Wednesday, February 25, 2009

DOD Overstimulated on Energy?

Like kids who found the cookie jar and are now on a sugar high, energy advocates in DOD, who've been praying they'd one day get extra money to fund energy projects, are getting their wish and are about to start running around like crazy. This article from today's NY Times contrasts Knoxville, TN, a city that's relatively well prepared to spend its energy stimulus funds wisely and efficiency, with others that are not even close to ready. This quote sums it up well:
The money in the bill is enough to pay for a tremendous expansion of efficiency efforts across the country. But as with other parts of the stimulus package, the efficiency plan is creating tension between spending the money quickly, to get rapid economic stimulus, and spending it well, to do the most good over the long run.
Can't help but think about DOD and how it's going to handle copious energy funds ($300M for R&D, $100M for Navy and USMC facilities energy efficiency, and $1B for energy efficiency programs including barracks and other DOD buildings), some which are for R&D, but a lot of which are for energy infrastructure. If it had ample time to study, plan and coordinate this activity, then it might be done well. But if the purpose is to spend money fast thereby creating jobs asap, I can imagine it ending badly. On the other hand, perhaps this will be a boon to DOD infrastructure builders and will help the Army Corps of Engineers and Navy Seabees earn their energy efficiency bona fides ... if they haven't done so already.

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