Green Banks Growing in Popularity


By Michael Mock

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently released a study reporting that jobs in the renewable energy sector – particularly solar and wind projects – have grown 20% annually for the past several years. Now with more than 4 million jobs nationwide, the EDF reports job growth in this sector is 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy.

This is good news for both the environment and our economy. In the future, a combination of improving system efficiencies and dropping material costs will support continued rapid growth in this sector.

This growth has attracted the interest of many financial institutions who are investing heavily in green and sustainable building initiatives – bringing their “green” to the green movement. According to the Coalition for Green Capital, Green Banks are public finance authorities that use limited public dollars to leverage greater private investment in clean energy. Their goal is to accelerate clean energy market growth while making energy cheaper and cleaner for consumers, driving job creation, and preserving taxpayer dollars.

Green Banks are in place in several states and others are in the process of being developed – including proposals for such banks in Washington, D.C. Last week, Montgomery County, MD became the first jurisdiction to create its own green bank. .

Numerous private sector financing options also exist and are growing. The well-recognized ESCO (Energy Saving Companies) business model is being joined by a variety of other project financing alternatives. Additionally, ACORE (The American Council on Renewable Energy) has been reaching out to Wall Street “to assist financiers and developers in the space on how to get renewable energy projects financed and built.”

Green jobs and the green to finance them – a beautiful thing.

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