Green Stimulus May Include Clean Infrastructure Bank

The Washington Post's Steven Mufson today looks at the energy provisions that may be included in the economic recovery plan being offered by President-elect Barack Obama. This clean infrastructure rich green stimulus package will reportedly include $25 billion in energy related tax credits, including a two year extension of the Production Tax Credit.

The legislation may also end up including a bank to finance energy infrastructure, an idea NDN has been advocating. From the article:

The stimulus package may also establish a federally funded National Clean Energy Lending Authority, an idea that has been promoted by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.). The agency would receive as much as $10 billion to $20 billion and would extend low-interest loans or loan guarantees to renewable energy projects in an effort to mobilize private capital. If successful, Van Hollen said, the agency could become self-sustaining.

The pair also proposed the establishment of a revolving fund to help finance energy-efficiency improvements by homeowners.

The two lawmakers have written to Obama and have discussed their proposal for a "green bank" with Obama's choice for chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and economic adviser Lawrence Summers.

"The idea is gaining traction," Van Hollen said. "It fills an essential gap right now."

As Congressman Van Hollen points out, a clean infrastructure bank is incredibly important right now, as the credit necessary for many renewable energy and clean infrastructure projects dried up in the financial meltdown. Without a way to finance these projects, tax credits alone may not have the stimulative effect that one would like.

For more on clean infrastructure and green stimulus, attend NDN's upcoming event Clean Infrastructure: Transportation Policy for the 21st Century with U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, read the NDN economic backgrounder and read Melissa Merz's blog about President-elect Barack Obama's most recent weekly YouTube address.