FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2020
Nearly 100 Groups Mobilize to Push Congress for Clean Energy Jobs Fund in Infrastructure Bill
Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, NRDC, League of Conservation Voters, Solar Energy Industries Association join effort
Geographically broad groups span industry, environment, labor
WASHINGTON—Nearly 100 organizations today sent a letter to U.S. House and Senate leaders requesting future economic recovery legislation include $35 billion for a nonprofit Clean Energy Jobs Fund to put 5 million Americans back to work.
With more than 40 million American jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic so far and studies showing that up to 42 percent of those jobs will not return, the groups argue that Congress must urgently make long term investments that create jobs and build a cleaner future.
“The United States will be battling the health crisis for the foreseeable future and immediate relief is critical. But it is not enough,” the groups wrote. “Congress should respond by depositing $35 billion into the nonprofit, nonpartisan Clean Energy Jobs Fund to create 5 million new jobs.”
The letter, spearheaded by the Coalition for Green Capital, was signed by a diverse group of industry, trade and environmental advocacy groups, along with state and local officials. Large environmental organizations include the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, National Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, Union of Concerned Scientists, Climate Reality Project and Appalachian Voices.
Other key clean energy industry groups— Solar Energy Industries Association, Energy Storage Association, Vote Solar, and Advanced Energy Management Alliance—added their voices backing the proposed Clean Energy Jobs Fund.
State green banks and funding agencies, innovative start-ups and larger corporations, clean tech investors, utilities and regional advocacy groups—from Alaska to Hawaii, Florida to Michigan, Colorado to Pennsylvania and dozens more states—all signed on to support the clean energy jobs fund. Their support signals that this proposal is an effective way to put people to work and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The fund, as envisioned in H.R. 5416 and S. 2057, would use the green bank model to pair each public dollar with multiple private ones to build a range of clean energy projects throughout the U.S. This includes renewable power, building efficiency, grid infrastructure like transmission, industrial decarbonization, clean transportation, reforestation and climate-resilient infrastructure. Because the dollars are repaid over time, they can be recycled to make additional investments in the future.
Twenty percent of the funds must go to low-income and climate-impacted communities, many of which have also been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The groups added: “Each project financed by the Fund will require Americans with all kinds of skills and backgrounds. Today, half the jobs in the clean energy sector are in sales, administration and management. These are roles that can be filled quickly by those laid off from other sectors with matching skill sets.”
Recent national polling shows eight out of 10 Americans want Congress to create clean energy jobs and seven out of 10 support depositing $35 billion into a fund to achieve this. The groups concluded: “Voters across parties want Congress to invest in clean energy job creation to put Americans back to work.”
Read the letter and full listing of groups that signed it below.
We write at this urgent time with recommendations to support your efforts to respond to the unfolding economic crisis. The United States will be battling the health crisis for the foreseeable future and immediate relief is critical. But it is not enough. Today, 4 out of 5 voters nationally want Congress to create new jobs to build clean energy infrastructure. Congress should respond by depositing $35 billion into the nonprofit, nonpartisan Clean Energy Jobs Fund to create 5 million new jobs.
Over forty million people so far are out of work because of the coronavirus and ensuing economic shutdown. The shutdown, new consumer habits and changed behavior due to Covid-19 have led to structural changes in the U.S. economy and its workforce. Millions of Americans in the retail, dining, entertainment, travel sectors, among others, will not be able to quickly return to their old jobs. That means it is essential for Congress to help create new jobs for Americans.
In national polls 4 out of 5 voters want Congress to invest in new jobs to build clean energy infrastructure, like wind turbines, solar panels, power lines, and EV charging. And 69% say the U.S. government should deposit $35B in the nonpartisan, nonprofit Clean Energy Jobs Fund to achieve that objective.
The opportunity to build the infrastructure to generate, move, store and use clean and efficient energy is nearly boundless. Trillions of dollars of investment is needed to build clean energy infrastructure that will put millions back to work, strengthen communities, reduce pollution, improve public health, lower energy costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Clean Energy Jobs Fund (as envisioned by Sens. Markey and Van Hollen (S.2057) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (H.R.5416) in the National Climate Bank Act of 2019) is an excellent vehicle for this investment because it will pair each public dollar with multiple private ones to build a range of clean energy projects. This includes renewable power, building efficiency, grid infrastructure like transmission, industrial decarbonization, clean transportation, reforestation and climate-resilient infrastructure. Each public dollar invested will be repaid and preserved by the Fund, which means dollars can be recycled to cause even more private investment in the future.
The Fund will use the green bank model that has been proven at the state and local level in the U.S. There are already successful green banks in states like Michigan, Florida, Connecticut and Hawaii, and new ones in place in Colorado, Ohio, and Nevada. These green banks have driven over $5 billion of investment into clean energy, and for each public dollar invested, 2.6 dollars of private investment has followed.
Each project financed by the Fund will require Americans with all kinds of skills and backgrounds. Today, half the jobs in the clean energy sector are in sales, administration and management. These are roles that can be filled quickly by those laid off from other sectors with matching skillsets.
To strengthen communities in every corner of America, the Fund will help form new regional, state or local green banks across the U.S. and then provide the funding necessary for them to invest. This will build a network of local institutions designed expressly to meet the employment, energy, development and environmental needs of that community. The Fund will also help fund the expansion of those green banks that already exist and are showing others how to lead the way.
No community will be overlooked. 20% of the Fund’s investment must go to frontline, low-income and climate-impacted communities. Existing green banks have already proven the possible, delivering clean energy and health benefits to communities that have historically been left behind. This ensures good clean energy jobs are formed throughout the U.S.
The Fund is the evolution of the Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA), introduced in Congress in 2009. CEDA enjoyed broad bipartisan support, passing the House Energy & Commerce Committee with a 51-6 vote and then the entire House. And it passed the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee with a 15-8 bipartisan vote.
This kind of broad support still exists. Immediate relief is essential in this crisis, but so too is providing a livelihood for the millions of American families and households out of work. Voters across parties want Congress to invest in clean energy job creation to put Americans back to work. And to do this, voters want Congress to fund the Clean Energy Jobs Fund.
Environmental Non-Profit Organizations
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
The Climate Reality Project
Energy Efficiency Alliance of New Jersey
Environmental Defense Fund
League of Conservation Voters
Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Natural Resources Defense Council
New Jersey League of Conservation Voters
Union of Concerned Scientists
Trade and Industry Associations
Advanced Energy Management Alliance
American Green Bank Consortium
Americans for a Clean Energy Grid
Coalition for Community Solar Access
Coalition for Green Capital
Energy Storage Association
Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association
Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance
Maryland Building Performance Association
Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association
North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association
Northeast Clean Energy Council
Renewable Energy Alaska
Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Solar Energy Industries Association
Southern Renewable Energy Association
Financial Institutions and Funds
Climate Action Fund
Colorado Clean Energy Fund
Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE)
Connecticut Green Bank
DC Green Bank
Delaware Sustainable Energy Authority
Energy Resource Center, Colorado
Energy Outreach Colorado
Florida Solar Energy Loan Fund
Hawai’i Green Infrastructure Authority
Inclusive Property Capital
Maryland Clean Energy Center
Montgomery County Green Bank
Neighborhood Sun Benefit Corporation
New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation
Park City Community Foundation
Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank
Clean Energy Companies and Utilities
Aris Energy Solutions, LLC
Atlas Home Energy Solutions
Bicky Corman Law PLLC
Build Efficiently, LLC
Elevation Lighting Services Company
Energy Efficiency Experts LLC
First Cast Communications
Ground Loop Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.
Main Street Launch
Mountain View Solar and Wind
Recurrent Innovative Solutions, LLC
RER Energy Group
Solar United Neighbors
Sustainable Real Estate Solutions, Inc.
Zinc8 Energy Solutions
State and Local Governments
California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, CPA
Hawai’I State Energy Office
The Honorable John Barrasso
The Honorable Tom Carper
The Honorable Chris Van Hollen
The Honorable Ed Markey
The Honorable James Clyburn
The Honorable Steny Hoyer
The Honorable Peter DeFazio
The Honorable Sam Graves
The Honorable Frank Pallone
The Honorable Debbie Dingell