The plan would create a new federal corporation that provides loans and other support for low-emissions energy projects and technologies.
Versions of the green bank are part of the big climate bill the House approved in June and a bipartisan energy bill the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed around the same time.
But with the fate of climate and energy legislation highly uncertain, various lawmakers and lobbyists want some provisions to migrate to the jobs bill. The effort comes at a time when Democrats nervous about the mid-term elections are making the economy their main focus.
The letter says including the green bank in the jobs bill would spur new employment fast and more broadly position the U.S. as a leader in “clean energy” technologies.
“We believe the availability of CEDA financing will help America’s emerging clean energy technology companies cross the so-called ‘valley of death’ between the invention of a technology and its commercial deployment, and thus substantially accelerate and increase private sector investment necessary to position the U.S. as the global clean energy leader,” states the letter also backed by other venture firms, the National Venture Capital Association, GE Energy Financial Services and others.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who is a member of the House Democratic leadership, last week called for including the green bank in the jobs bill in his own letter to Obama.
The letter from the venture capitalists yesterday drew applause from Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.).
“If enacted today, CEDA can create countless new jobs this year in new companies across the country by helping breakthrough clean energy technologies get introduced into U.S. markets and expanded as quickly as possible,” Bingaman said in a statement.
The green bank in the Senate bill differs from the House plan in several ways. The Senate version makes the bank an autonomous entity within the Energy Department, while the House plan creates a separate, stand-alone federal corporation.
Update: The letter from the venture capitalists is partial to the Senate's green bank provision. Here's the entire letter:
January 21, 2010
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As entrepreneurs, investors and industry stakeholders active in the transition to a low-carbon energy economy, we urge you to work with Congressional leaders to craft a jobs package that includes the immediate creation of a Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA). We believe CEDA’s swift enactment will both spur the creation of jobs in 2010, and position the U.S. as the global leader in the development and deployment of clean energy technologies for years to come.
Last year, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee adopted bipartisan legislation to create CEDA, as Title I of the American Clean Energy Leadership Act. The pending Senate proposal would establish and fund CEDA to provide various types of flexible credit support for the development and deployment of clean energy technologies throughout the economy. CEDA would be affiliated with the Department of Energy, but have largely independent operations including its own Senate-confirmed Administrator and Board of Directors.
A critical feature of CEDA, as created in the Senate bill, is its focus on innovative technologies. We believe the availability of CEDA financing will help America’s emerging clean energy technology companies cross the so-called “valley of death” between the invention of a technology and its commercial deployment, and thus substantially accelerate and increase private sector investment necessary to position the U.S. as the global clean energy leader. In short, CEDA will help finance the scale-up of precisely the kinds of innovative technologies that will create new, 21st Century American jobs and position the U.S. to capture the economic benefits of the global transition to low-carbon energy infrastructure.
We would be pleased to discuss this matter with Administration officials. Thank you for your consideration -- and your leadership in the emerging clean energy economy.
Neil Z. Auerbach
Hudson Clean Energy Partners
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
General Partner MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures
Mark G. Heesen
National Venture Capital Association
Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer
Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated
Chairman and CEO
Tesla Motors, Inc.
GE Energy Financial Services
President and Chief Executive Officer
GreatPoint Energy, Inc.
U.S. Venture Partners
Climate Change and Energy Initiatives
Alan E. Salzman CEO VantagePoint Venture Partners
Cc: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House
The Honorable Harry ReidHarry ReidFree speech is a right, not a political weapon Overnight Tech: FCC eyes cybersecurity role | More trouble for spectrum auction | Google seeks 'conservative outreach' director Cures bill clears first Senate hurdle MORE, Senate Majority Leader
The Honorable John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan delays committee assignments until 2017 Lobbying World 'Ready for Michelle' PACs urge 2020 run MORE, House Republican Leader
The Honorable Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSenate Dems may block water bill over drought language The Hill's 12:30 Report McConnell: Spending bill will include miners' pension fix MORE, Senate Republican Leader
The Honorable Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader
The Honorable Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate Dems may block water bill over drought language Funding measure to include 0M for Flint This week: Government funding deadline looms MORE, Senate Majority Whip
The Honorable Eric CantorEric CantorTrump allies warn: No compromise on immigration Chamber of Commerce overhauls lobbying operation Laura Ingraham under consideration for White House press secretary MORE, House Republican Whip
The Honorable John Kyl, Senate Republican Whip
This post was updated at 1:23 p.m.