CGC’s State and Local Activity

In September 2013, CGC formed a California Green Bank Working Group. Through the Working Group, which included partners like EDF, NRDC, AEE, CGC completed due diligence through stakeholder interviews and research, and met with key government officials to educate them on the Green Bank concept. CGC also produced white papers and memos describing the impact a Green Bank could have across clean energy sectors. These steps led to the introduction of Green Bank legislation, Senate Bill 1121, by Senator Kevin de Leon in 2014.

As a result of this initiative, Governor Brown took executive action to directly create California’s version of a Green Bank, the California Lending for Energy and Environmental Needs (CLEEN) Center. The CLEEN Center sits within the state’s Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank, and uses existing and new funding sources to finance public and commercial clean energy projects. Since its creation has supported the CLEEN Center by sharing best practices from other Green Banks and connecting the CLEEN Center with the global Green Bank community. Through CGC support, the CLEEN Center presented at the OECD’s global Green Bank conference in Paris in June 2015, and has provided valuable content on its transactions to share through the Green Bank Network.

In early 2016 CGC began working in partnership with the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) to identify potential financing solutions and products that the office could deploy fairly quickly to maximize the value of existing available funds. As part of the project, CGC produced a review of the existing publicly-supported clean energy finance products, as well as the general clean energy market conditions. Then CGC reviewed a suite of clean energy finance products that have been deployed around the U.S, made specific recommendations on products suitable for Colorado, and laid out an implementation plan for tailoring those products to local market conditions. CGC continues to work with CEO staff on product design and deployment, as well as a potential exploration of broader Green Bank institutional creation.

At the beginning of 2017, CGC began work on an 18-month grant from the Department of Energy to explore the opportunity for a clean energy finance institution in Nevada. CGC’s is partnering with the Colorado Energy Office, the Missouri Division of Energy, and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) on this effort. As of July 2017, the project is wrapping up the market assessment piece, and will move towards stakeholder engagement in coming months.

CGC was a driving force for the creation of the first Green Bank in the nation. In 2011, newly elected Governor Dannel Malloy and energy commissioner Dan Esty wanted to move swiftly to increase clean energy investment. That sought out CGC’s expertise and know-how to design and implement their vision. CGC sent two staff members to Connecticut for six months, working with policymakers to design the new institution and craft legislation for legal creation. Legislation was passed with broad bi-partisan support 139-8 in the House and 36-0 in the Senate, officially creating the Connecticut Green Bank (then known as the Connecticut Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority).

Since that point, CGC has remained a close partner of the Connecticut Green Bank, working hand-in-hand to develop and expand the Green Bank concept. This includes directly supporting product and program design, regular strategy sessions to identify Green Bank market opportunities, and joint external engagement with global stakeholders eager to learn about the Green Bank’s success. The Connecticut Green Bank also co-hosted the Green Bank Academy. CGC’s CEO Reed Hundt is also the chair of the Green Bank’s Deployment Committee on the Board of Directors.

CGC, in partnership with C2ES and Capital-E, was awarded a contract with the District Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) to consider a number of innovative clean energy policy mechanisms. This included the creation of a District Green Bank. From 2015 to 2016, CGC worked with policymakers, existing institutions and market stakeholders to identify the potential need and opportunity for dedicated public financing entity. D.C. has very ambitious sustainability and clean energy goals, which CGC found would require over $1 billion of clean energy investment in the District. CGC also found that cost-effective distributed solar and efficiency opportunities were untapped. CGC put forward a set of recommendations for Green Bank creation, and a plan for how that Green Bank could coordinate with the existing and effective set of programs already in place. CGC then worked closely with the DOEE and the Mayor’s Office to develop Green Bank legislation that was later introduced as Green Finance Authority Establishment Act of 2017. If the bill is enacted into law, the new District of Columbia Green Bank would transform the clean energy landscape in D.C.
In 2012 CGC saw an opportunity to assist in the effort to establish a Hawaiian Green Bank. CGC flew two staffers to Hawaii during the spring of 2012 to promote the potential benefits of state Green Banks and discuss the progress being made in Connecticut. Later that year, the Hawaiian Government produced House Bill 1033, which laid the foundation for the creation of a state Green Bank, which would make low interest loans to eligible clean energy projects in the state of Hawaii. Although the legislation failed to pass the State Senate that year, CGC’s effort to introduce the Green Bank concept in Hawaii did not go unnoticed. In June of 2013, the Hawaiian legislature approved Hawaii’s Green Infrastructure Bill, which established the Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) Program to be overseen by the new Green Infrastructure Authority. GEMS used an innovative approach to raising $150 million for clean energy investment through state- bonds.
In the spring of 2014, the Maryland state legislature passed a bill, sponsored by then state-senator Brian Frosh, directing the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) to investigate the need and role of a Green Bank. CGC immediately reached out to MCEC to offer advisory and consulting support for its new study, as per the guidance of the bill. This led to a fruitful and on-going collaboration between CGC and MCEC, as both organizations seek out ways to increase clean energy investment through MCEC, while pushing for more robust and comprehensive state Green Bank action.

CGC served on the steering committee for the first phase of the Green Bank study, completed in December 2014. That study found that there were indeed financing gaps in the state’s clean energy market, and that the current set of public programs were insufficient to fill those gaps. With the support of the Town Creek Foundation, CGC worked with MCEC to conduct the second phase of work, which laid out a set of specific products and an institutional structure for a Maryland Green Bank. CGC led steering committee meetings to present findings of our market study and illicit feedback. CGC managed multiple stakeholder meetings and interviews to gather insights on what market actors needed from a Green Bank. And CGC identified both the funding sources and legal steps required for Green Bank creation. All of these findings were submitted to the state legislature in the Final Report in December 2015. This spurred legislation that would expand the scope and increase funding to MCEC to become the state’s Green Bank.

As part of the Hogan administration’s persistent efforts to turn Maryland from a clean energy leader into a laggard, he ensured the bill was converted into another study to assess MCEC’s role in the clean energy landscape of the state. MCEC has already proven itself to be the most effective driver of clean energy investment in the state, generating $37 million in total clean energy investment with only $3.44 million in public capital. And MCEC has now stood up a commercial PACE program, making itself the de facto state Green Bank. CGC and MCEC will continue to work together to use existing tools to drive clean energy investment, and look for future opportunities together.

After hearing from various stakeholders about interest in Green Banks in Massachusetts over the past several years, in 2017 CGC launched an effort to formally assess the Green Bank opportunity in the state. The work will consider the existing landscape of institutions, programs and funding to identify where and how a focused Green Bank entity might reside and what role it might play in the market. The goal of the work is to inform policymakers, legislators and market actors who see value in Green Bank exploration, and provide specific recommendations on Green Bank implementation.
CGC has been a policy and technical advisor to Montgomery County, Maryland since early 2015, when Councilman Roger Berliner first proposed creating a county Green Bank. Since then CGC has been a close partner to the Councilman to the Department of Environmental Protection, helping the county officially launch the Montgomery County Green Bank.

CGC’s role in the County has been extensive. CGC provided technical guidance to help draft legislation suitable for the County’s specific needs. The legislation that passed unanimously in the summer of 2015 called for two things: 1) the creation of a public working group to produce recommendations and guidance on Green Bank formation; and 2) a process by which the County government would officially designate a purpose-built private non-profit corporation to operate as the County’s Green Bank.

CGC played a leading role under both lines of work. CGC worked hand in hand with County staff to manage the working group process, and produce multiple reports and analyses to guide the group’s evaluation. Ultimately, CGC produced the final report that was submitted to the County Council on behalf of the working group.

In addition, CGC took the lead on behalf of the County to formally incorporate a non-profit entity to serve as the Green Bank. CGC then worked with County staff and selection committee to help select the first Board of Directors for the corporation and draft the bylaws. This led to the first official board meeting of the corporation, and the filing of the resolution with the County Council to officially designate the corporation as the County’s Green Bank. And on August 2, 2016, the County officially designated the corporation to serve as the County Green Bank. With this designation, the Montgomery County Green Bank can now raise funds, design programs, and ultimately receive approximately $20 million from a settlement payment owed to the County through the Exelon-Pepco merger.

CGC began working in Nevada in 2014, meeting with key stakeholders, legislators and policymakers to identify an opportunity for Green Bank exploration. During the 2015 legislative session, State Senator Pat Spearman sponsored SB 360 that directed the Interim Legislative Committee on Energy to complete a study of a Nevada Green Bank. The bill passed 32-9 in the Assembly and unanimously in the Senate.

CGC immediately stepped in to offer support on executing the study, working in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Energy to complete the analysis on behalf of the Interim Committee. This work was possible with the generous support of the Energy Foundation. Over the course of 8 months, CGC met in person and by phone with policymakers, clean energy advocates, the regulator, installers and others to understand the clean energy landscape in Nevada.

CGC testified multiple times to the Interim Committee on its findings, and ultimately produced a report and specific recommendations for how Nevada could establish and fund a Green Bank to catalyze greater clean energy deployment. CGC found the state had a strong record and objective of building a diverse, clean energy economy, but was lacking the capital and market support to achieve their goals. A Green Bank, focusing on lowering energy costs for business and households (especially with low-to-moderate income), could grow the state’s economy.

In addition to presenting and delivering this report to the Interim Committee, CGC was also invited to share its findings with the Governor’s New Industry Energy Task Force. Further consideration of a Green Bank was one of the initial policy recommendations put forward by the Task Force to the Governor.

Green Bank legislation was re-introduced in 2017. Due to the groundwork laid in previous years, the bill successfully passed the legislature, and was signed into law by Gov. Sandoval in June. The legislation directs the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy (GOE) to create an independent, nonprofit corporation named “the Nevada Clean Energy Fund.” CGC remains actively engaged in the state. In late July 2017, CGC will co-host a workshop with GOE and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to discuss the legislation and best practices for Nevada from other Green Banks.

In 2012 CGC, working in partnership with NRDC, engaged the New York Governor’s staff to support the creation of a state Green Bank. This effort culminated in the Governor’s announcement in January 2013 that New York would create its own $1 billion Green Bank. The Governor also appointed Richard Kauffman to be the state’s new Chairman of Energy & Finance, and he soon invited CGC to directly support the state’s creation of NY Green Bank.

In the summer of 2013, two CGC staff worked full-time in New York City, alongside the consultants of Booz & Co, to develop a business plan for NY Green Bank that could be submitted to the Department of Public Service to justify approval of funding. CGC’s work included reviewing and cataloguing all existing Green Banks around the world, analyzing funding and uses for all existing state rebate programs, and building a financial model of a portfolio of Green Bank financing products. All of this work was integrated into the final report, submitted to the regulator, and spurred the approval of the first tranche of over a $100 million in funding got NY Green Bank. With that ruling, the New York Green Bank was officially underway.

In 2015, CGC began working in partnership with the Pennsylvania Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and with the support of state officials to produce two reports for Pennsylvania. The first report, the Pennsylvania Clean Energy Market Report, maps out existing programs and policies in the clean energy space, sizes the potential market for various clean energy technologies and identifies clean energy market gaps. The second report, the Pennsylvania Energy Investment Partnership Report, explores possible Green Bank (or “Energy Investment Partnership”) structures as well as a set of financing solutions and products that a Green Bank could use to animate more clean energy market activity in Pennsylvania. CGC’s work with TNC in Pennsylvania is ongoing.
In the fall of 2014, Rhode Island elected a new Governor, Gina Raimondo, and Treasurer, Seth Magaziner. Both ran on a platform of creating a new state Green Bank, modelled on Connecticut’s to spur clean infrastructure investment in the state. Soon CGC began working with the Treasurer’s office, tasked with directing the Green Bank creation process, to share best practices and help outline legislative structures for a coming bill. This included sharing know-how around PACE statutes and programs, as well as funding mechanisms for a Green Bank. In summer 2015, Rhode Island passed legislation with bi-partisan support to create the new Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank (RIIB), expanding the existing quasi-public Clean Water Finance Authority to also finance clean energy.

CGC then began working directly with the staff of the new RIIB. This included strategic guidance on program prioritization and design, input on coordination processes with other related state energy programs, and best practices on pursuing federal funding sources. CGC also help identify and vet potential partners for a new statewide commercial PACE financing program the RIIB was tasked with creating. CGC remains a close working partner of the RIIB.

CGC began working on Green Bank development in Vermont in September 2014, partnering with the Energy Action Network (EAN) to make the case that more investment and new public-private partnership structures are needed. CGC and EAN together formed a Clean Energy Finance Initiative, and delivered market analyses and Green Bank product and organization recommendations to our project Steering Committee. This Committee included the State Treasurer, Secretary of Commerce, the Vermont Economic Development Agency, the Public Service Department, Efficiency Vermont, the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation and others. Through this work, CGC has become a trusted thought partner on many aspects of Vermont clean energy policy.

Our work found over $33 billion of clean energy investment is needed in Vermont to meet the market opportunity and achieve ambitious targets. The Steering Committee recognized the significant shortfall and need for greater private sector leverage, based on this work. The first outcome of this Initiative was the formation of a new Clean Energy Finance Collaborative, housed within the state’s Public Service Department. The Collaborative will align and coordinate existing programs and resources that currently exist across a number of public and quasi-public entities. This is a good first step towards increased overall clean energy investment, and CGC continues to work with EAN on further development of new finance approaches and capital investment.

In 2014, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe convened a new Climate Change and Resiliency Commission, seeking recommendations from a group of experts on ways the Governor’s office could reduce the risk of climate change to the state. CGC worked in partnership with NRDC, which was represented on the Commission’s Funding Working Group, to develop a proposal for a climate and resiliency-focused Green Bank suited to the specific needs and conditions for Virginia. The proposed structure, called the New Virginia Bank for Energy and Resilience, would draw upon existing resourced and tap into unused federal funding to drive more private investment in resilient and clean energy.

The proposal was selected as the number one recommendation of the Funding Working Group. It was then selected by the entire Commission as one of the top five recommendations to be advanced directly to the Governor through the formal Commission Report. By borrowing the lessons learned and best practices of other operating Green Banks, Virginia can help drive greater investment in clean energy.