16 gigawatts is a lot of power. The average nuclear power plant in operation today provides less than just one gigawatt of power (I believe the average is around 850 MW). Which is why it's good news that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as the stimulus bill, is on track to add 16 GW of renewable energy to the US grid. Susan Kraemer reports over at Clean Technica that "the bulk of ARRA funds will be disbursed in 2010 ... When all spent - we will have added 16,000 MW (that's 16 Gigawatts!) of clean energy to the grid." Which is a pretty solid chunk--as she notes, it's enough to take 4-5 million homes permanently off the grid. It will begin to carve out renewable power a serious role in our energy infrastructure, and help grant renewables greater political bargaining power as well.
Here are some of the specifics of how the funding was rolled out: "To grow the clean energy economy - $90 billion was set aside, with one third being disbursed by the end of 2009. Of that total, $60 billion will be in direct spending and $29.5 billion ii tax incentives to build renewable energy." This is evident in the graph supplied over at CT:
Yup, the bulk of funding is going to renewable generation, which is good news, in my opinion (and so is the handsome chunk going to grid modernization). We need to get renewable power plants up and running, begin to build public perception that they're going to be a permanent part of the power mix, and help get the industry some real legs.
It's a solid start.
More on Renewable Energy in the US
Government Study Claims Twenty Percent Of US Power From Wind By 2018
$60 Billion for Green in the Stimulus Bill: Where the Money Will Go