At the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, we constantly scan the horizon for transformative solutions in clean energy markets and finance. And as far and as wide as we look, we are drawn back to study the remarkable work across our home state of Connecticut.
If Pope Francis was the United States Secretary of the Treasury, he might have issued the Department of the Treasury's recent press release on April 22 with this comment from his encyclical “Laudato Si:" “Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live. The poor and the earth are crying out.”
Washington, DC is already on track to surpass the building energy efficiency goals it set seven years ago, according to the DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE). DOEE has achieved this through a unique public-private partnership participation in the Better Buildings Challenge. It also has a suite of other renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
The performance of the Connecticut Green Bank shows clean energy can be economically lucrative and make good business sense. As a result of these accomplishments, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation has selected the bank from 500 applicants for the 2017 Innovation in American Government Award. A public announcement took place in Hartford, Connecticut on July 27.
A number of senators and representatives led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) have cosponsored The Green Bank Act of 2017 (PDF) (S. 1406. H.R. 2995). The act is expected to support the establishment of a national green bank capitalized with $10 billion in treasury-issued green bonds. This is the third time legislators have proposed it.
Working to build a strong support system for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy requires a collaborative approach with all hands on deck. In the rocky seas of this year’s federal and state climate and energy policy, state and local green banks are emerging as a potentially protective anchor that policymakers can create. Yale Center for Business and the Environment is currently building a training program that will use a set of green banking case studies on innovative clean energy-finance structures that students developed last year. This week, the first case study is being published.
How can solar financing be improved in the United States? Experts shared their vision for the future at the Green Investing Conference held by the Information Management Network (IMN) on April 27 in New York City. Attendees included energy investors, rating agencies, legal counsel, and other professionals. The opening panel, “The Green Landscape for Investing: What, When, Where and Why?” addressed both current situations and future goals.
As the solar industry grows and energy efficiency works to do the same, 2016 brought a significant expansion of breaking news for us to cover and curate. The articles below are our top stories showing the many new and surprising developments we saw last year.
The presidential election of Donald Trump complicates the potential of the United States Green Bank Act (H.R. 5802, S. 3382). The act, sponsored by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Representative and Senator-Elect Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), is intended to offer additional financial structures to deploy clean energy and energy efficiency across the nation in the face of climate change.
In most of the United States, low-to-moderate-income (LMI) communities have little to no voice about how solar energy can bring jobs and economic stability. New York is an exception. The state held an extended dialogue on this subject this year through the CDG Low-Income Collaborative. Although the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) dismissed the committee’s recommendations, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) decided to put some of them in place.
How can green banks collaborate internationally to scale up private financing to meet the challenge of climate change? A new international organization, the Green Bank Network, hopes to lead the way. During the Paris climate conference, six green banks and two nonprofit organizations jointly announced the opening of the network on Dec. 7. The network will accelerate clean energy installations and mobilize private investments worldwide.
What do leaders in the banking industry think about the potential of privately financing solar power, wind energy, and energy efficiency? In this interview, Michael Eckhart, managing director and global head of finance and sustainability at Citigroup, shares his optimism about the transition to clean energy and his observations about the persistent obstacles in the market – including the need to scale up financing for energy efficiency.
The phrase ‘low-income’ rarely appears in solar energy press coverage in the United States. But some enterprising organizations have set their sights on expanding the market for residential solar photovoltaics to include low-to-moderate-income communities. Three approaches – group discount programs, affordable leases, and community solar installations – are making solar power available to these communities in some states.
On the surface, Citi’s recommendations of global climate investment goals, published in August in the report “Energy Darwinism II: Why a Low Carbon Future Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth,” look deceptively simple. But a closer look at the patchwork of international regulations, legislation, and carbon markets reveals that financing clean energy in developing nations may be quite challenging to accomplish.
Guess which part of the United States is so motivated to put a green bank in place that two legislative bills are competing to do the honors? It’s Massachusetts, which is considering two proposed green banks that would be very different from one another.