The Green Bank Act of 2016 was introduced in the Senate today by Senators Murphy (CT), Blumenthal (CT), and Whitehouse (RI). The Act would create a $50 billion national Green Bank that would provide capital to state and local Green Banks to finance clean energy projects that save money for consumers and businesses. The national Green Bank would enable the creation of locally-focused Green Banks to drive private investment, lower energy costs and create jobs. There is companion legislation in the House. More details can be found in our review of the legislation.
The Green Bank model has been tremendously successful in states like NY, CT, and RI. The Connecticut Green Bank has leveraged more than $800 million in clean energy investments since it was founded in 2011. The NY Green Bank has supported more than $518 million in clean energy investments, and has more than $500 million in its active pipeline. The Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, a relatively recent entrant into the Green Bank scene, has already sparked $17.2 million in clean energy investments and has launched a statewide commercial PACE program. Many more states have similar clean energy financing institutions, or are in the process of creating them.
The national Green Bank is designed to spark more state and local efforts. It would capitalize new Green Banks, alleviating the financial pain felt by governments all over America who see the value in the Green Bank model but lack funding to launch a new entity. And it would allow the existing Green Banks to multiply their impact many times over.
Looking forward to 2017, Green Banks clearly have a role to play in delivering the infrastructure growth that both parties have focused on this election. CGC has written on how a federal Green Bank compliments other infrastructure policies like a national infrastructure bank.