In summer 2015, DOEE awarded a grant to the Coalition for Green Capital to research innovative tools for financing clean energy projects to help the District meet its climate goals, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50% below 2006 levels by 2032.
The Coalition for Green Capital recommended the creation of a “green bank” in the District as a key mechanism to help meet the $3 billion of potential energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that exist in the District.
Green Banks are new innovative policy tools that states and countries are using to finance projects that will create green jobs, expand solar power, lower energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet sustainability goals. Green banks are capitalized with public funds, which are then used to offer loans, leases, credit enhancements, and other financing services to close funding gaps for clean energy projects.
The goal of a green bank is to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technology by leveraging private investment, removing upfront costs, and increasing the efficiency of public dollars. Other green banks in the United States — including those in Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island — have shown impressive success in using smaller amounts of public capital to leverage billions of dollars of private sector funding.
Specifically, the Coalition for Green Capital report suggests that a DC green bank could:
- Attract private capital at a ratio of 5 private dollars to every 1 dollar of public investment;
- Use bonding authority to increase capacity, accelerate lending, and recapitalize funds;
- Accept funding from foundations, such as the recent $3M Kresge Foundation award to the Connecticut Green Bank; and
- Be a breakeven entity, where the revenues earned from financing activity cover its operating costs.
Please see the links below to access a Green Bank 101 primer and the full report and presentation from the Coalition for Green Capital. Read about Mayor Bowser’s recent announcement about her plan to make the District of Columbia the first city in the nation to establish a Green Bank.