stimulus recovery act renewable energy conservation department of 
energyMatt Rogers of the Department of Energy discusses how $36.7 billion from the Recovery Act is helping to define the future of green power--and the agency itself

Can wind turbines help to get the U.S. economy spinning again? The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) is banking on the notion that they will at least help. With the $36.7 billion it received from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last February, the agency is making historic investments in the energy industry.

Not all of the money is going into building better turbines, of course. The agency is also putting big green toward a host of other emission-lowering projects, including better batteries ($2 billion), geothermal technologies ($400 million) and carbon capture and storage ($3.4 billion).

Whereas the largest chunk of change ($16.8 billion) is going to renewable energy and energy conservation, one of the smallest cuts of the DoE stimulus payout ($1.6 billion) is going toward scientific research. In a congressional hearing on the DoE's 2011 budget earlier this month, Energy Secretary Steven Chu noted that science, however, was a crucial part of future development:"With every initiative the department undertakes, sound science must be at the core."

Author: Katherine Harmon