Bennet Introduces Bill for $5 Billion Clean Energy Grant Program

US Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) has reintroduced a bill to incentivize states and communities to work with local energy businesses to utilize clean energy technologies.

Bennet originally introduced the bill in 2010, but it was sent to committee, and there was no action beyond that. Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm recently renewed momentum for the idea at this year’s “All Stars” event held by the Department of Energy in January.

The Clean Energy Race to the Top Act (bill S.570) would establish a $5 billion competitive grant program for states and local governments that enact policies that move the clean energy economy forward. The bill would be fully paid for by closing tax loopholes. Specifically, it would lower the section 199 tax deduction for the major integrated oil companies from 6 percent to 4 percent, according to Sen. Bennet’s office.

Under the bill, states, local governments, or public-private partnerships would be eligible to apply for competitive grants to develop and carry out clean energy and carbon reduction measures. Their applications would be evaluated based on a reviewing, scoring and ranking system.

Possible measures garnering points include:

  • Renewable electricity standards, such as those enacted by Colorado;
  • Regional or statewide climate action plans;
  • Increased percentage of energy efficient public buildings;
  • Participation in a regional greenhouse gas reduction program; and
  • Tax incentives for the manufacture or installation of clean energy components or energy efficiency upgrades.

The bill is supported by a coalition of local Colorado businesses, industry associations, and environmental groups including the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Sierra Club.

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