Industry Coalition Supports U.S. Congress Green Bank Act

March 26, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

The Coalition for Green Bank (CGB) announced that it supports the introduction in Congress of a bill that establishes the Green Bank to catalyze the financing of clean energy projects and energy efficiency projects. The Coalition for Green Bank is a consortium of energy industry leaders including renewable resource developers, original equipment manufacturers, investors, financial advisors and consultants dedicated to unleashing a new era of private investment in the green energy for clean and sustainable energy and jobs, and economic development.

The proposed Green Bank will be an independent, tax-exempt, wholly owned corporation of the United States, with the exclusive mission of providing a comprehensive range of financing support to qualified clean energy and energy efficiency projects in the U.S. The Act would provide the Green Bank with an initial capitalization of $10 billion through the issuance of Green Bonds by the Department of Treasury, with a maximum authorized limit of $50 billion. The legislation includes spending safeguards and public disclosure requirements to ensure that the Green Bank operates at the highest levels of efficacy, accountability and transparency required by taxpayers for their financial support.

According to the CGB, this legislation is a critical stimulus for the US transition to a cleaner energy future. Development of clean, sustainable, renewable energy, critical to US energy independence and environmental and economic health has been throttled by current conditions in the economic, financial and commodity markets. The proposed Green Bank provides the capability to jump-start renewable energy development in the U.S. and move the nation closer to energy independence.

CGB estimates that the Green Bank initial capitalization of $10 billion to fund upwards of $50 billion can result in 15GW of renewable energy, reducing annual energy costs by $22.5 billion. The initiative is projected to cut carbon emissions by 29.6 million tons, and increase reliability of the electric grid all while reducing reliance on foreign or fossil fuels. The legislation will facilitate private investment in the green economy, creating up to 1.5 million new and permanent jobs, including a large number in the development and operation of renewable generation projects, component factories, transmission and distribution facilities, smart grid technologies, energy efficiency, and hardware and software components used in each of these types of projects.

The Green Bank Act of 2009 authorizes the bank to issue "green bonds" backed by the U.S. government to support financing for qualified energy and energy efficiency projects such as wind farms and solar installations, transmission lines, manufacturing plants, and energy efficiency programs. The Green Bank is intended to operate in concert with the private sector to foster increased access to renewable power. The Act will also facilitate financing of long-term clean energy purchasing by governmental and non-governmental not-for-profit entities to ensure wide distribution of clean energy throughout the country.

The US possesses abundant solar, wind and geothermal resources, as well as tremendous opportunities to use energy much more efficiently, however, getting renewable resources and efficiency projects to market can be challenging in today’s credit markets. The Green Bank Act of 2009 has received significant interest from states, utilities, financial institutions, and other private companies who have "finance-ready" renewable energy, transmission and distribution, and energy efficiency projects that remain in limbo.