Clean Energy Deployment Administration

May 3, 2011
01:09 PM
Clean Energy Deployment Administration
Opening Statement
“Thank you for coming here today to participate in this hearing to establish a Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA).  This legislation has been in development for several years now and has benefitted greatly from the input of many people in the private sector, including the ones here today to testify on the proposal of CEDA. 
“The problems of bringing new energy technologies to the commercial marketplace have been documented for a long time.  In many hearings, over several years, we have heard about the challenging environment for securing investment in emerging clean energy technologies.  The high capital requirements, coupled with unavailability of affordable financing, have generally steered investments toward largely proven technologies while the real ‘game changing’ technologies have not been able to get the money they need.
“People have become accustomed to ‘Moore’s Law’ in the information technology industry, which observes the trend that computing power roughly doubles every couple of years.  This has resulted in rapid growth in that industry and high expectations for technological achievement and investment performance.  But energy technologies have not followed that same path.  Although research and development in the United States has been strong - leading to some very promising advances in renewable energy, highly fuel-efficient and electric drive vehicles, smart grid technology and ultra-efficient lighting and appliances – their transition to the commercial marketplace has been frustratingly slow. 
“The rest of the world is working hard to accelerate this deployment cycle and, as we have heard in a hearing in March of this year, our global competitors are committing significant resources to make their countries attractive environments for clean energy technology deployment, including through financing support. 
“We’ve discussed the particulars of this bill before in the Committee, so I’ll leave that issue to the witnesses.  Mr. Silver has had some impressive results in recent months with the loan guarantee program, and I’ll be interested in hearing the lessons from that experience that we should be aware of as we go forward with CEDA.  There are several features to the legislation, such as the emphasis on management of risks across a portfolio of investments and the targeting of a risk profile through a loan loss reserve, that should allow CEDA to function with the speed and flexibility that is needed, and I hope we can hear testimony on that. 
“One thing I think has been made clear in the hearings we have had so far on this topic is that we should not wait in making these investments.  The budgeting conventions we use here dictate that the funds set aside for CEDA within the Treasury are considered ‘spent’ immediately, even though any actual losses may not happen for years and could be offset by fees collected.  We need to find a way to pay for that amount when the bill comes to the full Senate.  While I acknowledge that the current environment makes this difficult, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to find a suitable offset, and we should not lose sight of the fundamental cost-effectiveness of this type of financing support.  CEDA will generate significant private sector spending and will finance projects that have many times the value of the actual risks taken.  
“Thank you for your time today and being here today.  Let me call on Senator Murkowski for her thoughts.”
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