COP21: Global Green Bank Network Debuts in Paris

Solar array next to an expressway near Osaka, Japan (Photo by Minoru Karamatsu)


PARIS, France, December 7, 2015 (ENS) – Six green banks and two nonprofit groups today announced they are establishing a Green Bank Network to bring billions of dollars in new investments to support renewable energy and energy efficiency – creating jobs and helping to limit climate change.

Green banks, sometimes called Energy Investment Partnerships, EIPs, are public entities created to partner with the private sector to increase clean energy investment and bring clean energy financing into the mainstream.

They are a new phenomenon that has been successful in the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Malaysia and several U.S. states.

Solar array next to an expressway near Osaka, Japan (Photo by Minoru Karamatsu)

The founding partners of the Green Bank Network are the UK Green Investment Bank, the Connecticut Green Bank, NY Green Bank, the Green Fund based in Japan, the Malaysian Green Technology Corporation and Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The network plans to expand rapidly.

Alfred Griffin, president of NY Green Bank, said, “Today’s announcement recognizes that green banks around the world have all made tremendous progress in catalyzing private sector capital in clean energy markets, and this is the next step towards a more seamless network of institutions that will benefit from learning from each other’s experiences.”

GreenTech Malaysia CEO Ir. Ahmad Hadri Haris said, “GreenTech Malaysia is proud to be one of the founding partners of the world’s very first global Green Bank Network. Together with leading green banks, this network will open up access to a pool of financial resources, cross-country expertise and developmental opportunities to green establishments and entrepreneurs across the world to deliver on the aspirations of COP21.”

Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive of the UK Green Investment Bank said, “Billions of dollars of investment must be channeled into renewable energy and energy efficiency projects over the next 15-20 years if the nations of the world are to fulfill their climate pledges. The founding members of the Green Bank Network have impressive track records in drawing private capital to low-carbon infrastructure, but by building the first collaborative global clean energy finance platform we are sending out a signal that more can be achieved by working together.”

ClimateWorks Foundation, a U.S.-based, seven-year-old joint project of the Hewlett, Packard, and McKnight foundations, has agreed to provide seed funding.

wind power
Waterloo Wind Farm, South Australia (Photo by David Clarke)

The global Green Bank Network concept was first raised during an International Green Bank Summit held in New York City in November 2014. The event served as the Second International Green Bank Congress, an annual Green Bank event, hosted by NY Green Bank in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Ccouncil, the Environmental Defense Fund and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

As nonprofit partners the banks have appointed the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Coalition for Green Capital, both based in the United States. Both organizations are experienced in the development of green banks.

“Meeting commitments coming out of Paris will require a profound transformation in global energy investment,” said Shelley Poticha, director of urban solutions at NRDC. “The Green Bank Network is a critical tool in this process and NRDC is excited to help facilitate the global scale-up of green banking.”

Reed Hundt, chief executive of the Coalition for Green Capital, said, “Finance is the foundation of the clean energy platform. Public-private investment partnerships will grow the global economy, and provide affordable sustainable energy to everyone on the planet.”

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, will use its convening power to facilitate the sharing of experience between green banks and countries interested in creating them, building on the OECD-Bloomberg Philanthropies green banks policy guide released today.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said, “To achieve zero net greenhouse emissions globally by the end of this century, governments need to make full use of their capacity to leverage and unlock much larger flows of private investment in low-carbon infrastructure. Public green investment banks can help accelerate the shift to low-carbon investment at the national and sub-national levels.”

Today in Washington, DC, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz released an Energy Department report on innovative financing mechanisms adopted by eight states that spur investments in clean energy, energy efficiency, and resilient infrastructure.

The eight states involved are: California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Oregon.

The report, “Energy Investment Partnerships: How State and Local Governments Are Engaging Private Capital to Drive Clean Energy Investments,” illustrates how states and entities are driving clean energy deployment through leveraging private capital.

“By leveraging private dollars, states with EIPs can generate an impact well beyond what would be possible with public funds alone,” said Energy Secretary Moniz.

“To reduce carbon emissions and address the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, we need innovative financing solutions that will increase energy efficiency, bring more low carbon generation on line, and make our infrastructure more resilient,” Moniz said.

Bryan Garcia, president and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank, said, “As the nation’s first full-scale green bank, we are leading a movement to make clean energy more accessible and affordable to consumers. By leveraging public funds to attract more private investment in our state, we are scaling-up the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency, which is helping the state achieve its ambitious climate change goals.”

Wind power is generated by these turbines on Hawaii’s Big Island (Photo by Les Williams)

In the Hawaiian Islands, 6,000 miles away, Luis Salaveria, director of the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism is equally enthusiastic. “Hawaii’s goal of achieving a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard in the electricity sector by 2045 will require significant amounts of capital to finance clean energy infrastructure,” he said.

“Hawaii’s Green Energy Market Securitization program and other public-private initiatives outlined in this report illustrate the importance of developing new and innovative financing tools to drive clean energy investment.”

Today’s announcements build on actions the Obama Administration took earlier this year to support EIPs. In June the White House hosted a Roundtable on Green and Clean Energy Banks.

And in August 2015, President Obama announced that DOE’s Loan Programs Office had issued new guidance clarifying that distributed energy projects could be eligible under the Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program, and that state-affiliated financial entities, including EIPs, could submit applications for such projects.

To continue this momentum, the Energy Department will provide a four-part educational webinar series and resources in the first four months of 2016 to further assist entities as they work to increase and accelerate investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

This series will focus financing best practices for clean energy investments: how to get started, market assessment and product offerings, accessing capital and leveraging existing financing tools, and measuring impact and data collection.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2015. All rights reserved.


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