Green Banks, Green Funds and fellow green finance practitioners from around the globe gathered in Shanghai, China on November 29 for the sixth annual Green Bank Congress. Representatives from Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Australia), Green Investment Group, Connecticut Green Bank, Green Finance Organization Japan, Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, Green Tech Malaysia and many more gathered for the annual event to discuss their latest deals, innovative financing techniques and various approaches to mobilizing private investment in green infrastructure.
Founding members of the Green Bank Network announced that they have collectively closed transactions of over US$11 billion that are expected to mobilize a total of US$41 billion in public and private capital for green infrastructure projects around the globe, effectively meeting their goal of US$40 billion by 2019 ahead of schedule.
The event included a number of emerging market representatives exploring Green Bank creation (through new or existing institutions) including speakers from China, South Africa, Indonesia, Chile, Mexico, India and Mongolia.
It was announced that a new Climate Finance Facility (CFF) has been formed in Southern Africa demonstrating a first-of-its kind, path-breaking application of the Green Bank model, adapted for emerging market conditions. The CFF received approval for capitalization from the Green Climate Fund in October 2018, and the Shanghai Congress was the first international forum to showcase the CFF since its successful approval.
Discussion themes at the Shanghai Green Bank Congress covered a wide range including Green Bank design, creation and successful on-going operation. A plenary session of major Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) discussed new ways to move “from lender to catalyzer” and mobilize private sector investment in green projects. One theme that emerged in the DFI discussion was partnering with local, country-level green intermediaries (such as Green Banks, Climate Finance Facilities, Strategic Green Investment Funds or similar) that carry mandates to crowd in private investment.
Rocky Mountain Institute, CGC, NRDC, Climate Policy Initiative and partners announced a new event for the coming year. In March 2019 a consortium of partners will organize the “Green Bank Design Summit” a hands-on, invitation-only workshop focused on designing, capitalizing and operating Green Banks in emerging markets. The event will be sponsored by AFD, ClimateWorks Foundation, the Green Climate Fund and others.
Additional panel sessions focused on Green Bank “tools of the trade” and successful techniques of existing Green Banks for mobilizing private co-investors, particularly in projects that may be first-of-a-kind, or under new regulatory structures. Speakers highlighted successful interventions in markets including energy efficiency, biogas, wind and solar, as well as emerging sectors such as electric mobility, adaptation, water, energy storage, or co-located clean energy projects with merchant or other kinds of offtaker risks.
The 2018 Green Bank Congress in Shanghai was an excellent opportunity for Green Banks and other green finance practitioners to gather and discuss new and existing models from mobilizing investment into green projects. Heading into the discussions of COP24, the investment gap to meet a 2 degree target is clearer than ever. While commitments made under the Paris Agreement are made by governments, there is widespread agreement that it will take a massive injection of private sector capital to deliver on those commitments. National Green Banks, empowered with patient capital and blended finance tools focused on mobilizing the private se ctor, will be a key part of achieving those goals.