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As per Re-Energizing ... ENERGIZE AMERICA ..., the Energize America team (and all of Daily Kos) has been asked by a senior member of Congress to develop elements of the plan for introduction as legislation in the Congress.  To start with, we plan to develop 5-10 concept papers, fleshed out as best we can with community input, for then working with legislative counsel and other Congressional resources to arrive at the actual legislative initiatives.  

Re-Energizing ... ENERGIZE AMERICA has the full list of Energize America Acts that we plan to develop.  At this time, we are still developing our team approach (volunteers, comments, other contributions VERY WELCOME) and developing the plan for strengthening the Energize America 2020 as a home base for this activity.

This is a final draft (please) of The Neighborhood Power Act one-page summary.

Join the conversation after the fold ... let us know what you think ... what we’re missing ... what is right here ...

Energize America bumpersticker

The Community-Based Energy Investment Act


To enable state and local communities to create community-based energy programs, suited to their locations and available resources, by combining low-interest private financing with Federal technical and financial assistance.  


The Community-Based Energy Investment Act, the Neighborhood Power Act of 2007 will provide funding for  

  • energy-saving investments and  
  • renewable energy production  
  • via bonds that will be repaid using financial savings due to increased energy efficiency and the generation of renewable power, while simultaneously lowering overall community energy costs.

This program will build on successful precedents around the country, where communities have used bonds to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.  Structured so that the combination of energy savings and renewable energy production exceeds the value of the bond, these programs have enabled communities to invest in a more affordable and more sustainable energy future. (San Francisco's Vote Solar program is a model for this effort.)  

Such dual efficiency/production programs can provide annual returns of well over ten percent, providing a path for continuing investments in these arenas.

The federal government shall establish within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) the "Local Energy Bond Office"  (LEBO) composed of experts on bond financing structuring and energy efficiency paybacks to work with local and state governments , which generally do not have and cannot afford such expertise.

The HUD LEBO will assist in structuring program elements, including but not limited to:

  • performing technical surveys
  • balancing the efficiency and production elements of projects, and
  • offering bond model options.

Under this Act, project financing would come from:

  • Local and state government bonds;
  • Local funding;
  • Federal matching funds of up to ten percent (10%) of total program funds, matching local funding levels. (Special provisions will exist for redevelopment zones and other financially-stressed American communities which have lower thresholds for local financing.)  

HUD LEBO's charter will include structuring programs so that the value of the project's energy savings and renewable power generation will be greater than the funds required to pay back the loans.  


The Act will

  • enable local communities to launch energy projects most suited to local requirements and conditions (such as weather, availability of resources, commercial and/or residential energy needs, and presence of specialized local competences or industries).  
  • foster reduced pollution in local communities
  • foster a more resilient power system in the face of either man-made or natural disaster.
  • facilitate up to $10 billion per year of local and state investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy production through the allocation of only $1 billion in seed money
  • spur the development of public and private sector expertise and capabilities in energy efficiency to meet both public and private requirements.  
  • spur the development of public and private sector expertise and capabilities in renewable energy for design, construction, installation, and maintenance of these systems.  
  • provide a strong market environment welcoming and encouraging appropriate new technologies and approaches for energy efficiency and renewable energy in all climate regions of the United States.


The Federal Government will invest $1.1 billion dollars per year in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs for state and local governments across the United States through the Community-Based Energy Investment Act.  Each year, $1 billion per year will be dedicated as matching funds to local and state governments. An additional $100 million per year will fund the administrative functions, including the provision of the expertise required to assist local and state governments.


  • JOB CREATION:  What is a reasonable estimate as to job creation?  If one estimates $200,000 per job created through this program, this would translate roughly into 50,000 additional jobs (direct) created. There are also the indirect effects (manufacturing jobs, restaurants, shops, etc through cycling the funds).
  • TAX / FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:  And, with this additional job creation and business activity, what is likely implication for Federal tax revenue?  (And, if someone can go further, what about indirect/multiplicative implications through labor spending money in the community?) Would, perhaps, 50% of total funding be going for labor? Thus, perhaps $700 million in employment taxes and another $700 million in federal tax revenue.  (Subtracting out, however, the tax-free status of municipal bonds – which means reduction in tax revenue by perhaps $200 million / year.) And, due to the $1 billion, US debt obligations would be increasing roughly $55 million per year. Totaling this very rough estimate, in other words, to a balancing out of Federal tax revenue with the additional federal outlays.

Energy Smart


Please note that the Energize America 2020 team is well aware of the numerous and tremendous plans for a better energy future such as the Apollo Alliance and the NRDC's A Responsible Energy Plan for America.  As far as our work has discerned, the concepts of The Neighborhood Power Act are unique -- especially in the focus of leveraging minor assistance from the Federal Government to spark energy efficiency and renewable energy programs throughout state and local governments across the United States.


Many thanks to the members of the EA2020 team, but especially Karen Werhstein (check her art out, its cool) and Mataliandy who greatly strengthened this.  If/when they post, please make sure to Tip/Mojo them, because they deserve it.

Originally posted to A Siegel on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 02:30 PM PST.


Do you think that this makes a compelling case?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips / Mojo 21 February 2007 (21+ / 0-)

    Okay ... well ... as for a tip ... Being energy smart in your life can be one of your best financial investments in the short (and long) terms in terms of "ROI".  It also can be an excellent way for you to invest in the future.  Thus, commit to being Energy Smart -- you, your community, and the future will appreciate it.

    Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

    by A Siegel on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 02:32:23 PM PST

  •  Tax experts? Job creation experts? (6+ / 0-)

    We need ya!  Sound off!

    •  Some jobs stuff (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim W, A Siegel, dotcommodity

      From UCal Berkley - investing in renewables would create more jobs than investing in fossil fuels. (PDF of full report. This HTMLized version of the pdf has a great table on the first page.)

      "Across a broad range of scenarios, the renewable energy sector generates more jobs per average megawatt of power installed, and per unit of energy produced, than the fossil fuel-based energy sector," the report concludes. "All states of the Union stand to gain in terms of net employment from the implementation of a portfolio of clean energy policies at the federal level."

      Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

      by mataliandy on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 07:21:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  More (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, dotcommodity

        Bunch of jobs reports specific to renewables, including PDF - The Work that Goes Into Renewable Energy.

        Table ES-1. Labor Requirements for Renewable Energy Technologies

        Technology     Model Project Scale     Person Years per MW
        Solar              2-kW systems               35.5
        Wind               37.5 MW                       4.8
        Biomass          100-750 MW                 3.8 - 21.8



        Wind and PV offer 40% more jobs per dollar than coal.
        And while the labor intensity for renewables may drop
        due to economies of scale and technological change, sharp
        declines in coal mining should continue, cutting the av-
        erage labor requirements to fuel and operate coal power
        plants by 17% from 1998 to 2008 alone.

        From a Biomass industry site:

        The National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports that for every megawatt of biomass power produced, 4.9 jobs are created while the Department of Agriculture predicts that 17,000 jobs will be created per every million gallons of ethanol produced. Given the rapid growth demonstrated in biofuels this can only be good news for the employment prospects.

        The U.S. Department of Energy predicts that advanced technologies currently under development will help the biomass power industry install over 13,000 megawatts of biomass power by the year 2010, with over 40% of the fuel supplied from four million acres of energy crops and the remainder from biomass residues, and create an additional 100,000 jobs. This would significantly help rural economies.

        Canadian Clean Air Renewable Energy Coalition estimate:

        The Clean Air Renewable Energy Coalition has proposed that there is the potential in Canada increase the
        capacity of low-impact renewable electricity to approximately 35,600 MW between 2004 and 2020. Depending on the assumptions used, building and operating this capacity would create between 12,700 and 26,900 jobs by 2015, and would sustain these jobs through to 2020.

        Ninety-nine percent of these jobs would be approximately evenly distributed between onshore wind, run-of-river hydro, and biomass facilities. Over time, the job mix would steadily shift away from manufacturing and development and towards operations and management. By 2020, 54% of jobs would be dedicated to keeping existing facilities operational. The employment created from low-impact renewable electricity would be comparable to or greater than that created by an equivalent capacity of fossil fuel-based generation.

        Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

        by mataliandy on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 07:40:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I like it a lot (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiebear, A Siegel

    Government loans that will be recycled with interest.    It makes a lot of sense and each community can have a total bond cap so that they build slowly.  Once part of the loan has been repaid, more bonds can be issued to expand the local programs.

    A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

    by Webster on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 03:08:45 PM PST

    •  For clarity ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, cookiebear, Dallasdoc

      The Federal government money will be a grant to the local community. Consider it incentivizing to get communities to do these programs -- which are in the community's financial interest. And, the LEBO would help get past another barrier -- which is the burden of structuring loans (would be reduced) and having the expertise to provide balanced assessments of energy efficiency/renewable energy opportunities. (Oh, for private business, would have to expect that LEBO would be contracting for assistance in some of this work.)

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 03:12:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok, that makes more sense now (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cookiebear, A Siegel

        I was wondering why the numbers for recuperation (via taxes) were even coming up.  The grants would also take the place of tax incentives for new power generation plants, though I'm sure that's in there as well and I'm just having a long afternoon.

        Well done.

        A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

        by Webster on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 03:19:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  RE the money sourcing ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cookiebear, Webster

          We were not asked to find the funding sources for this. If we have "perfect" solution, we should provide it. But, I am not aware.

          In any event, under House "PayGo" rules, this might pass as the expected revenues could exceed expected expenditures due to the multiplicative/leveraging effect of the bond market.

          And, for me, this is a 100% legitimate reason to borrow money -- to improve infrastructure so that it operates better tomorrow, providing more savings than the cost of that loan.

          And, as for the final sentence, thank you.

          Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

          by A Siegel on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 03:23:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Can / should it be worked in here that the (4+ / 0-)

    money is to be invested in American industries and jobs, and not outsourced?

    •  Agreed ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cookiebear, Dallasdoc, Winnie

      somewhat implied ...

      • Much of energy efficiency and renewable energy work is required on-scene labor.  This is "jobs", in a local sense. Both 'white' and 'blue' collar employment.
      • To a certain extent, there is the issue/question of manufacturing jobs/equipment.  There is much relevant material that is made in the United States. But, there is also much that is made elsewhere.  Not sure whether it is appropriate to 'exclude' foreign content. (But, perhaps a (small) price preference for US equipment supplier (perhaps 5%), recognizing that US made equipment means jobs for American citizens?)

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 03:21:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This was my thought too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Karen Wehrstein, Winnie

      American contractors and suppliers (local content) should be specified, to help build domestic alternative energy industries.  This will have a strong multiplicative effect on job creation, and help domestic manufacturing.

      Two question for you, A Siegel:  will 10% funding be enough to incentivize localities, or do you see this as a nudge in the right direction?  And would you consider expanding LEBO to include bond specialist assistance for projects where seed money was not available for that year's budget?  Might be a way to expand the pool of projects you could start with this program.

      -4.50, -5.85 Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls. -- Rumi

      by Dallasdoc on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 04:42:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karen Wehrstein, cookiebear, A Siegel

    Best news of the day!

    "This is not a political problem, it's a social problem." -Deacon

    by jcrit on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 03:27:41 PM PST

  •  Eyes-glazing-over factor. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Karen Wehrstein, A Siegel

    Bonds and technical assistance are nebulous concepts to Joe Q. Public. I suggest putting an example in somewhere -- preferably near the beginning. Something like this:

    An example of what the Neighborhood Power Act would spark: The 100 homeowners in the Happy Acres subdivision would like to put a small hydroelectric generator in the dam that creates the pond in the middle of the subdivision. The Neighborhood Power Act would allow HUD to issue bonds that investors would buy. HUD would loan the money from the bond sales to the Happy Acres Homeowners Association, which would buy and install the hydro generator, and connect it to the power grid. The local power company would pay the Homeowners Association for all the resulting hydropower. The Homeowners Association would use the money from the power company to repay HUD, and the money left over would be distributed to the homeowners.

    Before HUD loaned the money, it would provide experts to be sure the hydro generator would produce enough revenue to repay the loan.

    Have I misunderstood how this would work? If so, that shows how badly you need an example.

    -4.25, -4.87 "If the truth were self-evident, there would be no need for eloquence." -- Cicero

    by HeyMikey on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 04:11:32 PM PST

    •  Intent ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, cookiebear, HeyMikey

      Is to have:

      • 1 page summary
      • 5-10 page supporting discussion -- with more detail and examples
      • Supporting material re framing, key issues from our perspective, key potential talking points, such

      Now, your point is an excellent one. My comment above is too defensive in terms of "oh we know that".  

      Need to step back and figure out how to include something (or somethings) that bring it to life even within a one-pager.  In terms of "substance", this probably works for immediate concern (send something to the Hill this week for discussion) but does not serve strongly enough to energize the 'average' person to demand that this becomes law of the land.

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 04:16:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  5-10 pager should have at least (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, mataliandy, HeyMikey, A Siegel

        two examples like this -- a sample energy-producing project, like this "Happy Acres" one, and a sample energy-efficiency one, about, say, converting all the public buildings in a town to LED lights.  We already kind of have one with the "EXIT" sign material.

        This comment also raises the concern that we should either a) make it clearer that the Act is about local governments working on their infrastructure or b) open it up to private interests like homeowners' groups.

        Or perhaps allow groups like that to get a NPA loan through town hall?

  •  NRDC's plan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiebear, A Siegel

    Includes "clean coal."

    There is no such thing. Coal is bloody and destructive from the moment that it comes out of the ground.

    Mountaintop removal(MTR) coal-mining has destroyed 750,000 ACRES of the Appalachians already. The EPA expects the practice to double in the next 10 years.

    MTR takes up to 1000 feet of vertical feet of local relief and BLASTS it away! THe most bio-diverse hardwood forests in the temperate world GONE.

    The waste/ruubble is then dumped into the adjacent river-vallys in what is called a "valleyfill."

    1200 miles of our streams are buried or polluted with lead, arsenic, selinium, mercury, and coal slurry, which someitmes sits in ponds permitted to hold BILLIONS of gallons of the toxic sludge.

    West Virginia has seen 90% job losses in coal jobs and the cost of Appalachian coal has DOUBLED in the last decade! How the FUCK are we going to keep using coal in Appalachia?

    The NRDC's "responsible" plan is bullshit, and they deserve to be called out on it.

    "If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide." Abe Lincoln

    by faithfull on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 04:18:01 PM PST

    •  Okay ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I agree that these other plans have combinations of interesting ideas and (sometimes severe) problems. I was really just wanting to highlight that we are aware of and have looked at (in various iterations) other plans/activities out there.  

      Have you worked through all of NRDC's proposals?

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 04:47:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        I've glanced it over, and while they do have plenty of great things to say, I've been trying to follow the Energize America plan more. My attention has been more on paying attention to federal policy regarding coal-to-liquids.

        "If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide." Abe Lincoln

        by faithfull on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 11:11:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Glad to see someone from the Appalachians on this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      topic to get a direct perspective on the impact of coalmining/coalfired electric grid that fires up Americas ipods.

      Will go and read your 2 diaries on mining that I missed last year. Adam is churning these diaries out about 2 a week, hope you will provide input to these.

      What do you think the chances are of people going up against big coal in the Appalachians?

      By the time the oceans take Manhattan it will be over with...

      by dotcommodity on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 07:11:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  nice! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karen Wehrstein, A Siegel

    i esp. like that you included what appears to me to be a provision for communities like mine (and, um, no, i haven't looked at numbers yet)

    it reads really well - i can't wait to see the final version

    What's for Dinner? every Saturday night 6 - 6:30ish

    by cookiebear on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 04:19:24 PM PST

  •  Truly excellent! Some ideas.... (4+ / 0-)

    to assist in communicating the message clearly, suggest you chop the title to simply 'Neighborhood Power Act of 2007', and add a 5-7 word catch phrase that summarizes the act, such as "Stimulating community-level energy efficiency investments" (or whatever).  Could also throw some other potential phrases out and see what sticks to the wall...."It's good for the 'hood"...."Power to the people".... yech...

    Question about the $200K / job figure, as that sounds WAY high to me.  There is some data out there about green job impact, which I thought we referenced in EA, but it must have been in the diaries...  Here is some research I came across in terms of the total impact of 100 new manufacturing jobs in a community, from a 1993 Illinois Chamber of Commerce study:

    • 415 more jobs
    • $12.7M more personal income annually
    • $5M more bank deposits
    • 7 additional retail establishments
    • $7.7M more retail sales
    • $540K increased tax revenue
    • $2M more service revenues

    I think it is reasonable to divide by 100 to extrapolate for a 'per job' impact.

    Here is another potential resource:  Renewables Work: Job Growth from Renewable Energy Development in the Mid-Atlantic which has lots of good nuggets.

    And this DoE link also has lots of good info, including a Job and Economic Impact Model.  

    Energize America: Demand Energy Security by 2020!

    by Doolittle Sothere on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 04:22:16 PM PST

  •  Combined heat and power (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mataliandy, Karen Wehrstein, A Siegel

    Development of residential systems that will both produce electricity and use the waste heat for hot water and space heating would be a good addition for neighborhood power.  

    The second law of thermodynamics says that burning natural gas is overkill to heat a house to 70 degrees.  Let's get some electric power out of the flame first, there's plenty of heat left over for the house.

    Combined Heat and Power

    Repeat after me, "The Repugnant party..."

    by Bronx59 on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 06:47:43 PM PST

  •  One page? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    Adam, this is great - however, it seems long to be classified as "1 page" for congressional review. It might fit on 2 pages, but the briefings I've seen have been very bullet-pointy and considerably simplified.

    But maybe you want to wait for feedback from your contacts on that sort of thing... great work though!

  •  Permanent Resource Mining Legislation: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    Adam, I missed your diary to reply in a timely way.

    Suggest that we add to The Neighbourhood Power Act that we must mine Permanent Resources first.

    So Massey, say, removing an Appalachian mountaintop for coal: once the mountaintop is removed, its usability as a wind resource is gone. So it is shortsighted economics to mine for coal where there is wind.

    Frame this as Temporary v Permanent Mining to clarify that economic mistake.

    Republican senators clearly have no trouble voting for dirty energy over clean, but I think they might not want to get on the wrong side of a purely economic argument, by voting for a merely temporary fortune over a permanent fortune...

    If that mountain has potential for windpower (as most of the unmined Appalachians do) then they must mine the permanent resource (wind) first, and install wind turbines.

    Rather than thinking along the lines of cap and trade, how about simply redefining mining to mean all-resource mining.

    Then legislate that you cannot mine impermanent resources if there are permanent resources there.

    Kind of force coal and oil mining businesses to become energy mining businesses. Permanent Mining should be just as lucrative as the current Temporary Mining once they bite the bullet and put up the turbines and panels etc.

    I don't know how to write legislation, just an idea.

    Include this in the Neighbourhood Power Act, so that a group of Appalachian homeowners say, could get preference in receiving a (Permanent)Wind Mining Permit over any entity wanting a merely temporary (coal) mining permit.

    And when do you plan on publishing your next installment? I'll be back then.

    By the time the oceans take Manhattan it will be over with...

    by dotcommodity on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 07:05:26 AM PST

    •  Couple points ... (0+ / 0-)
      1.  Check back over diaries rather often to see if someone signed in 'late'/responded to something.  No problem.
      1.  I do not think this act is the appropriate place to get into this issue.
      1.  Did you see Devilstower's proposed mountain-top removal draft legislation about six months ago? It was pretty good.

      One thing we -- as community -- need to figure out is how to (a) focus on interactions with hill while (b) stepping back and maintaining a holistic concept, even if we do not have 'sponsorship' for parts of that at this time.  This issue is one that, I think, falls into the second discussion.

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 11:03:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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