The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing last week on the current state of investment in clean energy finance and discussed federal programs aimed at the development and deployment of new energy technologies. Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) both discussed the importance of ARPA-E, as well as the role of federal programs like Section 1703, the DOE loan guarantee program for “new or significantly improved” technologies and the ATVM program that provides direct loans to automakers. The successful early repayment of the Tesla loan was heralded as an example of how such a program can assist with the deployment of a new and groundbreaking energy technology.
In his opening statement Chairman Wyden said, “The government can level the playing field so that clean energy technologies have the same benefits fossil energy has enjoyed, and to make sure that the government itself doesn’t stand in the way of clean energy being deployed.”
Will Coleman, partner at OnRamp Capital provided the venture capital investor perspective and testified about NVCA’s energy innovation tax credit proposal. This “technology-neutral” approach has been met with bipartisan support and piqued the interest of the chairman, who asked Will to provide him additional information and feedback on our initiative.
Other witnesses testifying at the hearing included Peter W. Davidson, the new Executive Director of the DOE Loan Program Office, Richard Kauffman, Chairman, Energy and Finance for New York, Ethan Zindler, Head of Policy Analysis, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Nicolas Loris, Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow, The Heritage Foundation.You can read Will Coleman's testimony here.