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Published on December 24th, 2013 | by Silvio Marcacci


New York Green Bank Gets $210 Million In Start-Up Funding

December 24th, 2013 by  

While most Americans wait around to see what’s waiting for them under the Christmas tree, it looks like New York State’s clean energy industry got to open its present a few days early.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $210 million in initial capitalization for the New York Green Bank, a new initiative created to leverage public funds into private investment to boost clean energy projects, create green jobs, and improve community climate resiliency.

NY Green Bank, first announced in Cuomo’s 2013 State of the State speech, is now primed to launch in early 2014 en route to its full $1 billion capitalization. “With this funding we will attract greater investment in New York, accelerate clean energy development, and modernize our grid,” said Cuomo.

Green piggy bank

Green piggy bank image via Shutterstock

New York Green Bank Targets Clean Tech Market Barriers 

New York has already become one of America’s clean energy industry leaders, ranking 4th nationally in total generated renewable electricity megawatt-hours and 1st in economic output per kilowatt-hour – but the Green Bank could unlock even more potential.

“New York’s Green Bank will target existing market barriers which currently prevent the widescale deployment of clean energy,” said Richard Kauffman, New York’s Chairman of Energy & Finance. “Merely setting up a competitive market that offers the promise of choice offers only that: a promise unrealized if projects cannot obtain financing.”

The Green Bank will focus on four main areas to overcome these financial barriers: enhancing market participation in renewable and energy efficiency projects by providing credit support and aggregation mechanisms; partnering with project developers, energy service companies, and financial institutions constrained by clean energy project financing; leveraging capital and institutional capabilities of the private sector; and earning returns on investment to preserve and expand its base of capital.

That final point may be the most important of the four, as it’s the key to moving from government subsidies to self-sustaining clean energy engine. The initial $210 million in Green Bank funding combines $165 million in state funds with $45 million in revenue from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). While this innovative blend maximizes the decarbonization potential of RGGI, it’s insufficient to reach the $1 billion goal.

To that end, New York State’s Public Service Commission will provide oversight to ensure Green Bank financial offerings meet criteria designed to help it create return on investment, as well as review and monitor quarterly progress reports.

A Perfect Compliment To Other Policy Efforts? 

Combined with hundreds of millions in funding awarded to solar power projects through the NY-Sun Initiative, a role in the ambitious multi-state 3.3 million electric vehicles by 2025 goal, efforts to build America’s smartest grid, and cutting-edge research designed to boost energy storage technology, the NY Green Bank could be poised to unlock the Empire State’s full clean energy output.

“The New York Green Bank directly complements other clean energy policies and further leverages private capital and ingenuity, bringing additional investment, energy infrastructure and jobs to New York State,” said Michael Brower, ACORE Interim President and CEO. 

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About the Author

Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate policy public relations company based in Oakland, CA.

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