MATTHEW ROGERS: This week, we are obligating the last of our funds under the recovery act for contract and grant work, $32.7 billion of funds, $32.7 billion obligated and on the street. What this means is that we have now selected more than 5,000 recipients who are pursuing more than 8,000 projects in the marketplace, bringing clean energy technologies to every state in the United States.
Secretary Chu set out a set of principles as we started down this path, talking about creating a competition among technologies. So we didn’t just fund one solar technology but we funded a portfolio of different solar technologies, each of which is competing with the others. And that competition makes each of them perform even better. We sit here today in a position that I think we as a country should be excited about.
In the near term, we’re going to be evaluated on whether or not this program creates jobs. And we’re very excited about the job creation that has occurred under the recovery act. This should be our highest-performing quarter in terms of job creation, and we should be able to hold this level of job creation for the next 18 months. So, we should – we were at 35,000 jobs in the last quarter, and we should be in the 45,000 or more jobs this quarter. That doesn’t even count the additional 40,000-odd jobs that have been working on the tax credit programs, the tax credits for clean energy manufacturing, the tax grants for renewable energy generation, another 30(,000) or 40,000 jobs that are – have been going on since the day that the recovery act passed. So a large block of people have been put to work by this program.
A decade from now, we’re going to look back, and we’re going to ask the question, was this an opportunity, did we take advantage of this opportunity to change in a measurable way how the U.S. produces and consumes energy? And I believe that we will. We have used this as an opportunity to drive a level of technological innovation that puts the United States in the leadership position across a broad range of technologies. As we look at the performance of these technologies over the next several years, these are a set of clean energy technologies that will save consumers a lot of money.