ROCKY HILL, Conn. — Bryan Garcia, president of the Connecticut Green Bank, said he knew five years ago when it was created that it would be an important model for funding clean energy projects.
He didn’t know it might become critical for funding them.
In the face of a Donald Trump presidency that dismisses climate change and threatens to ignore its solutions, the future of clean energy may rely heavily on new approaches like the ones pioneered by the Connecticut Green Bank, the first-ever statewide one. The bank’s mission is to leverage limited public money into even more private investment in clean energy so eventually there is no need for public money. That would create jobs, lower energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The green bank model may be an attractive tool under a Trump presidency,” Garcia said. “Public-private partnerships like ours spur investment in local clean energy economies that create jobs and ultimately mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Connecticut bank said it has surpassed $1 billion in money put in play—some for loans, other money for default security— with an average of $6 in private funding created from every $1 in public money. It has designed a dozen or more clean energy and efficiency financial products, programs and marketing efforts. Best known is its heralded Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, C-PACE, program that is transforming how commercial properties finance clean energy and energy efficiency improvements.
The bank says it has created nearly 215 megawatts of clean power across more than 20,000 projects, the equivalent of nearly 13,000 jobs directly for clean energy companies and other businesses that benefit from clean energy, and saved more than 2.6 million tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted.
Initially the private banking community saw the bank as competition, but has come around so much that two early popular programs are now run solely by private banks. Officials say several private companies have launched specifically because of opportunities created by the bank’s success.
“Our goal is to be catalytic,” Garcia said. “These problems aren’t going to be solved by taxpayers and ratepayers. These problems are going to be solved by bringing more private investment into the clean energy economies.”
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