HARTFORD – U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today announced the introduction of the Green Bank Act of 2014 in the United States Senate. A public-private organization that provides low-cost financing for energy efficiency and clean energy projects – a “green bank” – can help leverage enormous private sector investments in clean energy. Many clean energy projects pay for themselves by reducing energy use or cutting power costs, but accessing the initial funding needed to make them happen is often difficult to obtain and expensive. A small, initial commitment of public funding is often more than enough to catalyze significant private investment to help consumers and businesses purchase or lease such systems. The Green Bank Act of 2014 would create a national green bank which would provide direct financial support for clean energy installations, and would also provide seed funding to those states that want to charter their own green banks.
The nation’s first green bank was founded in Connecticut when Governor Dannel Malloy launched the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) in 2011. With only $20 million in funding, CEFIA has leveraged over $200 million in clean energy investments in Connecticut – accomplishing more clean energy deployment in one year than had been accomplished in the prior ten years. Several other states have followed Connecticut’s lead and have developed, or are beginning to develop, their own green banks, including New York, where Governor Cuomo has pledged to create a $1 billion green bank.
“In addition to the broad-based environmental benefits, green banks are really about saving consumers money,” said Murphy and Blumenthal. “These technologies can save enormous amounts of money, but getting the financing to make them possible isn’t always quite so easy. As we’ve seen in Connecticut, green banks are a perfect way to encourage consumers to ‘go green’. By supporting these green banks, our bill will make it easier for homes and businesses across the country to reduce their carbon footprints and ultimately slow the effects of climate change.”
This legislation was also introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Chris VanHollen (D-Md.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), James Langevin (D-R.I.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).