Connecticut Green Bank Among Seven Finalists for Prestigious National Award

Chosen from more than 500 Nominations for the Ash Center’s Innovations in American Government Award

 

Rocky Hill, CT (May 16, 2017) – The Connecticut Green Bank was recently named as one of seven finalists in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition. The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, made the announcement and will host the competition for the $100,000 grand prize in Cambridge.

Recognized for its “Sparking the Green Bank Movement” nomination, the Green Bank was the first of its kind in the United States and has been a thought-leader in green financing innovation since being established in July of 2011. The Green Bank Movement demonstrates how public resources can be better invested in ways that attract more private investment in our communities, lead to deployment of more green energy by local contractors, and most importantly providing positive value to consumers.

 “We created the Connecticut Green Bank in 2011 to accelerate the deployment of clean energy in our state in order to promote energy security and economic growth, create new jobs in the clean energy sector, and address climate change,” Governor Malloy said. “Making clean energy more affordable and accessible to consumers by leveraging limited public funds to attract private capital investment is a way that we can make our own positive impact in the global climate change efforts.”

This is only the third time a Connecticut initiative has been honored since the inception of the American Government Awards in 1985. In that time, more than 27,000 nominations have been submitted, with nearly 500 initiatives recognized including from Connecticut the Hartford Action Plan on Infant Health (1986 Finalist) and Supportive Housing Pilot (2006 Winner).

“The Connecticut Green Bank has sparked a green bank movement that is leading to local, state, and national government consideration of public-private partnerships to scale-up clean energy deployment that wisely and strategically uses public resources,” stated Reed Hundt, Founder and CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital, the non-profit organization that nominated the Green Bank.

 Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government program at the Ash Center, called the recognized programs “the vanguard of creative, solution-oriented governing, demonstrating that the drive to make government work better and do more comes from all levels and jurisdictions of every size. These programs are focused on an impressive range of areas and some of the country’s most pressing social concerns, including the opioid epidemic, government efficiency and efficacy, environmental conservation, homelessness, and the school and workforce readiness of our citizens.”

 “The Connecticut Green Bank is helping consumers and small businesses lower their energy cost burden by providing them with access to capital to finance clean energy improvements on their property,” stated Catherine Smith, Chair of the Connecticut Green Bank and Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development.  “On behalf of the Board of Directors, we want to recognize all of the finalists in this Ash Center competition, including our Connecticut team.  It is terrific to see these government-based innovations now being recognized by this esteemed panel of judges.”

 The Green Bank will compete before a National Selection Committee for the distinction of being the Innovations Award winner.

To learn more about the top programs in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition, please visit https://ash.harvard.edu/news/ash-center-announces-finalists-and-top-25-programs-innovations-american-government-award. The presentations by the finalists will be livestreamed on Wednesday, May 17 on the Ash Center website at http://ash.harvard.edu.

 Supportive Quotes from Connecticut’s General Assembly

  • “The Connecticut Green Bank is a national model for green financing innovation,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “This is further recognition that the Connecticut Green Bank has the set standard for attracting private investment in green, sustainable projects.”

  • “In this time of highly competitive public dollars, the Green Bank has been a great partner in utilizing public-private partnerships to increase energy efficiency programs throughout our state. I applaud the Green Bank for its leadership and ingenuity in moving our state to a more energy efficient future,” said Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme), Co-Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee.

  • “This nomination is a testament to the effective and innovative work they have been able to accomplish since their creation in 2011,” said Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin/Southington). “In six short years the Connecticut Green Bank has put Connecticut on the map as a leader in the clean energy finance movement. They are an invaluable asset to our state, and it is great to see their hard work recognized at the national level.”

  • “It is no surprise to me that the Green Bank is among the few finalists being considered for the Innovations in American Government Awards,” said Representative Laura Hoydick (R-Stratford), Ranking Member of the Legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee. “The Connecticut Green Bank has been a leader in making businesses, cities, towns and homes more energy efficient, leading to lower overall energy costs for all.  They have a proactive model that promotes innovation, and other states would do well to look at their successes and emulate their work.”

  • “The Green Bank combines innovative thinking with prompt action to solve problems and produce real world results,” said State Representative Lonnie Reed (D-Branford), House Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee. “It demonstrates daily how government can and must play a vital role if we are to truly confront challenges and get things done. I feel incredibly proud that our first in the nation Green Bank continues to earn such national recognition and acclaim.”

 

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation fosters excellence in government around the world in order to generate and strengthen democracy.  Through its awards program, its research, publications, and curriculum support, and its global network, the Ash Center champions critical milestones in creative and effective governance and democratic practice.  By highlighting exemplary government programs, by generating and supporting research and curriculum materials, and by engaging a broad, global community in which knowledge is shared, the Center serves as a catalyst for successfully addressing many of the world’s most pressing concerns and, in turn, improving the lives of its citizens.

The Ash Center is housed at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

 

About the Innovations Program

The Innovations in American Government Program identifies and promotes creative problem solving in the public sector through a national awards program that confers broad public recognition and monetary grants on innovative government programs.  Since its inception in 1985, the Program has recognized over 500 innovative programs (from more than 27,000 nominations), which have received over $22 million in grants.  The Ford Foundation is the founding donor of the Innovations in America Government Program.

 

About the Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank was established through bipartisan support of the Connecticut General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. As the nation’s first full-scale green bank, it is leading the clean energy finance movement by leveraging public and private funds to scale-up renewable energy deployment and energy efficiency projects across Connecticut. The Green Bank’s success in accelerating private investment in clean energy is helping Connecticut create jobs, increase economic prosperity, promote energy security and address climate change. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com.

 

New England Hydropower Energizes First Archimedes Screw Turbine site in U. S.

Financed by the Connecticut Green Bank, the green, fish friendly project to provide renewable electricity to the City of Meriden, CT

 

MERIDEN, CT (April 27, 2017) — New England Hydropower Company, LLC (NEHC) announced today that it has energized the first Archimedes Screw Turbine generation facility in the United States at the Hanover Pond project in Meriden, Connecticut. The facility, financed with a combination of public and private capital via the first official “Green Bond” issued by the Connecticut Green Bank (Green Bank), is expected to generate 920,000 kWh of electricity annually to Meriden under a long-term agreement with the City.

NEHC was given approval to energize to the Eversource distribution system in the first quarter of 2017. This follows electrical interface and controls integration, and a successful “witness” test establishing the project’s ability to provide power to the grid.

The Power Purchase Agreement with Meriden takes advantage of Connecticut’s virtual net metering regulations. As a qualified Class I renewable energy producer, the project participates in Connecticut’s Zero Emission Renewable Energy Credit Program (ZREC). These two state programs, when taken together with the Green Bank’s innovative use of federally supported New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) to dramatically reduce the project’s capital costs, are now allowing the City of Meriden to benefit from lower cost energy while at the same time going green.

The modern AST integrates automated electronic monitoring, controls, and safety systems. It is a proven technology with over 100 generating systems in Europe and the UK derived in concept from the ancient world.

A primary environmental advantage of the run-of-river system is that it provides safe downstream fish passage in the slow rotating screw turbine with limited turbulence at the exit. Working with state and federal natural resource agencies, NEHC is conducting migratory and resident fish studies at the adjacent fish passage at Hanover Pond to augment highly successful studies in the UK.

“Our goal from the inception of the company,” said Michael Kerr, CEO and Founder, “was that success at Hanover Pond would lead the way to market acceptance of the Archimedes Screw Turbine technology in the U.S.” The company researched thousands of legacy dams from the industrial revolution to determine ownership, assess technical, regulatory and commercial viability.

“We believed from the outset that our work with regulatory agencies to understand their requirements and work toward streamlining our processes,” continued Kerr, “would be essential to improving our pathway to developing green energy in the small-scale hydro sector.”

Following the permitting process, NEHC mobilized for construction at the site in September 2016, and the sluiceway, powerhouse and Archimedes screw trough were all completed to accept machinery in December 2016 for operation in April 2017.

“When we started this project, we embarked on a journey with many challenges. This was not a large transaction by any of the typical measures – project cost, kilowatts, the footprint of the project – but its significance as an innovative financing solution can’t be overstated,” said Bert Hunter, EVP & Chief Investment Officer, Connecticut Green Bank. “Transformational projects like this hydropower initiative at Hanover Pond in Meriden require collaboration among many partners, including NEHC as developer and the team from Bank of America who led the bond structuring and purchase on their end.’

“Now that we’ve done this first one,” Hunter continued, “the Green Bank looks forward to future success in financing the development of more of Connecticut’s small-scale hydro resources.”

 

About NEHC: NEHC was formed in 2011 to develop, operate and own small-scale Archimedes Screw Turbine-based electric generation projects to support renewable, state and federal green energy objectives. The company provides the U.S. renewable energy market with a proven, environmentally sound, fish-friendly technology. For more information, please visit: www.nehydropower.com

 

About the Connecticut Green Bank: The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. As the nation’s first full-scale green bank, it is leading the clean energy finance movement by leveraging public and private funds to scale-up renewable energy deployment and energy efficiency projects across Connecticut. For more information, please visit: www.ctgreenbank.com

 

 

 

Media contacts:

NEHC

Chris Conover

860-729-9767

[email protected]

 

Connecticut Green Bank

Rudy Sturk

[email protected]

GRID Alternatives Launches Multifamily Affordable Solar Program in Connecticut

Collaboration with Connecticut Green Bank will open up solar, reduce energy costs for hundreds of multifamily buildings serving low-income families.

Solar panels are installed by GRID Alternatives at Fair Street Apartments in Norwalk.

April 27, 2017GRID Alternatives, America’s largest nonprofit solar installer, today announced expansion of its multifamily affordable solar program into the Connecticut market. The program helps affordable housing owners and operators reduce energy costs with solar, providing no-cost technical assistance, as well as turnkey solar design and installation services.

The expansion was announced today at a live solar installation on the 57-unit Fair Street Apartments in Norwalk. The project, financed by the Connecticut Green Bank, is one of the first of its kind in the state, and will provide over $360,000 in lifetime energy cost savings for affordable housing provider New Neighborhoods Inc. It also includes energy efficiency education for residents and hands-on solar workforce training for local job trainees and community college students.

Fair Street Apartments is part of a portfolio that GRID evaluated under its technical assistance program, which is provided at no cost through a grant from The JPB Foundation. Nearly 300 multifamily affordable housing buildings in the Connecticut

Volunteers from the Connecticut Green Bank helped install solar panels at the Norwalk site earlier this week.

Housing Finance Authority’s State-Sponsored Housing Portfolio have been evaluated for their solar potential.

The Connecticut Green Bank, which aims to accelerate investment in clean energy deployment in the state, will review the properties deemed suitable for solar and provide interested properties with financing for installation by GRID Alternatives or another qualified solar installer. The offering will expand solar deployment on Connecticut’s multifamily affordable housing stock, lowering operating costs while helping the state meet its goal of 27 percent renewable energy by 2020.

“Solar can make a huge financial difference for affordable housing owners, saving them money that can be applied to building upkeep and tenant services, and directly reducing rents in some cases,” said Peter Mandelstam, Executive Director of GRID Alternatives Tri-State, which serves New York, New Jersey and now Connecticut. “We are excited to partner with Connecticut in opening up solar access for this market.”

“By reducing the energy burden on multifamily affordable properties, we are ensuring inclusive prosperity in Connecticut’s clean energy economy,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank. “This partnership with GRID Alternatives not only helps put solar on suitable buildings, but offers local job training putting people to work. It’s a win-win.”

GRID’s ongoing national expansion efforts are supported by a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. The Fair Street installation is additionally sponsored by NRG Energy, Ardsley Partners, and GRID Alternatives’ national equipment partners: SunPower, Enphase Energy, Jinko Solar, IronRidge, and Schneider Electric.

Multifamily housing owners and developers interested in learning more about GRID’s no-cost technical assistance and solar offerings can visit www.gridalternatives.org/multifamily.

Gov. Malloy Appoints Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to Serve on the Connecticut Green Bank

Hartford, CT (4/17/2017) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he is appointing Gina McCarthy to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Green Bank.

McCarthy most recently served as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama. Previously, she served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (now known as the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection) under Governor M. Jodi Rell. During her extensive career, McCarthy has worked at both the state and local levels on critical environmental issues and helped coordinate policies on economic growth, energy, transportation, and the environment.

“As the Connecticut Green Bank demonstrates how mobilizing private investment into our clean energy economy can reduce the energy burden on households and businesses while creating jobs in our communities, it is imperative that these investments also improve public health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Governor Malloy said. “Gina McCarthy will be fantastic advocate for advancing these causes. She has dedicated her career towards advocating for the very issues that the Connecticut Green Bank seeks to accomplish, and we are thrilled to have her expertise back in Connecticut serving the people of our state.”

The Connecticut Green Bank is a quasi-public authority created through legislation Governor Malloy signed in 2011 with the mission of accelerating deployment of clean energy by using limited public dollars to attract private capital investment in clean energy products. In doing so, the organization helps the state in encouraging the creation of new jobs in the clean energy sector, promoting economic prosperity and energy security, and addressing climate change. As the nation’s first full-scale green bank, the organization partners with private-sector investors to create low-cost, long-term, sustainable financing to implement green energy measures in the residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, and infrastructure sectors.

“I look forward to reuniting with my colleagues in Connecticut and representing Governor Malloy on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Green Bank,” McCarthy said. “There is no greater imperative at this time than mobilizing more private investment in clean energy deployment in communities throughout Connecticut and across this country to combat global climate change. I am discovering that there is a need and urgency for more green banks in cities, counties, and states across the nation.”

“Gina McCarthy is a great choice and I welcome her experienced voice on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Green Bank,” Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith, who also serves as Chairwoman of the Connecticut Green Bank’s Board of Directors, said. “Gina has been a tireless champion fighting against climate change and creating green jobs here and on a national level from Washington, D.C. Now she returns to the state to build on her work in helping the Green Bank make green energy accessible and affordable as we continue to tackle the impact of climate change and work to expand our green economy.”

McCarthy received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and a joint Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering and Planning and Policy from Tufts University.

Connecticut Green Bank Staff Appointed to PACENation Board of Directors, Leadership Council

EVP/CIO Bert Hunter named to PACENation board; VP Mackey Dykes to serve on Leadership Council

 

Rocky Hill, CT (March 27, 2017) – The Connecticut Green Bank is proud to announce that Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Bert Hunter has been named to the PACENation Board of Directors. Additionally, Vice President Commercial and Industrial Programs Mackey Dykes has been appointed to serve on the PACENation Leadership Council, an advisory committee for the organization.

PACENation is a movement of people and organizations united in their support for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. PACENation works towards a future in which PACE financing is used to fund energy efficiency, renewable energy, and resiliency upgrades to homes and commercial buildings in every municipality across the United States. Currently, PACE programs are operating in 19 states, including Connecticut, which has a thriving Commercial PACE (C-PACE) program.

“We are very glad that Bert agreed to join our Board,” said David Gabrielson, Executive Director of PACENation. “He’s got a very extensive background in finance and investment, and he’s a leading expert in clean energy finance and PACE. It’s a perfect fit and he will be a great asset as we continue to promote the value of PACE.”

As the Connecticut Green Bank’s Chief Investment Officer, Hunter leads the development of new and innovative financing programs designed to attract more private capital to scale-up the state’s clean energy investments. In its first five years, the Green Bank has used its resources to drive more than $1 billion of clean energy investment in Connecticut. Projects recorded through FY 2016 show that for every $1 of public funds committed by the Green Bank that an additional $6 in private investment occurred in the economy, which has helped create thousands of jobs in our communities, prevented the emissions of millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and facilitated rapid growth in the deployment of clean energy.

After joining the Connecticut Green Bank in 2012, Dykes served as their Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In that role, he helped lead the transformation, development and implementation of the Green Bank’s clean energy financing mission as well as running its day-to-day operations. In 2016, Dykes assumed responsibility for the Commercial, Industrial and Institutional portfolio, and through programs such as C-PACE, he helps commercial and industrial building owners, non-profits, schools and hospitals access affordable capital for clean energy projects. Prior to joining the Green Bank, Dykes was the White House Liaison at the U.S. Department of Energy.

The formation of the Leadership Council will create a more formal means for members to share insights on the market, ideas, opinions, and advice with PACENation staff and its Board of Directors.

“Our goal is to create a Council whose members are leaders in the PACE marketplace and whose composition really reflects the breadth of organizations from all sectors that have been working constructively toward making PACE financing available to all building owners throughout the U.S.” said Gabrielson, adding “Mackey has helped build one of the most successful C-PACE programs in the country.”

For more information on Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com.

 

About the Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. As the nation’s first full-scale green bank, it is leading the clean energy finance movement by leveraging public and private funds to scale-up renewable energy deployment and energy efficiency projects across Connecticut. The Green Bank’s success in accelerating private investment in clean energy is helping Connecticut create jobs, increase economic prosperity, promote energy security and address climate change. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com.

 

About PACENation

PACENation is the national, non-profit advocacy organization for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. To learn more about PACENation, please visit pacenation.us

 

 

For More Information, Contact:

Rudy Sturk

[email protected]

 

 

Building a Market for Renewable Thermal Technologies

March 23, 2017 – Though a mature technology, renewable thermals occupy a small niche in Connecticut — and in the U.S. at large. A new Yale-led study analyzes the market potential of this technology across the state and provides key insights into spurring consumer demand.

According to the analysis, led by the Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY), renewable thermals have significant market potential in the state if supported by appropriate public policy and financing tools. Renewable thermal technologies comprise a range of products—from solar water heaters to district energy systems — all designed to use renewable energy in the cooling of space and the heating of both space and water.

Collectively, the use of energy for thermal purposes accounts for roughly one-third of all U.S. energy consumption. In Connecticut, over 60 percent of the energy used in residential and commercial buildings is for space heating and cooling; this demand, combined with the energy used to heat water, account for 30 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Switching from conventional fossil fuel providers of thermal energy to RTTs could offer significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions — of particular relevance as Connecticut aims to reduce emissions to 80 percent below 2001 levels by 2050.

“Renewable heating and cooling are not as visible or high profile as renewable electricity, but holds an enormous reservoir of possibility for utilizing local resources to off-set fossil fuels. Like renewable electricity, renewable heating and cooling need supportive policies and financing products to kick start a viable market,” says Helle Gronli, associate research scientist at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) and director of the Feasibility of Renewable Thermal Technologies in Connecticut project (FORTT).

The FORTT team is based at the Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY) and is part of a larger coalition that includes the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Eversource Energy, the United Illuminating Company, and the Connecticut Green Bank. CBEY is based at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Yale School of Management.

The first part of the study analyzed the market potential of RTTs in Connecticut through 2050. The findings suggest that RTTs could competitively serve 19 percent of thermal demand in buildings across the state. Annually, this represents the curtailment of 1.4 million tons of CO2e emissions. However, realizing Connecticut’s overall goal requires a considerably higher rate of RTT deployment than what currently is found competitive.

The second part of the study, more behavioral in nature, revealed existing barriers and drivers that influence whether or not consumers choose to adopt renewable thermal technologies. Through a series of in-depth interviews across the range of RTT stakeholders, the findings revealed interventions needed to establish a marketplace in which RTTs are both viable and trusted alternatives to non-renewable technologies. The results can be distilled into four core insights:

  1. Public institutions, which tend to be both large property owners and heavy energy users, should show direction by adopting RTTs internally and establishing external regulation (e.g. building codes) to encourage the development of the nascent market and increase customer awareness.
  2. Innovative financial products and strategies to improve the value proposition of RTT investments are needed to help the financing of RTTs achieve scale; this, in turn, will reduce upfront costs.
  3. Resources must be deployed to develop a competent and competitive regional industry. A well-supported and trustworthy base of installers and experts focused on the RTT industry directly supports consumer trust in this new market.
  4. New policies should be considered to create value streams attached to RTTs. Thermal renewable energy credits, carbon pricing and voluntary markets for clean energy are clear examples, as are building certification schemes through which property value and market rents reflect efficient thermal technologies.

“In order for us to achieve our long-term climate change strategies in Connecticut, we are going to need to scale-up the deployment of renewable thermal technologies in households and businesses throughout the state,” states Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank. “By working together with Avangrid, Eversource, and Yale we can attract private investment to scale-up the deployment of renewable thermal technology while creating jobs and helping consumers.”

On the supply side, the study shows that clear policy guidelines and standardized regulatory processes are needed to build a fluid and efficient RTT market.

Among consumers, RTTs tend to suffer from a deficit of awareness. Marketing campaigns to raise their profile, similar to Connecticut’s recent “Solarize” campaign, could go a long way to increasing demand and lowering soft costs. These efforts could be paired with financial tools, whether block grants or leasing agreements, to help defray upfront installation costs—one of the central barriers to adoption.

“This report builds our understanding of the work that’s needed to support the deployment of renewable thermal technologies in Connecticut,” said Rob Klee, Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). “Developing a sustainable market for renewable thermal technologies will help us reach Connecticut’s climate change goals as part of the work of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, while at the same time advancing implementation of our Comprehensive Energy Strategy.”

Download full copies of the reports here.

 

 

Speaker Aresimowicz Appoints Affordable Housing and Finance Expert Betsy Crum to Join the Connecticut Green Bank

Rocky Hill, CT (March 14, 2017) – The Connecticut Green Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of a new member to its Board of Directors. Ms. Betsy Crum comes to the Board with substantial background in affordable housing development and finance serving communities of need.

“I am excited to help the Connecticut Green Bank serve its mission, particularly among historically disadvantaged households or distressed communities,” said Crum. “Families in these households face high energy burdens, and really require attention and investment to fix the health and safety problems that get in the way of installing energy improvements. I am honored that Speaker Aresimowicz asked me to join the Board of Directors of the nation’s first green bank.”

Since 2015, Ms. Crum has been the Executive Director of the Women’s Institute for Housing & Economic Development, a non-profit housing development corporation focused on creating and preserving affordable and supportive housing for low income families and individuals. From 2011 to 2015, she was Executive Director of the Connecticut Housing Coalition, and from 2005 to 2010 she was Director of Real Estate for the Women’s Institute for Housing & Economic Development. Before stepping into these positions, she served in leadership roles with the Corporation for Supportive Housing; with Co-op Initiatives, Inc.; and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority. Ms. Crum had an early career with community development and housing coordinator roles for the Towns of Enfield and Plainville and with the Connecticut Department of Housing.

Ms. Crum is an honors scholar from the University of Connecticut with a BA in Urban Studies, with distinction. Her recent professional affiliations include chairing the Journey Home Hartford Board of Directors; a member of the CT Interagency Council on Affordable Housing; a member of the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations; being Housing Chair for the Partnership for Strong Communities’ “Opening Doors – CT” framework, and being Chair of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston Advisory Council.

Catherine Smith, Commissioner for the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, added, “As the Chair of the Connecticut Green Bank, I am pleased that Speaker Aresimowicz has appointed Betsy to the Board of Directors. Betsy has the background to ensure that we are fulfilling our mission to attract private investment in clean energy deployment in Connecticut, reduce the energy burden on households and businesses, create jobs in our communities, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. The Green Bank has made great strides in the past couple years in helping low-to-moderate income families get access to savings on their energy bills through clean energy improvements.”

Ms. Crum was appointed by Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin/Southington). “The legislature created Connecticut Green Bank in 2011 to attract private investment in clean energy and provide increased access to more affordable financing for clean energy projects,” said Speaker Aresimowicz. “Betsy’s appointment should help the Green Bank with expanding their markets. It is important they let residents and businesses in all locations know there are opportunities in clean energy throughout Connecticut.”

Ms. Crum replaces outgoing board member Patricia Wrice, who also recently retired as Executive Director of Operation Fuel.

 

About the Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. As the nation’s first full-scale green bank, it is leading the clean energy finance movement by leveraging public and private funds to scale-up renewable energy deployment and energy efficiency projects across Connecticut. The Green Bank’s success in accelerating private investment in clean energy is helping Connecticut create jobs, increase economic prosperity, promote energy security and address climate change. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com.

Kresge invests $3 million in Connecticut Green Bank to support solar generation and storage in affordable housing

First round of Kresge Community Finance loans provides $14 million to six CDFIs, DFAs

December 18, 2016 – The Kresge Foundation announced today $14 million in investments to six Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) and Development Finance Agencies (DFAs) working to expand opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities through an initiative called Kresge Community Finance (KCF).

KCF invited proposals from qualifying CDFIs and DFAs working in American cities on projects that align with Kresge’s strategic priorities in six program areas – Arts & Culture, Education, Health, Human Services, Environment and Detroit.

Kresge Community Finance wordmarkMore than 130 organizations submitted proposals for funding, representing more than $280 million in capital requests. The resulting investments from Kresge’s Social Investment Practice pair standardized loans, available for up to 10 years, with small operating grants.

Program-related investments made in the first round of Kresge Community Finance funding include:

  • $3 million to Reinvestment Fund to support creative placemaking efforts in Baltimore, Atlanta and New Orleans.
  • $3 million to Connecticut Green Bank to support the installation of solar generation and storage systems in affordable housing and other community facilities in Connecticut’s urban and coastal communities.
  • $1 million to the Cooperative Fund of New England to support the development of resident/member-owned and managed cooperative housing, and healthy food retail projects in cities in Southern New England.
  • $3 million to Enterprise Community Loan Fund for the equitable revitalization of the Jefferson-Chalmers Corridor in Detroit’s East Jefferson neighborhood.
  • $3 million to Boston Community Capital in support of its collaboration with MassDevelopment, Massachusetts’ economic development and finance authority, to finance mixed-use projects in Massachusetts cities pursuing community-led placemaking redevelopment.
  • $1 million to Capital Impact Partners in support of its partnership with the Memphis Medical District Collaborative to finance and promote community development, residential density and walkability.

In total, the Foundation plans to award up to $30 million in financing and up to $1.5 million in grants through KCF to at least 15 organizations. Additional investments through KCF will be announced in 2017.

“We wanted to test the demand for a standardized product of patient capital for CDFIs and DFAs,” said Joe Evans, the foundation’s portfolio manager, Social Investment Practice, “and to demonstrate to other investors an efficient approach to meeting the capital needs of low-income communities.”

Kresge’s Social Investment Practice uses a variety of financial tools to invest in projects that bring both a social and financial return. The foundation has committed to investing $350 million in social investments by 2020.

“To move that amount of money, we wanted to explore innovative ways of sourcing and funding a large pipeline of investments that advance our mission, while balancing risk and portfolio construction considerations,” said Kimberlee Cornett, Kresge’s managing director, Social Investments Practice. “The demand for KCF proved to us that there is a market for this type of product, and we’re thrilled to partner with and support so many important efforts that will improve opportunity for thousands of low-income people.”

CDFIs are private nonprofits that leverage private sector investment to provide financing and technical assistance for a range of community development activities, including job creation, small business development, housing and other community development.

DFAs are public, private and non-profit development entities that provide financing for programs that foster job creation and economic development with a focus on growing housing and employment opportunities in low income communities.

Does Connecticut’s Green Bank Hold the Secret to the Future of Clean Energy?

With the goal of getting clean energy development less dependent on government funds, the state’s Green Bank may be the model for success in a Trump presidency.

 

By Jan Ellen Spiegel, InsideClimate NEWS

 

ROCKY HILL, Conn. (Dec. 12, 2016) —Bryan Garcia, president of the Connecticut Green Bank, said he knew five years ago when it was created that it would be an important model for funding clean energy projects.

He didn’t know it might become critical for funding them.

In the face of a Donald Trump presidency that dismisses climate change and threatens to ignore its solutions, the future of clean energy may rely heavily on new approaches like the ones pioneered by the Connecticut Green Bank, the first-ever statewide one. The bank’s mission is to leverage limited public money into even more private investment in clean energy so eventually there is no need for public money. That would create jobs, lower energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The green bank model may be an attractive tool under a Trump presidency,” Garcia said. “Public-private partnerships like ours spur investment in local clean energy economies that create jobs and ultimately mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Connecticut bank said it has surpassed $1 billion in money put in play—some for loans, other money for default security— with an average of $6 in private funding created from every $1 in public money. It has designed a dozen or more clean energy and efficiency financial products, programs and marketing efforts. Best known is its heralded Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, C-PACE, program that is transforming how commercial properties finance clean energy and energy efficiency improvements.

The bank says it has created nearly 215 megawatts of clean power across more than 20,000 projects, the equivalent of nearly 13,000 jobs directly for clean energy companies and other businesses that benefit from clean energy, and saved more than 2.6 million tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted.

Initially the private banking community saw the bank as competition, but has come around so much that two early popular programs are now run solely by private banks. Officials say several private companies have launched specifically because of opportunities created by the bank’s success.

“Our goal is to be catalytic,” Garcia said. “These problems aren’t going to be solved by taxpayers and ratepayers. These problems are going to be solved by bringing more private investment into the clean energy economies.”

“It’s exceeded all expectations,” said Reed Hundt, the founder and chief executive of the nonprofit Coalition for Green Capital. Hundt, a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission under President Bill Clinton, sits on the Connecticut Green Bank board of directors.

The green bank idea was hatched by Hundt and Dan Esty, a Yale University professor specializing in business, law and the environment and a former EPA official, while both were working on President Obama’s transition team.

Esty had long espoused the concept that clean energy and combating climate change could create new businesses and jobs. In 2011, he became commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Green Bank was born.

“Your goal is to get people into the real market where they can operate without government support or subsidy,” said Esty, who is no longer commissioner. He believes industry, not government, should pick technologies. “The key role of government was to de-risk the flow of funds into clean energy.”

The bank replaced the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, a quasi-governmental organization funded by $27 million annually in electricity ratepayer fees given out as rebates.

The bank still gets those ratepayer fees along with just under a quarter of the state’s proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auctions and periodic federal government and nonprofit grants.

But now that money is used mostly for loans and other mechanisms to draw private investment.

Growing Pains

Garcia and Bert Hunter, a veteran banker hired as the bank’s chief financial officer, learned early they would have to more than just show up with money to get private banks to work with them. They would have to invent programs; explain to banks, developers and contractors how they would work; market the programs and financial products; and invest so others could see the bank wasn’t afraid to risk its own money.

“Our role is to get things started,” Hunter said.

It worked.

David Cantor, senior vice president and business banking team leader for First Niagara, recently purchased by KeyBank, said Hunter smoothed the way for his bank to invest in a commercial solar lease financing program as a first foray into clean energy financing. His bank has now committed more than $17 million to the program.

“They would come to us and they would say ‘here’s project X,'” he said. “‘We’ll provide a guarantee or we’ll provide some financing behind you or we’ll make sure we’ll facilitate the contracts.'”

The experience made them confident enough to finance a small hydro project and an anaerobic digester in Connecticut and solar projects in Massachusetts and New York.

Webster Bank had also never done clean energy financing before it got involved with a 1.4 megawatt fuel cell installation. The Bank walked Webster through the basics of clean energy, fuel cells, third-party ownership and kicked in 20 percent of its own money to buy down what Webster had to finance.

“Without the grant,” said Carolyn Morrison, Webster’s vice president for commercial banking, “We might not have financed the full value.”

Something for Everyone, Almost

The most versatile of the bank’s products is the Smart-E loan, a low-interest, all-purpose clean energy and energy efficiency loan for homeowners.

Across the state, 10 community banks and credit unions handle the loans. They can be used to purchase solar systems, install insulation and windows and even convert from oil to natural gas heat.

“Once we understood the nature of how it was going to work,” said Brian Skarda senior vice president for residential and consumer lending at Union Savings Bank, “it really didn’t take much convincing at all.”

For every dollar the Green Bank has put into the Smart-E loan program, banks like Union Savings have contributed $10, the most dramatic leverage rate in the Green Bank’s portfolio.

The Bank also started two residential solar-specific loans, one for purchases and one for leases. The lease loans have now migrated to private leasing companies only, such as SolarCity. One purchase loan program also migrated to the private sector, helping a Massachusetts startup called Sungage Financial survive.

After a terrible experience trying to find a loan for a solar system on her own home, Sungage founder Sara Ross took an idea to the Green Bank: base the loan on long-term electricity savings, not equity in the home itself. The pilot project produced 280 loans worth nearly $6 million. Sungage’s loan program has been scooped up by Digital Federal Credit Union and now operates in seven states.

Finding the Green Bank, Ross said was “like winning Megabucks.”

A Wider Success Story

Property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs provide loans for clean energy and efficiency upgrades that can be paid back through assessments on property tax bills. Connecticut’s C-PACE isn’t the first of these; 25 states already had something similar, but the Green Bank perfected it for commercial properties.

It’s designed so the energy savings more than cover the loan—which can be for 100 percent of the cost with payback over up to 20 years. If the property is sold, the remaining loan goes with it. The bank partnered with the clean energy financing group Hannon Armstrong to provide $100 million for the program.

But what the bank did more than anything was work out a compromise over who would get paid back first if the property owner defaulted on the loan, a problem for many PACE programs. So far, the bank has been successful in getting 124 of the Connecticut’s 169 municipalities, accounting for 95 percent of the state’s commercial and industrial space, to agree to use C-PACE.

More than 150 projects worth about $95 million have been financed through C-PACE.

“C-PACE really made us able to tackle big energy savings projects that would have been far outside our ability,” said Brett Wilderman of Forstone Capital, who said the savings are even higher than anticipated on the two projects his firm launched.

Providing a Model

The bank also finally found success in the hard-to-crack low-income market by partnering with PosiGen, a solar company created in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. In less than two years, it has installed more than 500 systems in Connecticut, impressing chief executive Tom Neyhart so much, he’s moved his northeast base to the state.

Many like Neyhart see the bank as a model for other states, only a few of which have any form of green bank, and as the backbone for a national green or infrastructure bank.

“The circumstances in each state will be different,” said Dan Reicher, the executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University. He considers Connecticut C-PACE among the top clean energy finance models, but while he called green banks a good model, he noted that needs, political leadership and utility regulations can differ radically from state to state.

But there are lessons for other states from Connecticut, Esty said. Those include a solid legal framework, a bipartisan policy backbone from government that doesn’t dictate all the specifics, attention for the concerns of all participants. But lesson number one, he said is, “Change is really hard to deliver even when the status quo plainly is not working. There will be opposition.”

Connecticut Green Bank Turns Five

Enabling Households and Businesses to reduce their Energy Burden while Growing Investment in the State’s Clean Energy Economy

Rocky Hill, CT (December 8, 2016) – The Connecticut Green Bank is marking five years of exceptional progress toward its goal of reducing the energy burden on households and businesses by mobilizing private investment into the state’s clean energy economy. Formed in 2011 by Governor Dannel Malloy and the General Assembly, the Connecticut Green Bank was the first of its kind in the United States. Today, it is not only considered the standard-bearer of the green bank movement but is also serving as the template for a recent national green bank proposal in Congress.

Since its inception in 2011, the Connecticut Green Bank and its private investment partners have deployed over a $1 billion in capital for clean energy projects across the state. Projects recorded through FY 2016 show that for every $1 of public funds committed by the Green Bank that an additional $6 in private investment occurred in the economy. As a result, the Connecticut Green Bank projects have helped create thousands of jobs in our communities, prevented the emissions of millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and facilitated rapid growth in the deployment of clean energy. All of which is contributing to a reduction of the energy burden on households and businesses in the state.

Through its many public-private partnerships, the Green Bank helps make clean energy more affordable and accessible to Connecticut households and businesses by making capital available for them to finance clean energy improvements on their properties. These improvements result in a lowering of their energy costs, which helps households better manage their budgets and businesses to increase their bottom-line.
To that end, the Connecticut Green Bank is demonstrating how the smart use of public funds can mobilize more private investment in the state’s economy. One such example is the rapid deployment of rooftop solar PV on homes throughout the state. While state incentives have dropped by more than 80 percent in the past 5 years, the deployment has increased by over 2500 percent as a result of providing households with more affordable and accessible financing solutions from local lenders. More and more homes are demanding solar PV because it lowers their energy costs while at the same time driving more private investment into the economy and creating more jobs in our communities.

“The Connecticut Green Bank is leading the green bank movement to accelerate private capital investment in clean energy deployment in Connecticut to achieve economic prosperity, create jobs, promote energy security, and address climate change,” said Bryan Garcia, President of the Connecticut Green Bank. “Thank you to the Governor, Connecticut General Assembly, board of directors and staff, and our partners and stakeholders for mobilizing investment into our state’s clean energy economy.”

For more information on Connecticut Green Bank’s signature C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy), Smart-E programs and other clean energy initiatives, please follow the links provided or visit our website.

About the Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. As the nation’s first full-scale green bank, it is leading the clean energy finance movement by leveraging public and private funds to scale-up renewable energy deployment and energy efficiency projects across Connecticut. The Green Bank’s success in accelerating private investment in clean energy is helping Connecticut create jobs, increase economic prosperity, promote energy security and address climate change. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Information, Contact:

Rudy Sturk

(860) 259-1154

 

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