Feb. 3, 2021

Would create 4M good-paying jobs, $21B in projects ready to go

Passed by House twice in 2020; included in Biden Climate Plan 

WASHINGTON—As 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.) reintroduced the Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator Act with $100 billion of funding, the Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) today urged Congress to pass the legislation as part of its COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts. Independent economic analyses have found that the Accelerator would create approximately 4 million jobs in four years and speed up the country’s decarbonization efforts. 

“During the last decade, the green bank model has proven to have an outsized impact in states, creating good-paying jobs and decarbonizing the economy. Now we need to replicate this model at the federal level to meet the urgent economic and climate challenges before our country,” CGC CEO Reed Hundt said. “With continued support from Sen. Van Hollen and Sen. Markey in the Senate and leadership from Rep. Dingell in the House, the bill passed the House twice last year. We are confident with their continued leadership we will get it passed by both chambers and signed by the president in 2021.”

“The Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator will be a critical catalyst for creating good jobs and increasing our health, wealth, safety and competitiveness. With a mandate to focus on underserved communities of color and the just transition for fossil fuel communities and workers, it’s a tool for moving small towns, suburbs and cities forward together,” said Doug Sims, Director of NRDC’s Green Finance Center.

“Clean energy is our future and I’m proud to see continued leadership from Michigan’s Rep. Dingell to make it a priority,” said Mary Templeton, president and CEO of Michigan Saves, the nation’s first nonprofit green bank. “Our organization works hard to make sure everyone—no exceptions— has access to the benefits of energy efficient improvements so I’m very pleased to see considerable focus on underserved communities facing climate impacts.”

The nonprofit Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator would use the proven green bank model to fund clean energy and climate-related projects. A $100 billion capitalization from Congress will drive nearly $500B of total investment with private co-investment and create nearly 4 million jobs in 4 years. Forty percent of the funds must go to communities disproportionately affected by environmental pollution, climate change impacts or economically reliant on a fossil fuel-based industry. 

Authorized projects include renewable power, building efficiency, grid infrastructure like transmission, industrial decarbonization, clean transportation, reforestation and climate-resilient infrastructure. Because the dollars are repaid over time, they can be recycled to make additional investments in the future. 

Yesterday, the National Academies of Science 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 an Accelerator that would help achieve the decarbonization and ESG goals discussed above while also helping to create and fund state and local green banks like the one outlined in today’s reports. 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.

With 16 million Americans still receiving unemployment benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic and studies showing that up to 42 percent of those jobs will not return, Congress must urgently make long term investments that create jobs and build a cleaner future.


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