Government Relations & Lobbying
Here's what would have been lost had the appropriations bills become law:
Our Most Recent Success
On September 8, President Trump signed a hurricane relief, debt limit increase, and continuing resolution bill that had passed the the U.S. House of Representatives that morning and the U.S. Senate the day before. The second paragraph of the continuing resolution, shown to the right (lines 13 and 14, highlighted in yellow), includes language specifically stating that the direct loans and loan guarantees for the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Energy (DOE) shall continue to operate under the authorities and conditions under which these programs operated in 2017.
This language was included as a direct result of the efforts expended by RECS Managing Director Craig Evans and RECS staff. The effort involved a RECS client with access to the White House and RECS partner Mark J. Riedy, who established and co-leads the 80-attorney Energy Team of the Kilpatrick Townsend law firm.
These programs would have come to an abrupt halt on September 30 without the intervention by RECS. Elimination of the programs had been announced by the Trump Administration in March and had been excluded in the President's Budget sent to Congress in May as part of a fossil-fuels-first approach and a desire to roll back environmental, renewable energy and climate change programs. Congress followed suit and eliminated funding for the programs in the fiscal year 2018 appropriation bills that passed the House and were reported out of committee by the Senate in July.
Because of the strong resistance to renewable energy programs, Evans worked through a sister organization, America First Energy Consulting Services, to avoid having his association with renewable energy interfere with his ability to communicate how much capital investment and jobs were at stake.
RECS was retained to intervene at the end of July. No one impacted by the loss of these programs as a result of the passage and markup of these bills had come forward forcefully enough to make saving the programs a priority for Members of Congress. Consequently, no one had succeeded in amending the bills that were moving forward that would eliminate these programs and divert their funding elsewhere.
RECS, however, did succeed. The programs that were saved are:
-- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Title 17 Loan Guarantee Program which provides financing for first-of-a-kind technologies that cannot be financed through the private sector due to their high risk;
-- DOE's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) direct loan program, which provided the initial funding for Elon Musk to build the Tesla S;
-- The two DOE programs have more than 70 projects under review;
-- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Section 9003 Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program which, like DOE's Title 17 program, provides financing for first-of-a-kind technologies with a focus on facilities that are built in rural areas; there are 16 projects in Part 2 of the Section 9003 review process;
-- The USDA's Section 9007 Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP)which provides grants and loan guarantees to make installations of money-saving energy production and energy efficiency systems more accessible and affordable for farmers, rural businesses and rural residents; Section 9007 has 661 pending grant applications, 1,132 projects approved to receive awards, and 89 guaranteed loan applications under review. While the USDA's career staff has been working overtime to get as many of the Section 9003 and 9007 projects as possible across the finish line prior to September 30, they point out that an equal or greater number of projects for which companies across the U.S. already have made investments and were planning to submit applications in fiscal year 2018 would not have been able to go forward.
The losses would not have stopped there.
The reprieve provided by the continuing resolution is only temporary.
-- More than 1,950 projects would have been lost, in which companies have invested years of work and millions of dollars, that were progressing through review, going to closing, and getting ready to be built in almost every state
-- More than $50 billion in capital investments would not have been made,since these are not projects that the private sector can do or do better; the DOE and USDA programs were established because the private sector will not finance projects that have a high risk of failure due to the use of something that is brand new, unproven and never done before at commercial scale
-- More than 170,000 construction jobs would have never have materialized, and
-- More than 300,000 permanent jobs would never have been created.
-- According to a June 2017 update to the Loan Program Office (LPO) Financial Performance Report,the Title 17 and ATVM programs have returned $250 million per year – almost $2 billion in total – in interest payments in the eight years since the first loan closing in 2009. Moreover, the LPO Financial Performance Report shows the Title 17 and ATVM programs have a loss rate of only 2.22% – which Goldman Sachs and most commercial banks would love to claim – despite well-publicized losses such as Solyndra.
-- The Title 17 loan guarantee program costs only a fraction of what other departments of similar size within DOE cost to operate. That’s because the bulk of the administrative costs necessary to operate the Title 17 program -- $37 million per year -- are paid by the companies that submit applications.
-- The USDA Section 9003 and 9007 programs also more than pay for themselves, leveraging each federal dollar invested by at least 1:5 to 1:10, spawning additional projects funded entirely by the private sector, creating jobs and economic growth in the nation’s rural communities, supporting projects that otherwise would not be built that, in turn, generate the economic growth and local tax revenues that pay for schools and public services in the communities where they will be located, and return revenues to the U.S. Treasury through annual interest payments.
Renewable Energy Consulting Services "RECS Our Team"
Here's what else would have been lost had the appropriation bills become law:
-- Career staff at DOE and USDA would have been lost who have guided these programs through their incubation and growing pains and have dedicated years of service; moreover, they would have been terminated on September 30, without any phase out or transition.
-- All their institutional knowledge about what works and what doesn't work would have been lost, along with their experience in vetting projects and recongnizing which ones represent the best value for the American taxpayer;
-- The way in which these programs “power new markets” and serve as “portfolio incubators” for additional, follow-on projects financed by the private sector would have been lost. For example, prior to 2010, there were no utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar projects in the U.S. In 2011, DOE's Loan Program Office (LPO) issued loan guarantees for the first five projects of this kind. Since then, an additional 28 utility-scale PV projects have been financed without DOE loan guarantees, bringing the total to 45 utility-scale PV projects with a combined generating capacity of 9,479 MW and thousands of good-paying infrastructure jobs, according to an October 2016 slide presentation prepared by the LPO. Moreover, the slide presentation states, “As deployment of utility-scale PV solar has increased, delivered costs to consumers has decreased by more than 60 percent. The cost decreases are a significant factor in increasing future deployments, and LPO funding the first 5 projects played a big role in accelerating those cost reductions.”
-- The economic growth and local tax revenues that would be generated by these projects to pay for schools and public services in the communities where the projects are to be located would have been lost; and
-- The revenues created for the U.S. Treasury through the interest payments and fees generated by these programs would have been lost. The great irony in the move by the Administration and Congress to eliminate these programs is that, unlike most government programs, they more than pay for themselves. In fact, every $1 diverted to other programs in the House and Senate appropriations bills would have cost the federal government $11. This is because:
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Renewable Energy Consulting Services LLC
The continuing resolution signed into law on September 8 continues government operations for three months, until December 8. On December 8, the U.S. Congress must pass spending bills for fiscal year 2018 to keep the government operating. The spending bills most likely will be combined into a single omnibus spending bill that will be passed in by the House and Senate early in December. Between now and December 8, it is going to be imperative to advocate for restoring funding for the DOE and USDA direct loan and loan guarantee programs. The FY2018 spending bills still eliminate the programs and direct their funding elsewhere.
-- Renewable Energy Consulting Service's (RECS's) Managing Director has been active in federal agency and lobbying activities for over 35 years.
Other RECS team members :
-- Have decades-long relationships with state and federal agencies and the people who run them
-- Are former staff to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives,
-- Are former staff at the Office of Management and Budget, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. departments of agriculture, energy, interior, and defense.
-- These team members have worked successfully on legislation to benefit conservation, the environment, and renewable energy at the state and federal levels.
We are ready to put our expertise and contacts to work for you.
Government Relations & Lobbying
We will be happy to let you know what you can do to support these programs and ensure their funding continues. For information on what you can do Contact Us.