Van Hollen Introduces Home Energy Revolving, Green Bank Bills

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), assistant to the Speaker, introduced the National Home Energy Savings Revolving Fund Act on March 17 and the Green Bank Act of 2009 on March 24.

The Home Energy Savings Revolving Fund would enable more than 1 million households to achieve significant, cost-effective energy savings, according to Hollen's press release. The legislation would create a fund local governments could use for zero-interest loans to homeowners for certified home energy savings improvements. The loans would be paid back at a net savings to participating homeowners through their property taxes.

The fund would be administered by the Department of Energy and would be capitalized in two $5 billion increments over 2010 and 2011.

The secretary of energy would need to develop an application local governments can use to access monies available in the fund to provide homeowners with up to $10,000 in zero-interest loans to finance qualified home energy audits and certified home energy savings improvements, as developed by the secretary in consultation with the State Energy Advisory Board.

Participating local governments would need to establish a method by which homeowners can repay their loans through their property taxes with payback periods that ensure that aggregate savings participating homeowners achieve through certified home energy savings improvements exceed their annual repayment costs, up to a maximum loan term of 15 years.

The Green Bank bill would create an independent, tax-exempt, wholly owned corporation of the United States. Its mission would be to provide a comprehensive range of financing support to qualified clean energy and energy efficiency projects within the territorial United States.

Initial capitalization for the Green Bank would be $10 billion through the issuance of Green Bonds by the Department of Treasury, with a maximum authorized limit of $50 billion in Green Bonds outstanding at any one time.

The bill includes robust spending safeguards and public disclosure requirements to ensure that the Green Bank operates at the highest levels of efficacy, accountability, and transparency.