by Staff Writers
Albany NY (SPX) Sep 25, 2017
The Green Bank Network has closed transactions that are expected to mobilize more than US$29 billion in public and private capital for clean energy projects around the globe, putting them on pace to exceed their collective goal of US$40 billion by 2019. The announcement was made at the 5th annual Green Bank Congress, part of ClimateWeek NYC. Green Bank Network members are mobilizing as much as 10 dollars in total investment for every one dollar of public capital invested in clean energy projects.
Green Banks are dedicated banking and finance institutions created to work closely with the private sector to increase overall investment in clean energy and bring clean energy financing into the mainstream. The members of the Green Bank Network are investing across the technology spectrum, including wind, utility and small-scale solar, energy efficiency, low-carbon transport, combined heat and power, anaerobic digesters, LED street lighting, geothermal and energy storage. They are financing with a variety of products and at all scales - from multibillion dollar offshore wind farms to more energy efficient property and vehicles, to solar for small and medium-sized enterprises and affordable housing properties.
This global group of green banking and financial institutions includes founding members Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Australia), Connecticut Green Bank (US), Green Finance Organisation (Japan), Malaysia Green Technology Corporation, NY Green Bank (US), and Green Investment Group (UK). These organizations have appointed the Coalition for Green Capital and the Natural Resources Defense Council to manage the development of the network, with support from ClimateWorks foundation.
At the conclusion of a members-only meeting following the 5th annual Green Bank Congress, co-hosted by NY Green Bank and CT Green Bank, the founding members announced an intention to create an expanded Green Bank Network membership structure that will allow participation of other financial institutions focused on green infrastructure investment. Expanded membership will offer the opportunity for "Market Members" (such as project developers and commercial banks) and "Affiliate Members" (such as development finance institutions) - which will be integrated into the network along with the current Pure Play Green Bank Members - to participate and connect with Green Banks to share best practices, experiences and market insights, forge partnerships and work together to accelerate growth of global green investment. The group has also modified its current membership - appointing the Green Investment Group (formerly the UK Green Investment Bank, which was recently acquired by Macquarie in a formal privatization process) as its inaugural Market Member, transitioning from a Pure Play Green Bank Network Member.
As existing green banking and finance institutions continue to grow and adapt to meet evolving market needs, new green banking and finance institutions are also being established around the world, at scales both large and small. For instance, in 2017, legislation was introduced for the DC Green Bank in the US, and China announced the creation of five green finance pilot zones. South Africa is moving forward with creating a new Climate Finance Unit at the Development Bank of Southern Africa, and the Indian government is continuing its process to create a Green Investment Fund in India. Green banking and finance institutions are also under consideration in Canada, Mexico, Chile and in more than 10 U.S. states. Also, the first county-level Green Bank has been formed by Montgomery County, Maryland, and expects to launch its first programs this fall.
While the Green Bank model spreads, founding members of the Green Bank Network continue to push green investment to new heights in their target markets. In FY 2016-17 alone, the Australian Clean Energy Finance Corporation made 35 new investment commitments of A$2.1 billion (US$1.68 billion), with a combined project value of A$6.5 billion (US$5.2 billion) and with each A$1 committed by the CEFC matched by A$2 from private sector investors. The CEFC has now been in operation for four full financial years and has made cumulative investment commitments of A$4.3 billion (US$3.44 billion) to projects with a combined project value of A$11 billion (US$8.8 billion).
Before its privatization and change of name to Green Investment Group in August 2017, the UK Green Investment Bank profitably invested nearly GB Pounds 3.5 billion (US$4.5 billion) in 100 UK green infrastructure projects, mobilizing a total of GB Pounds 12 billion (US$15.5 billion) into the low-carbon economy. Malaysia's Green Technology Corporation has worked with 28 financial institutions to make green investments, and projects supported have led to the creation of over 4,600 jobs. Since its formation five years ago, the Connecticut Green Bank has closed transactions totaling US$175 million of its capital for a total investment of US$1.1 billion in total project costs. These projects are reducing the energy burden of nearly 25,000 families and businesses, creating more than 13,000 jobs in Connecticut communities, and reducing 3.7 million tons of global climate change-causing carbon dioxide emissions.
Japan's Green Finance Organisation has invested JP Yen 11 billion (US$100 million) in 27 projects that not only reduce emissions, but also stimulate local economies, achieving a ratio of mobilized private capital per GFO investment of over 10:1. NY Green Bank, the largest in the U.S., has made investments in New York supporting clean energy projects with a value of US$1.4 billion that are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 5.8 million metric tons, the equivalent to removing over 65,300 cars off the road for 20 years.
Looking forward to 2018, the Green Bank Network announced plans to increase investment, collaborate closely to benefit from each other's experience and support other emerging Green Banks.
Takejiro Sueyoshi, CEO of Green Finance Organisation (JAPAN), host of the Green Bank Congress in Tokyo in October 2016, said, "The ban of sales of fossil-fuel cars (gasoline and diesel fueled cars) in France and UK by 2040 and China's plan to follow suits is just an example of accelerated responses of the world to move to zero emissions under the Paris Agreement. On the other hand, corporate disclosure of climate risks and opportunities is dramatically changing, such as the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure's final proposal. As time goes by, the worsening climate change continues to demand more and more progressive reductions of CO2 emissions. A challenge for Green Banks, through the Green Bank Congress in NY, is how to keep themselves on a track to lead the fast-moving global trend towards a zero emission economy by financing green projects in a profitable manner."
Alfred Griffin, President of NY Green Bank, said, "The climate finance market has evolved significantly since we first launched this network a year ago, and as one of the six founding Green Bank members we are pleased to have been on the cutting edge of sustainable infrastructure financing since the earliest days. The progress we have made along with the advancements of our colleagues have been rewarding already, and we look forward to future collaboration in the months and years ahead."
Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of Connecticut Green Bank, said, "We are proud of the Green Bank Network's collective achievements. In Connecticut, our simple promise of increasing affordability and accessibility to green energy has evolved into a greater commitment to our stakeholders. Everything we do, we do to help families thrive and businesses grow. We do it in the interest of achieving inclusive prosperity not only within Connecticut and across the country, but around the world."
Ian Learmonth, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Australia), said, "We continue to take seriously our public policy purpose to increase the flow of finance into the clean energy sector. Decarbonisation requires targeted action to drive down emissions, while moving clean energy technologies down the cost curve to bring diversity to our energy mix. Since the CEFC began investing in 2013, we have operated with the rigour of a commercial financier, while delivering on our clean energy public policy purpose. We continue to work with business, industry sectors, financiers and government to bring practical, competitive and targeted financial solutions to Australia's emissions reduction challenge. Investment through our defined decarbonisation pathways will help Australia achieve net zero emissions by the second half of the century."
Reed Hundt, CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital, said, "Private investment is key to driving climate investment to scale. Green Banks can provide a critical link in the climate finance architecture, using limited public-purpose funding to take on risk and leverage private capital quickly and effectively to support large-scale low-carbon investment and enable countries, cities and states to meet their climate goals."
Douglass Sims, Director of Strategy and Finance at NRDC's Center for Market Innovation, said, "Green banks are demonstrating that fighting climate change is a good financial investment. By building up clean energy sources, as well as smart infrastructure, we can better withstand severe weather events while lowering the climate pollution that fuels them. At the same time, we are creating jobs and lowering energy bills around the world. The Green Bank Network is putting best financing practices into action to continue to grow the clean energy economy at home and abroad."
Chicago IL (SPX) Sep 21, 2017
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