Who We Are

The Coalition for Green Capital (CGC), founded in 2009, developed a theory of change to address the climate crisis by using public and private partnerships to increase investments and accelerate the development of clean energy through a national green bank. 

When federal efforts to establish a national green bank fell short, CGC pivoted to supporting the development of state and local green banks across the country. Over the years, CGC has supported or created over 40 green banks, proving the effectiveness of public-private partnerships in driving clean energy development. To continue advocacy for a national green bank, CGC created the American Green Bank Consortium (AGBC) a network of green banks and other lending partners who have demonstrated the need for capital, technical expertise, and support at the local level to finance and deploy clean energy investments. Since 2011 the AGBC has collectively deployed $21.8 billion in clean energy investments.

Now, with seeding funding from the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, CGC’s vision to address climate change, reduce emissions, and develop an all-embracing green workforce through a national green bank is a reality. Their approach maximizes public investments, ecosystem development, and wealth building in disadvantaged communities to achieve a just and equitable green transition.

CGC History’s and Vision for a National Green Bank

Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) was co-founded by Reed Hundt and Ken Berlin in 2009 with a mission to halt climate change by accelerating investment in the clean power platform. Based on his experience overseeing the digital revolution as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, CGC’s co-founder Reed Hundt saw a massive opportunity to accelerate the clean energy transition by creating a national green bank. Set against the backdrop of the Great Recession of 2007 – 2009, CGC developed a theory of change to jump-start the stagnant economy and address the climate crisis at the same time by increasing investments and accelerating the construction of clean energy through a national green bank.

In 2009, CGC helped develop the Green Bank Act. This bill was the first of many legislative efforts to create a national green bank, though sadly, the national green bank’s time had not yet arrived. Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland introduced this bill with the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (“ACES”) to establish a national green bank, and it was one of the few elements of President Obama’s climate agenda with bipartisan support. Even so, ACES did not pass, and CGC pivoted to developing green banks at the state and local levels. CGC hypothesized that achieving state and local success would build a track record, make a difference in the fight against climate change, and make the eventual creation of a national green bank more likely.  As Justice Brandeis pointed out, in the same way that states are the laboratories of democracy, CGC hoped that state green banks would be laboratories of a national green bank. 

With this new approach, CGC found that clean energy finance and development were still relatively new in the public sector. The private sector didn’t want to fund smaller-scale investments and deemed them too risky. Additionally, the existing municipal and community development financial systems lacked the tools to accelerate the clean energy transition independently. CGC saw this as an opportunity to design a new approach centered on coalition building to develop public-private partnerships to combat climate change through clean energy development. 

Over the next decade, CGC led the green bank movement by supporting the creation of over 20 green banks and advancing the movement through policy advocacy, strategic development, and technical assistance. The first green banks in Connecticut, New York, and Michigan (founded by Secretary Granholm, by former Governor of Michigan) got off to a fast start and quickly began to prove that the green bank model of public-private investment could be a potent tool for an equitable transition. They learned how to fill gaps in clean energy markets, often developing innovative solutions to ensure disadvantaged communities were not left behind. Local green banks acted as incubators of financing solutions and demonstrated to private lenders their creditworthiness. CGC learned from the lessons of these early green banks and began teaching them to aspiring green bankers in other states, eventually building a large and diverse consortium of green banks capable of driving and sustaining a national movement.

CGC created the American Green Bank Consortium (AGBC) to expand and accelerate innovative clean energy investments across the United States. The AGBC partners are green banks, clean energy financing organizations, and community development financial institutions (CDFIs), sharing a similar mission and operating for the public benefit. As of 2024, the partners of AGBC have collectively deployed $21.8B in clean energy investments. They exist because there’s a need for capital, technical expertise, and support at the local level to finance and deploy clean energy investments. The consortium collaborates and co-invest with a variety of financial institutions – ranging from CDFIs, credit unions, and community banks to commercial and investment banks and private equity. Establishing a national green bank would allow CGC and the consortium to scale their impact nationwide and be a key player in a just and equitable transition from carbon to clean.

The First US National Green Bank

In January 2009, then Congressmen Chris Van Hollen and Ed Markey championed the capitalization of a national green bank with public capital. Never abandoning their commitment to this goal through multiple Congresses and in various legislative forms, these two leaders and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell crafted the provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act of August 2022 that created the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund  implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and help the U.S. reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
The GRRF consisted of three grant competitions, the $14-billion National Clean Investment Fund (NCIF), $6-billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator (CCIA), and the $7-billion Solar for All competitive grant program. Applicants submitted applications in October 2023 and award announcements were made in April 2024.
CGC’s applications were successfully selected for a total award of $5.1 billion in GGRF funding: $5 billion from the National Clean Investment Fund to establish the first US national green bank and $125 million from the Solar for All competition to accelerate solar through in North and South Dakota through green banks.
CGC’s national green bank will maximize the impact of every public dollar invested by attracting additional private capital and filling critical market gaps that can help accelerate the deployment of clean energy technology throughout the US while maintaining a targeted focus on low-income and disadvantaged communities. This means that the benefits of clean energy adoption like cost savings and new jobs can become accessible to everyone.