U.S. Chamber Backs Clean Energy Deployment Administration at Senate Hearing

Press Release
May 3, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.—As part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s ongoing efforts to promote clean energy technologies, the Institute for 21st Century Energy today outlined the Chamber’s long-standing support for a quasi-governmental agency dedicated to the financing and deployment of clean energy projects at a Senate hearing.

Christopher Guith, vice president for policy at the Energy Institute, testified today in favor of a Clean Energy Development Administration (CEDA) as a policy tool which would help inject capital into clean energy projects without further burdening taxpayers.  The Energy Institute first recommended such an agency in our Blueprint for Securing America’s Energy Future, released in 2008.

“Irrespective of the regulatory regimes we decide to impose in the future, it is clear that the development and deployment of newer, more efficient and cleaner technologies will be needed to secure our energy future,” said Guith.  “An entity like the Clean Energy Deployment Administration can provide the flexible financial risk-management tools currently employed to advance other long-term goals to our capital-intensive clean energy goals.”

The proposed CEDA would be modeled after successful examples, such as the Export-Import Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and provide a full suite of financial services such as loans, loan guarantees, and other financing options to help inject capital into clean energy projects.  CEDA proposals supported by the Chamber must be revenue-neutral and could be required to repay initial capital infusions from the Treasury through successful operation.

“Given the potential energy security, environmental quality and economic development benefits generated by clean energy, the government can play a unique role by supporting first-of-a-kind commercial enterprises that mitigate technology risk for future project development,” Guith said.  “Such support must be done responsibly through intelligent, flexible and swift mechanisms usually absent in the traditional government agencies.  CEDA could advance national energy goals by filling financing gaps with the professional risk management of financial projects designed to support the scaling of clean energy projects.”

While there have been several different versions of a clean energy bank proposal, Guith emphasized support for the specific approach that Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bingaman and Ranking Member Murkowski have taken, which tailors the proposal to address the primary problem of commercializing new technologies and takes a technology-neutral approach.

“The label ‘clean energy’ is not reserved solely for renewables, but must be accurately applied to any and all new technologies and process that reduce environmental impact, whether it be clean coal, advanced biofuels, natural gas vehicles, advanced nuclear or energy storage, among others,” Guith said.

The mission of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. Through policy development, education, and advocacy, the Institute is building support for meaningful action at the local, state, national, and international levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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