CleanTech Alliance Urges More Funding for Clean Energy Fund

The CleanTech Alliance Government Affairs Committee, chaired by Russ Weed, recommended to our Executive Committee that we urge the State of Washington to significantly increase the Washington Clean Energy Fund in the 2019-2021 capital budget.  The capital budget will be a priority in the 2019 Legislative Session.  The Executive Committee agreed and authorized the following letter to Tony Usibelli, Special Assistant to the Director, Energy and Climate Policy, Washington State Department of Commerce:

September 20, 2018

Tony Usibelli
Special Assistant to the Director, Energy and Climate Policy
Washington State Department of Commerce
1011 Plum St SE | P.O. Box 42525
Olympia, WA 98504

RE:  CleanTech Alliance Recommendations on Washington Clean Energy Fund 4

Dear Tony,

The CleanTech Alliance very much appreciates the invitation to provide its recommendations to the Washington Department of Commerce regarding a proposed Clean Energy Fund 4 (CEF4).

These recommendations have been gathered from the membership of the Alliance, numbering 300 organizations spanning six U.S. states and two Canadian provinces.  Founded in 2007 by business and cleantech leaders, the CleanTech Alliance facilitates the generation and growth of cleantech companies and jobs through education, research, products and services.

I would also like to note these CEF4 recommendations are not the first time Commerce has received input from the Alliance on the Clean Energy Fund.  Commerce previously received the Alliance’s recommendation that the Clean Energy Fund 3 (CEF3) include electrification of transportation as a funding category.  The CEF3 as passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor includes substantial funding of that category.  The Alliance is looking forward to the competitive process Commerce will conduct later this year in the category.

With respect to the CEF4, the Alliance makes the following recommendations and observations:

  • Economic activity in the clean energy sector continues to grow in the U.S. and globally, notwithstanding cross-currents which will pass with time. The value propositions of clean energy sources and technologies continue to build, including benefits to people, planet, and profit.
  • Washington must “up its game” in the competition among the U.S. states for leadership in clean energy businesses and markets. Competitors include Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and California, which are accelerating the development of clean energy marketplaces through direct funding, loan programs, and regulation.
  • In order to “up its game” on clean energy, Washington needs to expand its Clean Energy Fund efforts from the present approximately $20 million in grants and loans per year, to $100 million in grants and loans per year. This expansion will respond to the significant funding by other leading clean energy states including:
    • Connecticut with its Green Bank funding $245 million between 2012-2017
    • California with its EPIC and SGIP programs funding $2,661 million between 2012-2020
    • New York with its Clean Energy Fund providing $5,000 million between 2016-2025
  • As part of expanding its Clean Energy Fund efforts, Washington should increase the resources available for management of Fund activities. This could take two forms:
    • Provision of matching funds to some CEF4 award winners needing or requesting technical and program resources to manage their projects, maximize their value, and reduce their risk
    • Provision of additional resources for the Department of Commerce to maintain proper oversight of expanded Fund activities
  • With respect to the different categories of the CEF4, we believe the existing categories of CEF funding meet Washington’s needs. This includes Grants to Non-Profit Lenders; Research, Development, and Demonstration (RD&D); Grid Modernization; Electrification of Transportation; and Solar Deployment.

The CleanTech Alliance believes a Clean Energy Fund 4 is critical to Washington’s clean energy sector growing and taking on the competition from other leading states.  Based on the attached benchmarking with other states, CEF4 needs to be budgeted with significantly increased funding.  The CleanTech Alliance recommends $200 million under the 2019-21 Capital Budget.

The CleanTech Alliance also recommends that technical and program resourcing of both awardees and the Department of Commerce be emphasized, with matching funds to awardees for needed outside resources and budget authority to the Department of Commerce for the amount of resources needed to manage CEF4 diligently and prudently.

The Government Affairs Committee of the CleanTech Alliance would be glad to meet with you and Department of Commerce leadership to review and discuss these recommendations.

Best regards,

J. Thomas Ranken
President & CEO

 

BENCHMARKING WASHINGTON’S CLEAN ENERGY FUND AGAINST OTHER STATES
STATE PROGRAM FUNDING PERIOD
WA Clean Energy Fund (CEF) $116MM 2013-2019
MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER) $70MM 2015-2019
CT Green Bank $244.5MM 2012-2017
NY Clean Energy Fund $5,000MM 2016-2025
CA Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) $1,458MM 2012-2020
Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) $567MM 2017-2019
Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) $636MM 2012-2016, 2020
$2,661MM

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