Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has joined U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) in introducing the Green Bank Act, which would support job creation in Rhode Island’s clean energy sector and fight climate change by incentivizing large-scale investment in green projects. The bill would create a National Green Bank to provide financing for regional, state, and municipal green banks, including the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank.
“A national green infrastructure bank would provide states like Rhode Island with capital to make strategic long-term investments in clean energy and sustainable infrastructure,” said Whitehouse. “Building new, more efficient infrastructure from coast to coast will create good jobs and save energy, all while reducing the carbon pollution driving climate change.”
The state passed legislation creating the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank in 2015. The Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank manages programs like the Efficient Buildings Fund, which facilitates low-cost financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for public buildings.
“In Rhode Island, the work we have done to overhaul the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank has created hundreds of jobs while helping cities and towns save millions building energy efficient infrastructure,” said Treasurer Seth Magaziner. “We are grateful to Senator Whitehouse for cosponsoring this legislation, as a federal green bank would mean more opportunity for Rhode Islanders and for the rest of the nation.”
Green banks leverage public investment to drive greater investment from the private sector in clean-energy and energy-efficient projects. While state-level green banks have collectively generated billions of dollars in clean-energy investment, the biggest obstacle they face is access to capital. The National Green Bank could provide a total capitalization of $50 billion to qualified institutions, which must provide matching funds equal to at least 20 percent of federal funding.
“As a leader in the global Green Bank community, Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank has seen first-hand the positive impact of incorporating clean energy and climate resiliency into infrastructure improvements,” Jeffrey R. Diehl, Executive Director and CEO of the Infrastructure Bank. “Such investments by the Infrastructure Bank save our communities, consumers and businesses money while creating jobs, increasing economic development and protecting the environment. The establishment of a federal National Green Bank through the Green Bank Act would enable us to expand our impact and continue to support jobs and the local economy.”
Full text of the bill can be found here.