DC mayor to propose green bank for efficiency, renewables investments

Dive Brief:

  • Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser last week announced she is planning to introduce legislation to establish a green bank, in order to fund efficiency upgrades, add renewables, lower emissions and create jobs.
  • Washington would be the first city to establish a green bank, though states like New York and Connecticut already have moved to establish similar financing authorities.
  • The bank, which The Washington Post reports would be funded with $7 million in city dollars, could offer loans, leases, and other financing services to give green energy projects more security.

Dive Insight:

Bowser said she would introduce legislation in the coming weeks to establish a green bank, moving the nation's capital into a leadership position in clean energy funding. The mayor said D.C. would be the first city to establish a green bank, and as the nation’s capital, "we need to lead the way when it comes to protecting and preserving the environment." But in order to establish the bank, the District will need to put in place an independent financing authority according to the Post. 

In its statement, the city said green banks tend to invest in "mature clean energy projects," like solar energy systems, efficiency upgrades and clean transportation. The bank would look to assist in funding projects by filling in private capital gaps by taking some of the risk off the table and absorbing transaction costs.

Department of Energy and Environment Director Tommy Wells said the DC Green Bank will pair private capital with public investment "to more efficiently achieve our ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and to further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels," in the statement. 

Green banks have been gaining traction as ways for governments to keep investments in efficiency flowing. Last year, the New York Green Bank said it wanted to increase its portfolio by two-thirds and invest $200 million in 2017.

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Filed Under: Efficiency & Demand Response