentage of all DOE recovery funds.
What is WAPA money used for? Western is creating a transmission infrastructure program. This means its going to build or upgrade transmission lines to help bring renewable energy to market. The program's office, which is expected to be staffed by the end of August, also will use borrowing authority of up t $3.25 billion to help fund the transmission projects.
  • The recovery act authorized about $6 billion for the DOE's environmental management programs. About $4.3 billion has been awarded and $295.7 million actually spent as of last week.
What is environment management? It's about three dozen waste removal and soil and water remediation projects around the country, many at government research facilities. We're talkin' nuclear, mercury, uranium, and other fun stuff. For example, funds will be used to remove and then properly dispose of all waste material buried in trenches at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
  • Environmental management awardees of note include Bechtel Jacobs Co.,which has been awarded $90 million to help deactivate and decommission the K-27 Uranium Enrichment Facility; $37 million decontaminate and demolish buildings at the Y-12 facility and remediate major sources of mercury ; and $36 million to demolish and remediate contamination at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. All of these are in Tennessee.
  • CH2M Hill was awarded more than $1 billion for a number of demolition, decontamination and groundwater recovery projects related to the cold war era Hanford Works, a decomissioned nuclear site in Washington, which impacts the Columbia River corridor.
  • The largest chunk of DOE recovery funds -- $16.8 billion -- will go towards energy efficiency and renewable energy. About $3.9 billion of those funds have been awarded and $110.5 million has been spent.
A number of projects fall under the energy efficiency and renewable energy header including weatherization projects, biorefinery research, expand use of energy efficient appliances and wind energy technology research and study of ethanol blends and improving E-85 engines.
Image of stimulus payment from Flickr user Kris Cohen, CC 2.0