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Retrofit Buildings to Create Green Jobs: Podesta

Monday, 10 Aug 2009 | 12:24 PM ET

Retrofitting 50 million buildings in the United Staets, about 40 percent of the building stock, by 2020 to make them energy efficient would create 625,000 permanent jobs, John Podesta, CEO of the Center for American Progress, told CNBC.

Spotlight on Clean Energy Jobs
The nation's biggest names in clean energy are in Las Vegas for the annual National Clean Energy Summit, and the topic on tap this year is jobs. John Podesta, CEO of the Center for American Progress, shares his insight.

“There’s probably a $500 billion investment that’s needed, but the vast majority has to come from the private sector,” Podesta added. “The government has a role to play in orienting policy toward getting the financing right.”

To see through this robust retrofitting plan, Podesta endorsed the establishment of a “Green Bank” – formally called the Clean Energy Deployment Administration – within the Energy Department. Legislation to create such an agency is currently before the Senate. The agency would provide businesses with incentives in the form of loans and loan guarantees to invest in clean energy technologies.

“I don’t really see this as being a permanent instrument or a permanent feature of US policy but one that needs to kick start the jobs and the investment and to leverage private sector money," said Podesta, a former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton.

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