STATEMENT: CAP’s Caperton on the Passage of the Clean Energy Financing Act

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed the Clean Energy Financing Act of 2011 and Richard W. Caperton, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

The Clean Energy Financing Act of 2011 is an important step in enabling America’s future competitiveness in the global economy, moving our country toward a clean energy future that improves the health and safety of all Americans while protecting our national security. The full Senate should follow the committee’s lead and quickly pass this critical piece of legislation.

Two years ago, the Center for American Progress identified financing, infrastructure, and market demand as the key elements of a clean energy investment agenda. Since then, we have advocated for a strong Clean Energy Deployment Administration, or CEDA, which would have a full set of financing tools at its disposal and would be able to support a wide range of technologies, all while providing adequate oversight to protect taxpayers. We are pleased that the committee has passed a bill that incorporates these fundamental beliefs about CEDA.

The Clean Energy Deployment Administration will allow capital to flow to clean energy commercialization. Right now, innovative companies—key to our future competitiveness and economic prosperity—risk getting caught in the “Valley of Death,” where nascent but promising companies often languish as they strive to accumulate the necessary funds. Bringing new clean energy technologies to commercial scale for the first time can require hundreds of millions, even billions, of dollars and private investors are either unable to fund projects that require this much capital, as is the case with many venture capitalists, or are unwilling to lend money to projects that use first-of-a-kind technology not fully proven at commercial scale, as is the case with most banks.

CEDA will bring companies across the “Valley of Death” by providing these businesses with loans, loan guarantees, insurance, and other financing vehicles that will make it possible for companies to raise the necessary capital and jumpstart the economy. It will build on the successes of the DOE Loan Guarantee Program, which has created 70,000 direct jobs, while allowing greater flexibility to more fully meet the financial needs of the clean energy industry.

Without a financing tool like CEDA, our clean energy economy will stall, while other countries continue plowing ahead. The China Development Bank Corporation has plans to finance more than $30 billion in clean energy each year going forward, while the U.S. government risks providing zero financial support if CEDA is not signed into law.

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To speak with Richard Caperton on the passage of the Clean Energy Financing Act, please contact Christina DiPasquale at cdipasquale@americanprogress.org or 202.481.8181.

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