Coons Releases Green Energy Plan

by Dave on September 8, 2010

US Senate candidate and New Castle County Executive Chris Coons today released a four-point plan aimed at building the green economy.

In announcing his initiatives, Coons stated, “Delaware has long been home to leading innovative companies whose businesses change the world and make Delaware a center of investment and job creation. We need to take that history and build upon it. Delaware has the skilled workforce, access to markets, and tax structure for new and growing companies. It is in our economic and national security interests to push policies that help our nation become the leading clean energy economy, with Delaware, a home of science and innovation-based companies, as its hub.”

Coons continued, “Our collective economic and national security is at stake if we don’t aggressively move from petroleum-based energy to a more balanced energy portfolio that includes wind, solar and other alternative energy sources. We have talked about our over-reliance on oil for too long, now is the time to act.”

Coons plan to build the green economy is based on four principles:

Expanding Tax Credits for Advanced Energy Manufacturing
The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit provides an investment tax credit to cover 30% of new, expanded, or re-equipped energy manufacturing projects. Initial interest in the program ($25 billion) was ten times the available funding. Expanding this credit would create critical clean-energy market jobs. The Production Tax Credit provides money – now in the form of direct grants instead of tax credit – to renewable energy projects. The first four months of 2009 saw investment rebound to $3.6 billion, more than all of 2006 investments. Extending the cash grant fix of the Production Tax Credit through 2011 would stabilize the industry and preserve domestic manufacturing jobs.

Creation of a “Green Bank”
Creating a federal “green bank” would provide financing options, including direct loans, letters of credit, loan guarantees, insurance products and others, to assist promising technologies in moving from the lab into commercial demonstrations and markets. This bank could be seeded with $10 billion in existing loan guarantee funds already provided to the Department of Energy.

Establish a Fund to Encourage Green Investments

Sen. Sherrod Brown introduced the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology Act (the IMPACT Act) to provide aid to companies that need to raise capital to retool their existing facilities to compete in the green-energy market. Companies would apply for funding from a $30 billion manufacturing revolving loan fund to become more energy efficient, retool facilities, and retrain workers. Some estimate that the benefit for clean energy business would top $100 billion while creating 680,000 direct manufacturing jobs over five years.

Leverage Taxpayer Money for Clean Energy Projects
Last year’s stimulus bill included $2.3 billion for promising clean energy projects. To qualify for the money, companies had put up 70 percent of a project’s cost, in exchange for a tax credit equal to 30 percent. The Energy Department received requests for more than $10 billion in credits and judged about $8 billion to be worthy, but it had only $2.3 billion to spend, so most qualified applicants got nothing. A bipartisan group of senators, including Republican Senators Richard Lugar and Orrin Hatch, support expanding the program.

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