(Obama green energy program story, updated for federal tariff on Chinese imports, California renewable energy standard, LDK Solar loan package in China)
NEW YORK (
) -- The recession may be over, but the cadre of elite economists who signed the recession's death certificate last week did not say whether the Obama administration's economic Recovery Act of 2009 was responsible for ending the worst economic slump since World War II.
Vice president Joe Biden, on the other hand, recently released a list of the 100 Recovery Act projects that in his words, are "changing America." The problem is that green energy in America isn't changing fast enough, no matter what the Biden list would have you believe.
Making Vice President Biden's list of the 100 economic stimulus projects deserving of special notice were dozens related to green energy, from electric cars and electric car battery makers -- a clear focus on Biden's list -- to smart grid, wind and solar investments.
The Obama administration is obviously using the Biden 100 Top Recovery Act projects list as it tries to build support for its much criticized Stimulus 2.0 spending package -- and, more generally, fend off attacks that it hasn't been an effective steward of the U.S. economy while, as Republican rhetoric contends, the government spends, spends and spends.
No one can doubt the Obama administration has shown more of a focus on energy efficiency than the previous administration, yet Stimulus 2.0 was lacking in broad focus on energy efficiency and alternative energy compared with the 2009 Recovery Act.
There's also action at both the state and federal level that could help push green energy agendas ahead. Last week, California's Air Resources Board voted to mandate that the state receives 33% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020.
Congress is also making a bid to help the U.S. compete against China in green energy and all industries, calling for a vote this week on a bill that would slap tariffs on Chinese imports. Chinese solar companies, in particular, are increasing their focus on the U.S. market, but there cost advantage remains so large that a tariff might not make much of a difference.
As for the 100 Recovery Act projects that Biden has singled out, what follows are three details that detract at least somewhat from the vice president's public relations campaign on behalf of the green energy component of the Recovery Act.