Read Professor Tice’s opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal here.
Clean Energy Accelerator Would Build on Bipartisan Successes Modeled By States
By Richard Kauffman
NYU Adjunct Professor Paul Tice correctly points out (May 23, 2021, WSJ) that “not enough attention is being paid to some of the details” of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. Then, ironically, he gets wrong at least four major details of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator, a key part of the President’s plan.
The Accelerator would be an independent nonprofit that received up to $100 billion in a single-shot deposit of capital. It in turn would fund 21 existing nonprofit “green banks” in 15 states, as well as new green banks in other states. Over the last decade state green banks have leveraged $2 billion of public dollars with $6 billion of private capital into $8 billion of public-private investment into profitable clean energy infrastructure. My personal experience with this development was as founder of the New York Green Bank (NYGB), which has made half the investment made by all green banks and on which the Accelerator is modeled.
Professor Tice’s first error is the claim that there “is no pressing financial market gap.” The New York Green Bank’s $1.2 billion in capital commitments is evidence that market gaps exist. Private sector companies see palpable gaps in financing for smaller distributed energy projects, for solar, energy efficiency and storage projects. The fact that the New York Green Bank charges market rates for its loans demonstrates that private lenders aren’t generally doing the job.
Tice’s second mistake is to criticize the Accelerator for having the flexibility to offer in a variety of financial techniques, including different debt instruments and guarantees. It is this very flexibility that has enabled the New York Green Bank to adapt to ever changing gaps in private sector financing markets. In contrast to private lenders, green banks are willing to put in the time to incubate financing structures where gaps exist. However, once at scale, private sector entities have taken over opportunities. Community solar was once seen as too small and risky for private lenders. Thanks to green banks, this is no longer the case.
Tice’s third mistake on details is that he thinks the Accelerator’s borrowing on the deposited public capital would be backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. He links the Accelerator to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac where there was an implied federal guarantee. The Accelerator bill in the House makes it clear that the Accelerator is independent of government, governed not by federal employees but an independent board, precisely to be sure no one in business would make the professor’s blunder of considering Accelerator borrowing to carry a federal guarantee.
Tice’s fourth mistake is to claim the Accelerator is only a Democratic Party idea. In states where green banks already exist they typically are bipartisan. In recent weeks, Alaska has proposed its own state bank. The Accelerator bill in the House has bipartisan support.
Justice Brandeis called states the laboratories of democracy. State green banks have been laboratories of clean energy finance for a decade. They work. They harness markets and create jobs as well as reduce carbon emissions. They help build resilient infrastructure. They help ensure that the benefits of energy transition are shared by everyone. It’s time to take the idea nationally to give every state their benefit.
Coalition for Green Capital and Rewiring America Outline “Rewiring Communities” Program That Leverages Green Bank Model to Ensure Communities Everywhere Benefit
Over 90% of Program Funds Would Benefit Low- and Moderate-Income Households
WASHINGTON—A new report released today by the Coalition for Green Capital, which is driving the campaign for the national green bank that’s backed by both President Biden and leaders in Congress, and Rewiring America, a leading advocate of decarbonization through electrification, finds a national green bank would create 700,000 new jobs and drive energy savings for 12 million American households by 2030. Critically, the report, “Rewiring Communities,” lays out a specific plan for more than 90% of green bank funds to benefit low- and moderate-income households, bringing the economic, environmental and health benefits of electrification to families who need them most.
The White House today issued a fact sheet on the administration’s commitment to creating good-paying, union jobs in building electrification and energy efficiency, citing Rewiring Communities and the impact of the Clean Energy Accelerator as laid out in the plan.
Rewiring Communities “has the potential between now and 2030 to secure energy bill savings of up to $750 per year for nearly 12 million American households,” of which 75 percent are low- and moderate-income, and “at the same time creating over nearly 700,000 jobs and driving down household greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 40 megatons a year.”
“Few people spend much time thinking about the heating equipment in their basements. That’s probably as it should be, but it comes at a cost, both to them and to the climate,” said Adam Zurofsky, senior policy advisor for Rewiring America. “What this plan shows is that if we meet people where they are, team up with trusted local partners, and deploy financial flexibility, we can deliver meaningful savings and job opportunities to those families who are hurting the most, all the while slashing emissions and putting the United States on the path to meeting the ambitious, but necessary, climate goals set by President Biden.”
“Twenty-one state and local green banks have used less than $2 billion in public funds to cause over $7 billion of investment,” said Jeffrey Schub, executive director of the Coalition for Green Capital. “Many green banks already target their investments for disadvantaged communities. The Accelerator as a national green bank would similarly be empowered to target investments for communities most in need. It will have the flexibility to pilot innovative approaches, and this report shows what can be done in the household electrification market if Congress passes this bipartisan Accelerator legislation.”
The report specifically evaluates the benefits of household electrification for low-income families, and proposes a programmatic approach to deploy capital through the Accelerator in partnership with participating communities to support up to 12 million projects. Accelerator capital would join up with private co-investment to support local employment, help form new business capacity, and install necessary electrical equipment that will reduce the heavy energy cost and health burdens faced by many low-income homes in America currently relying on fossil fuels.
The plan also calls for communities to work in partnership to streamline processes and engage with households “at the kitchen table.” Under the plan, no household would have to come “out of pocket” to realize the economic, environmental, and health benefits of electrification.
Read the full report and fact sheet here.
About Rewiring America
Rewiring America (@RewiringAmerica) is a growing nonprofit, working to launch a movement that electrifies everything, starting with our 121 million households. We are motivated by this: 90 percent of all emissions in the U.S. are energy related and 42 percent of those energy emissions come from the decisions we make in our homes: how we heat our air and water, cook our food and dry our clothes, and what kind of cars we drive. Through accurate, accessible, and actionable data and storytelling tools and smart and inclusive advocacy and partnerships that will transform the market, Rewiring America aims to achieve America’s emissions goals, improve our health, lower monthly bills, and create millions of clean energy jobs.
About the Coalition for Green Capital
The Coalition for Green Capital (@CGreenCapital) is a non-profit with a mission to halt climate change by accelerating investment in clean energy technologies and by advocating for, creating and implementing green bank institutions. Green banks are a proven finance model that uses public and philanthropic funds to mobilize private investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and other decarbonization technologies. For over a decade, the Coalition for Green Capital has led the Green Bank movement, working at the federal, state and local level in the U.S. and in countries around the world.
Shows $1.69 billion total investment in clean energy and energy-efficient projects in 2020 alone
5 new green banks join Consortium as efforts to develop more green banks amass across 22 states
WASHINGTON—The Coalition for Green Capital and all twenty-one members of the American Green Bank Consortium released today their annual Green Bank Industry Report for the 2020 calendar year.
“Green banks drove a record amount of clean energy investment in 2020, mobilizing $1.69 billion of total investment with $442 million of green bank funds; in total, this brings cumulative green bank investment to $7 billion using $1.9 billion green bank funds,” the report found.
In 2020, the American Green Bank Consortium counted five new green banks as members and noted that government officials, local leaders, and market actors across 22 states were actively exploring or taking steps to develop green banks.
“Green banks have proven over the course of the last decade that they create jobs, serve disadvantaged communities, and combat the climate crisis,” said American Green Bank Consortium Director Alex Kragie. “Every public dollar is an important investment on these fronts, and green banks get substantial bang for the buck by unlocking multiples of every public dollar in private investment.”
“As Congress considers infrastructure legislation this summer, green banks in the U.S. are making a clear case for the inclusion of a federal Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator that can bring green bank impact to scale across the country,” said Coalition for Green Capital Executive Director Jeffrey Schub. “A national green bank is a major part of the solution our country needs to achieve a just-and-true clean energy transition. ”
The report also stressed the value of federal green bank proposals put forth by Sens. Markey (D-Mass.) and Van Hollen (D-Md.) in the National Climate Bank Act (S. 283) and by Rep. Dingell (D-Mich.) in the Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator Act (H.R. 806). Coalition for Green Capital CEO Reed Hundt last month testified before the Senate Environment & Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate and Nuclear Safety in support of S. 283.
“This report only confirms that we need to accelerate the deployment of clean energy infrastructure by establishing a federal green bank,” Hundt said. “This bill is a win for American small businesses, low- to moderate-income families, and millions of people looking for good-paying jobs in cities and towns across the nation.”
Both S. 283 and H.R. 806 bills would provide an initial capitalization of $100 billion to leverage the tried-and-tested green bank model to deploy clean energy infrastructure and create an estimated 4 million jobs in just 4 years. The Coalition for Green Capital has identified over 100 different types of jobs (Standard Occupation Classifications as published by OMB) that Accelerator investment would support.
President Biden in March announced the Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator as a key climate provision in the American Jobs Plan, citing the capacity of a non-profit federal green bank to invest with “a particular focus on disadvantaged communities that have not yet benefited from clean energy investments.”
Read the full report here.
Coalition for Green Capital, Green Bank Experts to Testify Before Key Senate Subcommittee on National Climate Bank Act
WASHINGTON—At 2:30 p.m. EDT, April 27, Coalition for Green Capital CEO Reed Hundt testified before the Senate Environment & Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate and Nuclear Safety in support of the National Climate Bank Act (S. 283).
The legislation would create a nonprofit to serve as a national green bank and provide it with $100 billion to accelerate the deployment of commercially viable clean technology. The bill is sponsored by Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
Read Hundt’s written testimony.
- EPW Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety hearing on S.283, the National Climate Bank Act
- Reed Hundt, CEO and Chairman of the Coalition for Green Capital
- M. Duanne Andrade, Chief Strategic and Financial Officer of the Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF)
2:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Letter comes after inclusion in White House American Jobs Plan
Number of groups supporting concept doubles from last year
NRDC, EDF, SEIA and other large groups sign on
WASHINGTON—Nearly 250 groups today sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to include a $100B Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator in the upcoming infrastructure bill to serve as a national green bank after President Joe Biden recommended the effort in his American Jobs Plan in March. The number of groups backing the idea has more than doubled since last summer when the U.S. House passed $20 billion for a national green bank as GOP support for the idea has increased with backing from Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska).
“Though we have a vaccine, the United States will be battling the health crisis well into 2021. Immediate relief is critical, but it is not enough. Congress should respond by depositing $100 billion into the independent nonpartisan, nonprofit Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator that the President included in his American Jobs Plan to mobilize nearly half a trillion dollars of investment and create 4 million new jobs in 4 years,” the groups wrote.
The letter, spearheaded by the Coalition for Green Capital, was signed by a diverse group of industry, trade and environmental advocacy groups, along with state and local officials. Large environmental organizations include the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, National Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, Union of Concerned Scientists, Climate Reality Project, Black Owners of Solar Services and Appalachian Voices.
Other key clean energy industry groups— Solar Energy Industries Association, Energy Storage Association, Vote Solar, Advanced Energy Management Alliance, Renewable Energy Alaska Project and Alaska Power and Telephone Company—added their voices.
State green banks and funding agencies, innovative start-ups and larger corporations, clean tech investors, utilities and regional advocacy groups—from Alaska to Hawaii, Florida to Michigan, Colorado to Pennsylvania and dozens more states—all signed on to support. Their support signals that this proposal is an effective way to put people to work and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The bank would mobilize private investment into distributed energy resources; retrofits of residential, commercial and municipal buildings; and clean transportation. At least 40 percent of its investments would go to disadvantaged communities that have not yet benefited from clean energy investments.
“The Fund will use the green bank model that has been proven at the state and local level in the U.S. There are already successful green banks in states like Michigan, Florida, Connecticut and Hawaii, and new ones in place in Colorado, Ohio, and Nevada,” wrote the groups. “States across the U.S. are now developing or considering their own green banks, including states like Alaska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maine, Minnesota and Wisconsin.”
Earlier this year, 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 to create a national green bank. The idea is also included in the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee’s comprehensive CLEAN Future Act.
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.”
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.
Read the letter and full listing of groups that signed it below.
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, and Minority Leaders McConnell and McCarthy:
We write at this critical time with recommendations to support your efforts to respond to the ongoing economic crisis. Though we have a vaccine, the United States will be battling the health crisis well into 2021. Immediate relief is critical, but it is not enough. Congress should respond by depositing $100 billion into the independent nonpartisan, nonprofit Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator that the President included in his American Jobs Plan to mobilize nearly half a trillion dollars of investment and create 4 million new jobs in 4 years.
Millions of Americans are still collecting unemployment benefits. Labor force participation is at its lowest levels in nearly 50 years. And long-term unemployment is now at 4.25 million workers, the highest level in recorded history other than the peak of the Great Recession. The U.S. is still struggling through a historic jobs crisis, and the shifts in the labor market are now becoming permanent. Service industries, dining, entertainment and travel continue to shed jobs, with many of those positions being permanently eliminated. Returning to full employment requires creating new jobs in new sectors. That means it is essential for Congress to help create new jobs for Americans.
In national polls 7 out of 10 voters, including majorities from both parties, agree that investing in clean energy infrastructure is a great way to accomplish two critical objectives – create jobs and mitigate the impacts of climate change. And 2 out of 3 voters nationally want Congress to fund the non-profit independent Clean Energy Accelerator to create those jobs.
The opportunity to build the infrastructure to generate, move, store and use clean and efficient energy is nearly boundless. Trillions of dollars of investment is needed to build clean energy infrastructure that will put millions back to work, strengthen communities, reduce pollution, improve public health, lower energy costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is in addition to the pressing need to build resilient infrastructure in communities across America.
The Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator is the ideal vehicle for this investment. The Accelerator will pair each public dollar with multiple private ones to build a range of clean energy projects. This includes renewable power, building efficiency, grid infrastructure like transmission and storage, industrial decarbonization, clean transportation, reforestation and sustainable agriculture and climate-resilient infrastructure. Each public dollar invested will be repaid and preserved by the Fund, which means dollars can be recycled to cause even more private investment in the future. Legislation to fund the Accelerator has already passed the House twice in 2020, first as part of the Moving Forward Act and again as part of the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act. The Accelerator –introduced in H.R. 806 by Representatives Dingell and Fitzpatrick and as the National Climate Bank Act in S. 283 by Senators Markey and Van Hollen and– has been reintroduced as a stand-alone bill and as part of the CLEAN Future Act with a $100 billion capitalization.
The Fund will use the green bank model that has been proven at the state and local level in the U.S. There are already successful green banks in states like Michigan, Florida, Connecticut and Hawaii, and new ones in place in Colorado, Ohio, and Nevada. These green banks, often created with bipartisan support, have driven over $5 billion of investment into clean energy, and for each public dollar invested, 2.6 dollars of private investment has followed. States across the U.S. are now developing or considering their own green banks, including states like Alaska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maine, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Each project financed by the Fund will require Americans with all kinds of skills and backgrounds. Today, half the jobs in the clean energy sector are in sales, administration and management. These are roles that can be filled quickly by those laid off from other sectors with matching skillsets.
To strengthen communities in every corner of America, the Fund will help form new regional, state or local green banks across the U.S. and then provide the funding necessary for them to invest. This will build a network of local institutions designed expressly to meet the employment, energy, development and environmental needs of that community. The Fund will also help fund the expansion of those green banks that already exist and are showing others how to lead the way.
No community will be overlooked. Forty percent of the Fund’s investment must go to frontline, low-income and climate-impacted communities. Existing green banks have already proven the possible, delivering clean energy and health benefits to communities that have historically been left behind. This ensures good clean energy jobs are formed throughout the U.S.
A national green bank like the Accelerator is supported by the House Climate Crisis Committee and the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. It was co-sponsored and endorsed by Vice President Kamala Harris during her time serving as a Senator, and aligns with President-Elect Biden’s clean energy plans. Polling also shows it is supported by Republican voters in swing states and fossil fuel-dependent states like West Virginia, Alaska, North Carolina and Florida.
There is broad support for this kind of clean and resilient infrastructure investment to put Americans back to work. Immediate relief is essential in this crisis, but so too is providing a livelihood for the millions of American families and households out of work. Voters across parties want Congress to act, and to do so by funding the Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator.
Environmental Nonprofit Organizations
Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture
Belfast, ME Chapter Citizens Climate Lobby
Center for Ecological Living and Learning
Center for an Ecology-Based Economy
Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Clean Energy Economy for the Region
The Climate Center
The Climate Reality Project
Coalition for Green Capital
Coastal Youth Climate Coalition
Community Office for Resource Efficiency
Energy Outreach Colorado
Energy Resource Center
Energy Smart Colorado
Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental & Energy Study Institute
Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions
Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
Institute for Market Transformation
Institute for Sustainable Communities
League of Conservation Voters
Maine Climate Table
Maine Mountain Collaborative
Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification Partnership
Maine Youth for Climate Justice
Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Michigan Environmental Council
Natural Resources Council of Maine
Natural Resources Defense Council
New Jersey League of Conservation Voters
Renewable Energy Alaska Project
Sitka Conservation Society
Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Conservancy
Sustain Mid-Maine Coalition
Union of Concerned Scientists
Urban Land Institute
Urban Sustainability Directors Network
Wells Reserve at Laudham
Zocalo Permaculture Center
Trade and Industry Associations
Advanced Energy Management Alliance
American Green Bank Consortium
Americans for a Clean Energy Grid
Black Owners of Solar Services
Carolinas Clean Energy Business Association
Coalition for Community Solar Access
Colorado Solar and Storage Association
DC Capital Connector
Energy Efficiency Alliance of New Jersey
Energy Storage Association
Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association
Hawai’I Solar Energy Association
Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance
Maryland Building Performance Association
Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association
Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
Neighborhood Restaurant Group
North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association
Northeast Clean Energy Council
Resource Recovery Coalition of California
Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Solar Energy Industries Association
Solar United Neighbors
Southern Renewable Energy Association
City First Bank of DC
Clean Energy Trust
Climate Access Fund
Colorado Clean Energy Fund
Connecticut Green Bank
DC Green Bank
Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility
Finance New Orleans
Florida Solar & Energy Loan Fund
Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority
Inclusive Prosperity Capital
Latino Economic Development Center
Main Street Launch
Maryland Clean Energy Center
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Montgomery County Green Bank
Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank
Sungage Financial LLC
Clean Energy, Water, and Sustainability Companies and Utilities
About Saving Heat
Agents for the Built Environment
Alaska Power and Telephone Company
Amicus Strategic Environmental Consulting
Aris Energy Solutions, LLC
Atlas Home Energy Solutions
Bicky Corman Law, PLLC
Build Efficiently, LLC
Chart House Energy, LLC
Christensen Global Strategies
Clean Energy Works
DC Solar – Washington, DC
Dietel & Partners
Elevation Lighting Services Company
Energy Efficiency Experts, LLC
Envoy Technologies, Inc.
First Cast Communications
Flywheel Development, LLC
The Friendly Ewe
Gardner Real Estate Group
Gordian Knot Strategies
Green Projects Group
Ground Loop Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.
Hawaiian Electric Company
Holu Hou Energy
Holy Cross Energy
Insight Power Partners
Inter-Island Solar Supply
Invest Sou Sou
Law Offices of Leslie M. Lava
Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator
Mission Energy LLC
Mountain View Wind and Solar
Moya Design Partners
Photonworks Engineering, LLP
Recurrent Innovative Solutions, LLC
RER Energy Group
South San Francisco Scavenger Company
Sustainable Capital Advisors
Sustainable Real Estate Solutions
Valley Green Fuels
Vanguard Energy Partners, LLC
Westhof, Cone & Holmstedt
Zinc8 Energy Solutions
State and Local Governments
Bay Area Air Quality Management District
California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, CPA
City of Aspen, Colorado
City of Belfast, ME Climate Change Committee
City of Jackson, Mississippi
Franklin County, Maine Climate Change Coalition
Hawai’i State Energy Office
Maine State Treasurer Henry Beck
Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy
Philadelphia Energy Authority
Other Nonprofit Organizations
City First Enterprises
Flora Family Foundation
Good Community Foundation
Illinois People’s Action
National Housing Trust
Park City Community Foundation
Partnership for Southern Equity
Wallace Global Fund
The Honorable Tom Carper
The Honorable Shelley Moore Capito
The Honorable Chris Van Hollen
The Honorable Ed Markey
The Honorable James Clyburn
The Honorable Steny Hoyer
The Honorable Peter DeFazio
The Honorable Sam Graves
The Honorable Frank Pallone
The Honorable Debbie Dingell
The Honorable Cathy Castor
Watch as Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), author of H.R. 806, and witness Bob Perciasepe share their support for the Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator before the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change.
Email your Representative and let them know that you support passing H.R. 806 and establishing a national green bank.
Several other Representatives offered comments in favor of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator throughout the subcommittee hearing on March 18th:
Congressman and Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said the Accelerator “would help states, communities, and companies transition to a clean energy economy.”
Congressman and Chair of the Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change Paul Tonko (D-NY) began the hearing by explaining that the Accelerator “provides access to financing to make investments across numerous sectors in support of our nation’s clean energy transition.”
Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) called the Accelerator a “terrific idea” capable of stimulating innovation alongside the federal government.
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