WASHINGTON, D.C. ― Thursday, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced bicameral legislation to give all Americans the opportunity to buy Clean Energy Victory Bonds and empower regular people to do their part in building our country’s clean energy future.
Modeled after the highly successful victory bonds sold during World War I and World War II, which raised billions of dollars to finance the costs of war, Clean Energy Victory Bonds would help communities across the country invest in clean energy infrastructure and fight the climate crisis while also creating countless jobs and saving taxpayers money.
The bill would direct the Treasury Department to develop Clean Energy Victory Bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government and available to the public in denominations as low as $25. Those U.S. Treasury bonds would be used to invest in clean energy projects to help the federal government lower its carbon emissions and promote clean energy development. Investors would earn back their full investment, plus interest that comes from energy savings to the government and loan repayments for clean energy projects. The sale of these bonds could raise up to $50 billion, which could be leveraged to inject $150 billion into clean energy innovation and create over 1 million jobs.
“In New Mexico and across the country, Americans are searching for ways to do their part in helping our nation address the defining challenge of our generation – developing a clean energy economy to combat the intensifying climate crisis. In the absence of action from the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress, Clean Energy Victory Bonds would empower people to fight climate change by setting aside as little as $25 to make a smart, low-risk investment in building our clean energy future, creating jobs, and spurring innovation,” said Udall. “Years ago, victory bonds helped America win World War II and defeat fascism. Today, they can also help us combat the existential threat of climate change. Clean Energy Victory Bonds will help us harness the same spirit of patriotism and national commitment that helped unite us to win World War II, and channel it into the fight against the climate crisis.”
“We all benefit as Americans when we invest in the future of our country. I am pleased to reintroduce the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act for the fourth time, as momentum builds in California and across the country for aggressive action on climate change,” Lofgren said. “Americans on both sides of the political divide understand the need for urgent action on the energy and environmental challenges we face. Individual citizens are looking for avenues to take ownership of these efforts and this legislation provides them with an opportunity to invest within their means in an array of clean energy projects.”
“From forest fires to coastal flooding, we see the impact of climate change in California every day. The effects of extreme weather underscore the urgent need to end our dependence on dirty energy sources and transition to an ambitious, forward-looking clean energy economy. This year, we have seen historic levels of interest and activism from the American people in solving the climate crisis. All they want are the tools to engage and contribute to this vision,” Matsui said.“The American people can do anything they set their mind to, and by creating Clean Energy Victory Bonds, we are empowering them to take part in the expansion of clean energy technology. I am proud to join Senator Udall and Congresswoman Lofgren in reintroducing this important legislation, and I look forward to working with them capitalize on broad public support and advance this bill through Congress.”
The bill is supported by various organizations, including Green America, American Sustainable Business Council, Union of Concerned Scientists, and National Wildlife Federation.
“Now is the time for bold action to finance the development of our nation’s clean energy infrastructure. Clean Energy Victory Bonds give the public the opportunity to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency that will make the US a global leader in the clean energy economy upon which our very future depends,” said Fran Teplitz, Executive Co-Director for Business, Investing & Policy at Green America, the nation’s leading green economy organization.
“Responsible business leaders support a speedy transition to a clean energy economy. The Clean Energy Victory Bond would provide new investment for renewable and energy efficiency that will strengthen our economy, create jobs, and increase U.S. competitiveness globally. We applaud the members of Congress introducing this legislation for their commitment to addressing climate change while also building our economy,“ said Jeffrey Hollender, CEO of the American Sustainable Business Council, which has a membership network representing more than 250,000 businesses.
The Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2019 would raise funds for investment in clean energy projects at the federal, state, and local level, including:
Providing additional support to existing federal financing programs available to states for energy efficiency upgrades and clean energy deployment;
Providing funding for clean energy investments by all federal agencies;
Providing funding for electric grid enhancements and connections that enable clean energy deployment;
Providing funding to renovate existing inefficient buildings or building new energy efficient buildings;
Providing tax incentives and tax credits for clean energy technologies;
Providing funding for new innovation research, including ARPA-E, public competitions similar to those designed by the X Prize Foundation, grants provided through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the Department of Energy, or other mechanisms to fund revolutionary clean energy technology;
Providing additional funding to existing federal, state, and local grant programs; and
Providing additional support for zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing.
The full text of the Senate legislation is available HERE. The full text of the House legislation is available HERE. A summary is available HERE.