Despite Billions Already Spent on 1603 Program, Precise Details on Jobs Are Difficult to Locate
WASHINGTON, DC – As the Obama administration is seeking to extend a stimulus energy program, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns are seeking answers and an accurate accounting of the program’s record on job creation. Questions and concerns persist about the selection process as well as the actual number of jobs that have been created through the Section 1603 grant program, which offers renewable energy project developers cash payments in lieu of investment tax credits. Administered by the Treasury Department in conjunction with DOE, over $10 billion has been doled out under the program.
In the letters to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Upton and Stearns write, “In testimony before the Committee on March 16, 2011, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu stated that “˜the Section 1603 tax grant program has created tens of thousands of jobs in industries such as wind and solar by providing up-front incentives to thousands of projects’ and supported the program’s extension by another year. Yet, we are concerned by reports of tremendous variability in estimates of temporary and permanent jobs spawned by the Section 1603 grant program from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the Wall Street Journal. Those reports suggest a paltry record of long-term job creation. CRS, referencing an earlier study, notes that “˜the potential for job creation has become a key factor in evaluating renewable energy investment incentives and programs’ but that “˜despite being an issue of importance, quantifying and measuring green job creation and growth has been difficult’ and adds that “˜it is recommended that any job creation estimate be viewed with skepticism.'”
The committee leaders continued, “Overall, significant doubts have been raised about the program’s vetting and selection of recipients, high costs, and record of achievement in its job growth objectives thus far, calling into question the wisdom of President Obama’s proposed extension of the Section 1603 grant program, in the FY 2013 Budget, through the end of 2012.”
In addition to seeking a full breakdown of jobs created and costs associated with the program, the committee leaders are also seeking answers about whether procedures exist for DOE or Treasury to recoup funds from recipients that violate the terms of their grants.
View the letter to Secretary Chu HERE.
View the letter to Secretary Geithner HERE.