Maine’s ambitious plan for transitioning to a clean-energy economy can’t happen without lots of money, funding that’s in short supply during a state budget crunch and pandemic-caused economic downturn.
Some lawmakers and business people say a proposed new source of capital could help: a state-chartered “green bank.”
Green bank advocates met Monday for a Zoom webinar sponsored by the Coalition for Green Capital, a nonprofit that seeks to drive investment in clean energy.
Speakers on the call included Henry Beck, Maine’s state treasurer, who said his office receives calls from investors and rating agencies asking about the state’s commitment to fighting climate change. Also present was Catherine Culley, who builds energy-efficient homes and is a principal at Redfern Properties in Portland, as well as David Gibson, a solar design specialist at ReVision Energy, and Rep. Stanley Paige Zeigler, D-Montville, who has proposed legislation around a clean energy fund.
Green banks leverage public funds to attract private investment. They typically help raise money to combat the impacts of climate change, with measures such as building resilient roads and bridges, making homes more energy efficient and less dependent on fossil fuels, and subsidizing electric transportation.
There are 15 green banks in the country today that have steered more than $5 billion into clean energy projects since 2010, when Connecticut created the first one. Efforts to establish a green bank using state bonds haven’t gained traction in the Maine Legislature, although a new bill is being readied for the upcoming session.
Read the full story.