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New York Launches $1B Green Bank; Other States Seeking Best Practices

February 20, 2014

A proposal first announced during Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2013 State of the State address came to fruition earlier this month with a request for proposals (RFP) to fund clean energy projects through New York’s newly established green bank. A green bank is a state-sponsored nonprofit lender that provides long-term, low-cost financing support. Its purpose is to increase public-private investing in clean energy while offering consumers lower-cost energy solutions, according to the Green Bank Academy.

New York’s $1 billion initiative was capitalized with initial funding of $210 million in December, including $165 million redirected from other clean-energy programs. Through the RFP, the bank seeks financing proposals from industry participants and financial institutions including energy service companies, developers, equipment manufacturers and others. Projects supported by the bank can include solar, wind and other renewable energy generation technologies. Read the press release.

Connecticut was the first state to establish a green bank in 2011, but several other states have demonstrated interest. Participants from at least 11 other states wanting to establish their own green banks recently attended the first Green Bank Academy in Washington, D.C. The two-day program offered workshops and seminars for state energy and finance officials to provide them with solutions for building green banks, according to the website.

Clean energy projects often are dependent on federal tax credits and subsidies, which can expire. A timely benefit of the green bank model is the low-cost financing that in turn lowers the cost of these projects in order to make them cost-competitive with conventional technologies, according to a 2012 Brookings report on state clean energy finance banks. 

Connecticut, New Yorkcleantech, capital