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The Green Bank

Financing the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy Requires Targeted Financing to Encourage Private-Sector Participation

Authors: Karen Kornbluh, Senior Fellow for Digital Policy, and John D. Podesta
May 21, 2009
Center for American Progress

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The debate over energy legislation begins in earnest in Congress this week and the stakes couldn't be higher. The United States is falling behind in the space race of our generation—building long-term economic prosperity powered by low-carbon energy. China's stimulus package invests $12.6 million every hour in greening its economy, for a total of $220 billion, twice as much as similar U.S. investments. Meanwhile, during the most recent economic expansion the average American family paid more than $1,100 a year in rising energy bills for U.S. policies that favor fossil fuels.

The choice is clear: continue with more of the same energy policies or transition to a clean-energy economy that creates millions of good jobs here in the United States and moves us off our dependence on foreign oil.

The creation of a new Green Bank could lead to the steady and reliable creation of clean-energy jobs and would be a crucial element of the transition to a clean-energy economy. Working in partnership with the private sector, a well constructed, public Green Bank would open credit markets and motivate businesses to invest again. It would enable clean-energy technologies—in such areas as wind, solar, geothermal, advanced biomass, and energy efficiency—to be deployed on a large scale and become commercially viable at current electricity costs.

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