The multi-billion dollar American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in February 2009, contained provisions specifically intended to fund the development of alternative energy sources.
While the stimulus program was repeatedly advertised as an opportunity to kick start the alternative energy industry in the U.S., a recent study of 11 wind farm projects funded with stimulus money found that they were dominated by foreign manufacturers, with a significant portion of their production capacity located outside the U.S.
“That stimulus money could support manufacturing jobs outside of North America, at a time when manufacturing job losses at home are accelerating and the unemployment rate is at double digits, is not surprising,” said IAM Trade and Globalization Department Director Owen Herrnstadt, who cites loopholes in the Recovery Act as one reason domestic manufacturers are losing out.
Herrnstadt points to the need for adopting employment impact statements for government procurement, in an article recently published by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). “The absence of a strong domestic sourcing requirement for all clean energy programs in the stimulus is indicative of how government procurement in general and stimulus money in particular fails to fully utilize taxpayer funds to create manufacturing jobs in the U.S.”