WASHINGTON—The U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee has included $100 billion in its comprehensive CLEAN Future Act to start the nonprofit Clean Energy & Sustainability Accelerator. The nonprofit would use the proven green bank model to fund clean energy and climate-related projects to create more than 4 million jobs in the next four years and speed up the country’s decarbonization efforts.
Climate provisions are expected to be front and center in the upcoming infrastructure bill Congress and President Biden will turn to once it passes the COVID-19 relief bill.
“There is simply no better model that has been proven to quickly deploy commercially viable clean energy technology and put people to work. Scaling the green bank model that we have seen work in blue and red states during the last decade will accelerate our economic recovery and decarbonization efforts,” CGC Executive Director Jeffrey Schub said. “We applaud Chairman Pallone for including this in his bill, and we urge members of both parties in both chambers to work for its passage.”
A $100 billion capitalization from Congress will drive nearly $500B of total investment with private co-investment. Forty percent of the funds will go to communities disproportionately affected by environmental pollution, climate change impacts or economically reliant on a fossil fuel-based industry.
Since Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) introduced S. 283 and H.R. 806, they have gained Republican support in the House from Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and additional support in the Senate from Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
The National Academies of Science has recommended that Congress fund an institution based on the green bank model. In its report, it wrote, “Private sources of capital are unlikely to be sufficient to finance the low-carbon economic transition, especially during the 2020s when the effort is new. To ensure industrial competitiveness and quality of life, the United States should establish a Green Bank to mobilize finance for low-carbon infrastructure and business in America.”
In January, two independent reports by the Analysis Group and The Brattle Group found that a national Clean Energy Accelerator would have an outsized impact helping the United States recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and also speed up the country’s deep decarbonization and Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) efforts.
Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives twice passed funding for the nonprofit accelerator that would help achieve the decarbonization and ESG goals discussed above while also helping to create and fund state and local green banks. President-elect Joe Biden included the Accelerator in his climate plan and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris backed the Senate effort. In 2020, nearly 100 organizations sent a letter to Congressional leaders backing the effort.
Green banks currently exist in over 14 cities and states across the country and have supported over $5 billion in investment in clean energy projects in their states and local communities, and much of this investment has been targeted toward low- and moderate-income households and communities. View a list of projects that have been supported by already existing state and local green banks.