Bennet Introduces Bill to Grow the Clean Energy Economy, Create Public Private Partnerships to Create Jobs

Bill Would Establish Competitive “State LEAD Grants” for States and Communities Planning with the Private Sector to Lead on Clean Energy, Reduce Pollution

$5 Billion Grant Program Is Paid For – And Will Reduce Deficit by Ending Tax Loophole for Five Largest Oil Companies

Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today announced that he has introduced a new bill to incentivize states and communities to work with local energy businesses to take a lead on clean energy and reduce carbon pollution.  The States as Energy Leaders for the Future (SELF) Act would establish a $5 billion competitive grant program for states and local governments that pass legislation that moves the clean energy economy forward and reduces carbon pollution.  The bill would be fully paid for and would reduce the deficit.

“The bill encourages leadership and innovation by relying on the creativity and ingenuity of our public and private institutions.  It empowers them to collaborate to move our nation toward a clean energy economy,” Bennet said.  “We can incentivize states to put together dynamic plans to move our country toward a clean energy economy and end our dependence on foreign oil.  By giving local governments the flexibility they need, we can build a stronger economy, and a safer, more secure future while protecting our air, land and water for generations to come.” 

The state and local government grant applicants would apply for State LEAD Grants (State Leaders in Energy Advancement and Development).  Their applications would be evaluated based on a reviewing, scoring and ranking system.  Possible measures garnering points include:

ü  Renewable electricity standards, such as those enacted by Colorado;

ü  Regional or statewide climate action plans;

ü  Increased percentage of energy efficient public buildings;

ü  Participation in a regional greenhouse gas reduction program; and

ü  Tax incentives for the manufacture or installation of clean energy components or energy efficiency upgrades.

Bennet will push Congress to pay for this innovative program by repealing the Section 199 expensing for the five largest oil companies that pay U.S. taxes.  This pay for, supported by better governance and taxpayer watchdog groups, generates roughly $10 billion.  Five billion would go to fund the SELF Act, and the other $5 billion would be used to pay down the deficit.

The bill is supported by a coalition of local Colorado businesses, industry associations, and conservation groups including the Solar Energy Industries Association, Tendril Networks, Ascent Solar Technologies, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) Rocky Mountains, American Wind Energy Association, Insulated Component Structures and Sierra Club.

“The U.S. solar energy industry applauds Senator Bennet for his leadership on the States as Energy Leaders for the Future (SELF) Act,” said Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), SEIA represents more than 20 Colorado-based Solar companies and over 1,000 solar companies nationwide.  “Passing this legislation will send a message that it is time to diversify our energy portfolio and expand the clean energy industry here in the US.  By investing in solar, the US will create thousands of new jobs in manufacturing and installation, save consumers money on their electricity bills, and reduce the amount of harmful and dangerous pollutants in our atmosphere.”

“Given the lack of action by the U.S. Senate to pass a comprehensive energy bill, Senator Bennet’s innovative program is a critical move in the right direction,” said Andrew Currie, Director of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) Rocky Mountains, which represents over 80 businesses in Colorado and 850 businesses nationwide.  E2 members have created over 500,000 jobs nationwide and collectively manage over $90 billion of venture capital and private equity.  “It will help fund up-front investments enabling more states, counties, and cities to act, which will quickly create a larger U.S. market for energy-efficient products and services, which in turn will create many much needed new energy economy jobs.”

“At Tendril, we've tripled our size in the past year, adding real clean energy jobs for Colorado while we build a smarter and more reliable electric grid,” said Cameron Brooks, Senior Director of Policy Strategy at Tendril Networks, based in Boulder.  “Part of that success has been through partnerships with the state energy office, and Senator Bennet’s bill will help spread this model, so states across the country can benefit from the kind of clean energy job creation we’ve seen in Colorado.”

“By incentivizing states and local communities to invest more resources in a switch to clean energy, such as solar power, Senator Bennet’s bill will be a boon for the solar industry and other clean energy industries and will, in turn, create green jobs,” said Ashutosh Misra, Senior Vice President at Ascent Solar Technologies, based in Thornton.

“The incentives for energy efficiency measures that are included in this bill will help us grow our business of energy-efficient building components,” said Brian Propp, CEO of Insulated Component Structures – Rocky Mountain, Inc.  “By providing grants for the initial investment in such energy-saving measures as better insulation materials, Senator Bennet’s bill also would save communities money on their energy bills.”