DOE wants stimulus money spent now

Federal officials want Recovery Act money spent. And they're getting increasingly vocal about it.

"Those that aren't spending fast enough, they get a phone call from me," said Matt Rogers, senior advisor to the Secretary for Recovery Act Implementation at the U.S. Department of Energy, in a story by Yoni Cohen on "We have a conversation about what the American taxpayer is expecting and what we're expecting and how you are going to get a faster plan and hit your milestones on time [and] on budget."

Rogers made his comments at Yale University's Clean Energy Innovation Conference last week.

He's referring to taxpayer money allocated throught the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act meant to stimulate the economy. In the San Joaquin Valley's case, that means money allocated by the DOE through Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants and other mechanisms. Much of that money hasn't been spent because it went to smaller cities and counties through the California Energy Commission, which is just now approving the EECBG applications.

However, larger cities in the state got their allocations months ago. Some have begun spending. Some have not.

The lack of spending delays the intent of the Recovery Act and puts pressure on political leaders to get results. "After the Obama Administration was criticized for being too slow to implement its weatherization program, the Department of Energy stepped up its effort to hold accountable both state governments and the community action agencies states pay to provide weatherization services," Cohen wrote.

The New York Times weighed in with a story last week saying, "The efficiency business has not reaped the benefit that it had hoped to receive."

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.