The global energy market is worth trillions of dollars and countless jobs. The country that controls that market will dominate the next century. Countries like China already are trying to stake their claim on the hundreds of billions of dollars in investment waiting to go to the country that takes the lead on clean energy. I believe that America must win this race, and Connecticut can lead the way.
As Attorney General, I have supported state legislation to invest in the renewable energy industry, and stood up to the Governor's attempts to divert certain state funds from their duly allocated purpose of providing cheaper cleaner energy for Connecticut residents.
We must do more however, and as your U.S. Senator I will fight to ensure that the United States leads in the global green energy marketplace. Some of the actions I propose include:
* Extending and Expanding the Manufacturing Tax Credit. I strongly support extending the Manufacturing Tax Credit, which promotes advanced energy manufacturing, another two years and expanding it to meet demand. The existing program is already projected to create 58,000 jobs, has already received three times as many applications as it could fund, and it is about to expire.
* Increasing the R&D Tax Credit and Making it Permanent. The R&D Tax Credit creates incentives for businesses investing in research. We must increase the size of the R&D Tax Credit by 25% and we must make it permanent. This expansion has been estimated to generate 316,000 manufacturing jobs nationwide, and raise total employment by a one-half million within a decade.
* Providing Utility Tax Credits: We need to change the way we generate power to drive our economy. Providing a tax credit for utilities to construct plants that use both natural gas and renewable energy will help utilities pay for facilities that use renewable energy with natural gas backup.
IMPROVING ENERGY EFFICIENCY
* Creating Incentives for Residential Efficiency Retrofitting. I support the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act (or "Cash for Caulkers") program which will combine financial incentives and uniform federal energy efficiency standards to dramatically extend efforts to improve residential energy efficiency. Connecticut manufacturing workers will benefit as demand increases for goods like advanced lighting and energy efficient windows, while our consumers will benefit from lower heating and air conditioning bills.
* Establishing Cash for Commercial Clunkers. Old, inefficient "heavy-load vehicles" are major gas guzzlers and polluters. I believe we should establish a program that would pay up to $65,000 per vehicle to get old diesel trucks off the road and replace them with natural gas and alternative fuel vehicles while spurring job-creating demand for vehicles and fueling stations.
* Curbing Pollution. When big business polluters don't pay for the costs of their pollution, the rest of us end up paying. As your U.S. Senator, I will listen to ideas from anyone, regardless of party, on how to bring the financial costs, environmental destruction and adverse health consequences caused by polluters under control.
INVESTMENTS IN INDUSTRY
* Promoting Clean Energy Technology. As the fuel cell capital of the nation, Connecticut is uniquely positioned to take advantage of new efforts to promote renewable energy, manufacturing and innovation. I support increasing our investment in clean-energy technologies, which will help create as many as 2.5 million new jobs, boost the economy, and improve the environment. Clean energy investments generate roughly three times as many jobs as those generated by investments in carbon-based fuels. Moreover, our state provides a third of all jobs in America related to fuel cells and has more than 30 companies engaged in the manufacture of fuel cells or their components.
* Investing in Domestic Clean Energy Manufacturing and Environmental Sustainability. Green energy is a field ripe for federal investment, so I strongly support proposals like the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology ("IMPACT") Act. The act would help small and medium sized local manufacturers by providing loans to improve their facilities and expand clean energy product production. Over the next five years, the proposal could create 680,000 direct manufacturing jobs in America, and nearly two million indirect jobs here.
* Establish Clean Energy Business Zones. Establishing Clean Energy Business Zones (CBiZ) will help our businesses and manufacturers transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. Businesses in newly established Clean Energy Business Zones would receive up to $1.2 billion per year in tax credits, grants and loan guarantees for companies in the clean energy sector or for companies that move to greater energy efficiency.