SENATOR MURKOWSKI SPONSORS LEGISLATION TO SPEED INVESTMENT IN CLEAN ENERGYWASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski recently co-sponsored legislation that will establish a government corporation dedicated to makings loans and facilitating investment in clean energy projects nationwide. The bipartisan bill, the Clean Energy Investment Act of 2008, is intended to speed the pace of construction of clean and renewable energy projects nationwide.
“The Clean Energy Investment Bank will help our nation move toward energy independence,” said Senator Murkowski. “While Congress has approved two major energy bills over the past three years to fund research and demonstration projects, there is still a need for cheaper, more abundant financing to help utilities and energy companies afford to build new projects.”
The Clean Energy Investment Bank would have the authority to issue loans, loan guarantees, make equity investments and provide insurance for clean energy projects. The bank will be initially capped at $100 billion in assets and can issue loans for no more than 70 percent of a project’s total costs. The goal of the bank is to ensure that there is enough capital available to finance commercial construction of alternative forms of clean energy. The Electric Power Research Institute estimates that if Congress mandates reduced carbon power, the nation will need to spend an additional $2 billion a year to cover the higher costs of investments in wind, geothermal, biomass, solar, ocean, clean coal and the new generation of nuclear power – all that can generate energy with little or no carbon emissions.
“There is no question that developing new technology and then building new alternative energy plants has to be a part of any solution,” said Senator Murkowski. “When you hear threats from foreign nations that they want to stop selling us oil and when you see the price of fossil fuels hit all-time records because we aren’t producing enough oil and gas to moderate prices, it is important that we fund alternative energy and attempt to get it perfected and built at the lowest cost possible to American consumers. A professional, well-capitalized bank is the best way to make sure that the private sector can build these projects.”
Senator Murkowski also sponsored and won approval in December 2007 of the Renewable Energy Deployment Grant program for Alaska to provide grant assistance for the development of energy projects in Alaska. That measure will provide federal grants of up to 50 percent of the cost of building a wide variety of renewable electricity projects: wind, geothermal, ocean (wave, tidal and current), biomass, solar, landfill gas and small hydroelectric projects in Alaska. The grant program, when funded, should help with the installation of potential projects like the Fire Island wind farm, and ocean energy projects in Cook Inlet or Southeast.
The bill, which was referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was sponsored by Domenici and co-sponsored by Murkowski, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.; Mel Martinez, R-Fla.; Jim Bunning, R-Ky.; Larry Craig, R-Idaho; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; and Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.