[Washington, D.C] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), along with Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), members of the Environment and Public Works Committee, have introduced the National Climate Bank Act, legislation that would create a federal bank to leverage public and private funds to invest in clean energy technologies and infrastructure. The National Climate Bank would provide financing to eligible regional, state and local green banks, make investments directly into projects that reduce carbon emission, and provide technical assistance for the start up of new green banks around the United States. The legislation is also co-sponsored by Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)
The Connecticut Green Bank, the first of its kind in the nation, was created by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2011. In 2017 the Connecticut Green Bank was awarded with the Innovations in American Government Award by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Other states, including New York and Michigan have follow suit in forming their own green banks where, public money has been used to leverage six to twenty times more dollars in private investment. On a national scale, investing just $35 billion of public funds into a national climate bank could generate between $213 and $700 billion in total investment into clean energy related projects. An investment of that size in new installed renewable energy could mean more than 70 percent of U.S. homes powered by clean electricity, all with an investment less than one percent the size of the current federal budget.
The National Climate Bank would be capitalized with $10 billion initially, with an additional $5 billion every year for five years.
“Using Connecticut’s Green Bank as a model, this national measure will unlock capital for ground breaking investments in clean energy and good jobs. A National Climate Bank can be a powerful economic game changer,” said Blumenthal. “Connecticut’s Green Bank, the first of its kind, has invested $1.5 billion into the state’s economy – supporting jobs, reducing energy costs on consumers and communities, and improving the environment.”
“Green Banks have already proven their worth,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank. “In Connecticut we’ve brought solar to tens of thousands of households, with 20% of those being low-income households. Clean energy should be available to all, and the unique investment approach means that the projects make financial sense over the long term.”
Specifically, the National Climate Bank would make the United States a world leader in combating the climate crisis by catalyzing and mobilizing private capital, increasing clean energy accessibility and environmental justice, supporting the creation of new green banks, and exploring ways to support the retirement of emissions-intensive generation. The National Climate Bank will seek investment and procurements in areas such as renewables, storage, transportation, transmission, resiliency, efficiency, reforestation, agriculture, and industrial de-carbonization. The Bank would explore new and innovative investment approaches to reduce emissions, including a “Cash for Carbon” program in the utility sector, where globally 42 percent of coal power plants are unprofitable but still operating.