FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 4, 2020
REPORT: MINN. GREEN BANK WOULD CREATE 15K JOBS BY LOWERING ENERGY COSTS FOR HOMEOWNERS, FARMERS
Unemployment in state continues to be high
Would make solar power competitive with other sources
WASHINGTON—The creation of a green bank in Minnesota to help finance clean power projects would create more than 15,000 jobs, lower farm operating costs, reduce energy bills for low-income households and accelerate electric bus adoption, according to a new report.
The analysis—conducted by the Coalition for Green Capital with support from the McKnight Foundation—found that current capital markets and financing tools do not provide adequate support for these types of projects.
“Green banks have been proven to put people to work while beating climate change. Minnesota has a huge opportunity to create thousands of jobs as it looks to get its economy going again after the pandemic,”said Jeff Schub, executive director of the Coalition for Green Capital.
Green banks leverage public funds to stimulate private capital investments in clean, renewable energy and emission reduction projects. The funds are able to be reused since they are paid back.
“We need to respond aggressively to climate change to give a livable planet to our children and grandchildren. Financing green projects is a primary obstacle in this work,” said State Rep. Todd Lippert. “I’m excited about the possibility for a Green Bank in Minnesota because this financing will allow us to establish more projects more quickly across the state, helping us meet our emissions goals.”
“Expanding access to low-cost capital would directly expand the capacity of under-resourced communities to stimulate energy efficiency and renewable energy projects,” said Chris Duffrin, president of Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), which in partnership with Minnesota’s state and local governments provides loans to residents and small businesses for energy efficiency, solar, and building improvements. “We’ve done well so far to tap into low-cost, accessible pots of capital, but in the next decade communities will need to push harder for deeper energy efficiency and carbon reduction. To meet the challenge and scale up building improvements, we will need new sources of capital to untap.”
This report provides a gap analysis of the current state of clean energy finance in Minnesota and presents the role a green bank could play in bridging those gaps to expand clean energy development across the state. Specifically:
- Finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on farms. The USDA reports that at least 15 percent of farm production costs come from energy.
- Reduce energy costs for low-to-moderate income households: Finance energy efficiency and solar adoption for individuals who need the savings the most.
- Accelerate adoption of electric buses: Transportation now accounts for the largest share of emission. Providing financing from a green bank will make electric bus adoption in cities more affordable.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota was behind on its climate goals and with state-wide shut downs, it is unlikely to be on track after it has recovered.
Throughout the spring of 2020, the Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) met with over 35 stakeholders including developers, financiers, and clean energy experts in Minnesota to discuss gaps that prevent the state from realizing its full clean energy and energy efficiency potential.
Since March, there have been 782,000 filings for unemployment in Minnesota. Out of the 782,000 people who have filed for unemployment in Minnesota, approximately 12% are within the clean energy workforce.
At the federal level, the U.S. twice passed funding for a Clean Energy Accelerator that would help fund state green banks like the one outlined in today’s report. President-elect Joe Biden included the Accelerator in his climate plan and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris backed the Senate effort.
Green banks currently exist in over 14 cities and states across the country and have supported nearly $4 billion in investment. View a list of projects that have been supported by green banks.
Read the full report.