Renewable energy is the big energy industry winner in the stimulus bill signed into law on Feb. 17. By ENR’s estimate, the new law provides $30.6 billion in energy-related spending and tax incentives. But a provision for $50 billion in federal loan guarantees to build new nuclear power plants was dropped from the bill that emerged from the conference reconciling the House and Senate versions.
While welcome, cash, tax credits and loan guarantees may not be what’s most needed. “The renewable-energy industry is doing fairly well, but they’re having trouble getting credit,” says John Colson, CEO of Quanta Services, Houston. “The credit issue affects our wind customers,” he says. “The solar side is primarily by utilities. They’re able to raise money pretty well, certainly for transmission projects.” In any event, “permitting is where the problems are [for transmission], not the financing of projects,” he says.