Press Release: July 8, 2019
US Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today introduced the National Climate Bank Act of 2019. The bill is the first of its kind to create a nonprofit institution independent of government, designed to reduce energy costs and leave consumers and businesses better off by switching to clean energy. It is also the first bill of its kind to authorize the use of federal funds to accelerate the retirement of coal-fired power plants and to acquire coal assets still in the ground.
This institution, the National Climate Bank, will be capitalized with $35 billion in federal funds over five years, and will be capable of driving public and private investment on an unprecedented scale, approaching the level necessary to meaningfully tackle the climate crisis.
The bill has an explicit social and environmental justice mission, with a mandate to specifically prioritize investments in underserved and low-income communities. By providing a framework and a set of financial tools to connect dollars to projects, this bill represents the first substantial legislative plank to support achievement of the climate goals of the Green New Deal.
With its focus on connecting clean energy projects with needed capital, the bill uses the proven Green Bank model which the Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) has worked to implement at the state and local level. Existing Green Banks have a successful track record driving capital towards projects that reduce greenhouse gases, and multiplying their impact by drawing in private investment.
Previous bills establishing a federal Green Bank have also been introduced in the House and Senate, and Presidential candidates have come forward with plans based on Green Bank principles. The National Climate Bank Act builds on this momentum, with an expanded mission and a larger toolbox of eligible project types.
As experts in Green Bank creation and operation, CGC has played an instrumental role in setting up many of the Green Banks currently working today, and has been a leading voice on Green Banks since the model was first proposed a decade ago in Congress.
Reed Hundt, CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital said: “Senator Markey’s bill meets the dramatic and urgent nature of the climate change problem with an equally dramatic yet business-friendly solution. By using Green Bank financing, the Climate Bank will tackle the climate crisis while leaving energy consumers better off.”
Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank said, “Green Banks are a proven policy tool in the battle against climate change. In Connecticut alone, the Connecticut Green Bank has been able to use $270 million in public funds to drive over $1.67 billion in total investment. With initiatives like the Solar for All program, the Connecticut Green Bank has increased solar adoption by more than 187% in underinvested neighborhoods, showing clean energy investments can drive equity and inclusivity for those that need it most.”
For more information on the National Climate Bank Act, see Senator Markey’s statement and CGC’s Bill Summary. For more information on previously proposed Green Bank bills in the House and Senate, see statements from Representative Himes and Senator Murphy.
For more information on the track record of existing US Green Banks, see the American Green Bank Consortium’s Annual Industry Report.
The Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) is a non-profit organization focused on accelerating the growth of clean energy markets through the creation of Green Banks.CGC offers a unique and proven capacity as the leading creator, advocate, and expert on Green Banks since 2009 and works directly to support the formation of Green Banks with governmental and civil society partners, and provide on-going consulting and guidance to operating Green Banks. For more information visit coalitionforgreencapital.com/.
Director of Communications