Esty, Murphy Introduce ‘Green Bank Act’ to Create Jobs, Reclaim America’s Green Energy Leadership
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) today introduced the Green Bank Act, which would create American jobs and fight climate change by incentivizing large-scale private investment in clean-energy projects across the United States.
The bill – H.R. 2995 in the House and S. 1406 in the Senate – would create a National Green Bank to provide financing support to Regional, State, and Municipal Green Banks, which in turn fund clean-energy and energy-efficient projects that benefit local communities. Green Banks leverage limited public investment to drive greater investment from the private sector.
“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement put at risk thousands of American jobs and threatened our nation’s ability to compete economically with the rest of the world,” said Esty. “We need to reclaim America’s leadership in the clean-energy sector. The Green Bank Act will create American jobs, help businesses throughout the country reduce their energy costs, and ensure our nation does its part to protect our planet for future generations. The Green Bank model has a track record of success – particularly in Connecticut – and I’m hopeful it will receive bipartisan support in Congress to extend that success nationally.”
“Green banks are creating jobs and helping the environment,” said Murphy. “Connecticut led the way by launching the first-ever green bank back in 2011, and since then, it has attracted $1 billion for clean energy investments. Even though the Trump administration chose to turn its back on our planet, we can choose to push back by investing in cleaner ways to power our world. Our Green Bank Act is a good first step.”
Connecticut was the first of six states to establish a state Green Bank. Since 2011, the Connecticut Green Bank has generated an average of $6 in private investment for every $1 in public funds, led to the creation of nearly 13,000 jobs, put approximately $1 billion into play behind sustainable energy production, and reduced CO2 emissions by more than 2.6 million tons.
The Connecticut Green Bank has financed more than 18,000 projects to date, helping businesses throughout the state lower energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint. Businesses that have benefitted from Green Bank investment include Curtis Packaging and Tier ONE Machining and Assembly in Newtown, Defeo Manufacturing in Brookfield, and Lesro Industries in Bloomfield.
Though state-level Green Banks have collectively generated billions of dollars in clean-energy investment, the biggest obstacle they face is a lack of access to capital. The National Green Bank could provide a total capitalization of $50 billion to qualified institutions, which must provide matching funds equal to at least 20% of any federal funds.
Statements of Support
Bryan T. Garcia, CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank:
“As public-private partnerships, Green Banks accelerate the growth of green energy by providing innovative, long-term, low-cost financing for energy-saving improvements. They enable cities and states to help their communities access the enormous benefits of green energy. From $173 million in public dollars, we have mobilized over $1 billion of total investment in just over five years. As a result, the Connecticut Green Bank has been able to reduce the energy burden on 22,000 households and businesses, deploy 220 MW of renewable energy and in the process, help create 13,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs.”
Rebekah Harriman-Stites, Founder of Newtown Forward:
“As a group of constituents of Elizabeth Esty and Chris Murphy, Newtown Forward is very pleased to endorse United States Green Bank Act of 2017. We believe the proposed legislation will improve our economy, create jobs, bring down carbon emissions and help pave the way for a clean energy future.”
David Anderson, CT League of Conservation Voters:
“Connecticut has always been a national leader on the protection of our land, air and water. In this new era of climate change, Connecticut established the nation’s first Green Bank, now a model along with other states to keep pace on clean energy investments into the future. Support of a Green Bank at the Federal level will be a major step in advancing the renewable energy program, and its demonstrated boost to the environment AND the economy. We applaud our elected leaders working to make this a bi-partisan effort.”
Reed Hundt, CEO of Coalition for Green Capital:
“A 21st century energy infrastructure platform requires tremendous investment, and this investment will be a major driver of economic growth in the United States for years to come. Fortunately, Green Banks are well-positioned to be a major part of the solution to unlocking currently dormant private capital investments in the energy sector at the regional, state, and federal level.”
Douglass Sims, Director of Strategy and Finance, Center for Market Innovation at the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“Green Banks around the country are driving critical investment in clean energy infrastructure. This bill would take that commitment to the next level. That will mean a substantial increase in clean energy projects that create good jobs that can’t be outsourced, boost local economies, and support public health.”
Robert Wendelgass, President and CEO of Clean Water Action:
"As we have seen in states like Connecticut, a Green Bank can be a primary driver of the clean energy economy. Green Banks are consistently innovative and highly credible. It is not just financing – the expertise a Green Bank is that it is able to bring together is as important as capital resources. A National Green Bank Act could not be more timely and useful."
Other organizations that have endorsed the Green Bank Act include the national League of Conservation Voters, the New York Green Bank, the Montgomery County Green Bank, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.