CGC’s State and Local Activity
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.