Sunday, May 4, 2014

House Democrats Introduce the Green Bank Act of 2014

Washington, D.C. – Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen introduced the Green Bank Act of 2014 with cosponsors Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT), and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT).

Green Bank legislation was embraced on a bipartisan basis in both the House and Senate in 2009, and eventually included as the Clean Energy Deployment Administration in the House-passed American Clean Energy and Security Act later that year. Since that time, the Green Bank movement has moved to the states.  

Four states – Connecticut, New York, Vermont, and Hawaii – have now established their own state green banks, and 10 more are at various stages of exploring this forward-looking, cost-effective public policy tool.  In addition to authorizing direct financing support for priority clean energy and energy efficiency projects across the United States, this legislation also recognizes and reflects the growing Green Bank movement occurring in our states by authorizing the Green Bank to partner with and provide seed funding to state clean energy financing institutions.

“Reclaiming America’s leadership in the global clean energy race of the 21st century, ensuring  our nation’s long term energy independence, and tackling climate change has never been more critical than it is today. We can and must accomplish these vital national objectives, and creating the Green Bank will bring us one step closer to that reality,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “This legislation will accelerate the development, deployment, and production of clean energy technologies across the United States.”

“America should be leading the world in alternative energy development, but right now we’re watching as other countries in Asia and Europe invest in renewable energy and reap the jobs and economic and environmental benefits that come with it,” Congresswoman Louise Slaughter said. “Creating a Green Bank will allow us to finance the development of alternative energy in the United States, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels and create good-paying, high-skill jobs here at home. I’m glad my state of New York has been one of four forward-thinking states to establish its own Green Bank, and I hope that the federal government will soon follow suit.”

“The Green Bank Act will promote exactly the kind of innovative, cost-effective action that has become increasingly vital to combat climate change, promote clean energy investment here at home, and give the United States a leadership position in convincing nations of the urgency of quickly pursuing energy efficient technologies worldwide,” said Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.

“In order to combat and mitigate the global effects of climate change, we need to invest now,” said Congressman Earl Blumenauer. “The Green Bank Act will give a jump start to the clean and sustainable energy development that will not only help us create a more livable country and planet, but will move us toward energy independence and actually increase our national security.”

“Mitigating the effects of climate change and protecting our environment must be priorities for this Congress and this country, and the Green Bank Act provides a mechanism through which to do that,” said Congressman Jim Langevin, energy task force chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. “Providing a funding stream for clean energy projects will incentivize the use of more efficient technology and simultaneously support economic development and job growth.”

“Our nation must be willing to make a down payment on a sustainable future,” Congressman Gerry Connolly said. “The Green Bank Act is an important tool for leveraging the public-private investment necessary to help us build a strong domestic clean and renewable energy industry for our nation.  Increased energy efficiency and reduced energy costs, job creation, and addressing climate change are all benefits we can derive from the creation of a national Green Bank.”

“The cheapest and cleanest energy is the energy we don’t use at all. We have seen remarkable gains in the renewable and energy efficiency marketplace over the last several years, and it is important that the federal government provides incentives to allow the marketplace to continue to develop and thrive,” said Congressman Jim Himes. “Connecticut’s Green Bank’s success in financing the development of clean energy and energy efficiency projects is a testament to the positive impact public-private partnerships can have, and I am excited to help lead the effort to establish a similar institution at the national level.”

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Green Bank Act, which will help finance critical alternative energy projects across the country. Our bill is modeled after the successful Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) in Connecticut, the nation’s first green bank. Through public-private partnerships, CEFIA supports important clean energy efforts such as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans to help businesses improve their energy efficiency and competitiveness, crowdsourcing residential solar projects,  and clean energy initiatives for schools, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs such as the Campus Efficiency Now (CEN) program. We have a great opportunity to share the innovative model that’s working here in Connecticut to help folks all over the country improve our economy and our environment,” said Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty.

“In 2011, we passed bipartisan legislation in Connecticut that created the nation’s first state-based green bank, and I'm proud that our model is being replicated at the national level,” said Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. “Connecticut's Green Bank has been able to attract private capital investment in clean energy deployment by leveraging public funds at a ratio of 10 to 1. If passed, the Green Bank Act of 2014 would provide our state with up to $500 million of federal investment that our green bank could leverage to attract up to $5 billion of private capital investment in our growing clean energy economy. I am thrilled to see the introduction of this bill and further thank the Connecticut delegation for their leadership and support of this effort.”

For a fact sheet on the legislation, click here. To read the text of the bill, click here.