CGC Submits Comments, Announces Green Bank Exploration in North Carolina

Press Release: Sept. 9, 2019.

The Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) today submitted comments to North Carolina’s draft Clean Energy Plan in support of the establishment of a North Carolina Clean Energy Fund, and announced a partnership with the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University to explore the creation and design of this institution around the Green Bank model.

Green Bank institutions may be referred to by various names, but share a set of characteristics including the mobilization of private investment through the provision of low-cost financing. North Carolina presents an exciting opportunity further exploration. The current draft of the state’s Clean Energy Plan, released in August, includes a recommendation from key stakeholders to “develop a green energy bank or statewide clean energy fund to catalyze the development and expansion of clean energy markets by connecting private capital with clean energy projects.” It calls on nonprofits, academia, and local government to determine how a North Carolina Clean Energy Fund could be established.

Responding to this call, CGC and the Nicholas Institute will work with local market participants and other stakeholders to identify the leading market gaps where a Clean Energy Fund could catalyze clean energy growth in the state. As CGC’s comments explain in further detail, a nonprofit approach may be a good fit for North Carolina. States such as Colorado and Michigan have opted to form their Green Banks as nonprofit entities to enable a faster creation process and greater flexibility in the sources of capital.

A Clean Energy Fund in North Carolina could play a key role in achieving the goals of Executive Order 80, issued by Gov. Roy Cooper in 2018, which pledges to reduce North Carolina’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 2005 levels. Several cities in the state—including Asheville, Charlotte, and Wilmington—have adopted even more aggressive clean energy goals.

CGC Director of Market Development Jill Bunting said: “CGC has been working for over a year with stakeholders to understand the potential role and pathway for a Clean Energy Fund in North Carolina, and is proud to begin a formal analysis of this opportunity in partnership with an in-state expert such as the Nicholas Institute.”

The partnership with CGC is the latest example of the Nicholas Institute sharing its policy expertise to support the goals of Executive Order 80. Nicholas Institute professionals are also advising state agencies in the development of key EO80 strategic plans, including the Clean Energy Plan, the North Carolina Energy Efficiency Roadmap, the Zero Emission Vehicles Plan and the Climate Risk Assessment and Resiliency Plan.

“Our goal at the Nicholas Institute is to deliver fact-based solutions and informed guidance to decision makers. A statewide clean energy fund, or green bank, provides a great opportunity to catalyze clean energy and energy efficiency investment in the state,” said Jennifer Weiss, senior policy associate at the Nicholas Institute. “We are excited to work with the experts at CGC to assess the potential of a Clean Energy Fund for North Carolina.”

The output of this work will be a public report identifying the market needs, priority investment opportunities, and proposed first solutions for a North Carolina Clean Energy Fund. A formal project kickoff is expected to be planned for later this fall, with a public report expected in the first half of 2020.

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About CGC

The Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) is a non-profit organization focused on accelerating the growth of clean energy markets through the creation of Green Banks. CGC offers a unique and proven capacity as the leading creator, advocate, and expert on Green Banks since 2009 and works directly to support the formation of Green Banks with governmental and civil society partners, and provide on-going consulting and guidance to operating Green Banks. For more information visit coalitionforgreencapital.com/.

About the Nicholas Institute

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University helps decision makers create timely, effective and economically practical solutions to the world’s critical environmental challenges. Through its five programs, the Nicholas Institute mobilizes objective, rigorous research to confront the climate crisis, clarify the economics of limiting carbon pollution, harness emerging environmental markets, put the value of nature’s benefits on the balance sheet, develop adaptive water management approaches and identify other strategies to attain community resilience.

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