June 26, 2017

Whitehouse Cosponsors Green Bank Act to Create Jobs, Reclaim America’s Clean Energy Leadership

National bank would provide additional capital for Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank projects

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 clean energy sector job creation in Rhode Island and fight climate change by incentivizing large-scale private 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 with capital to make smart investments in the clean energy economy and reduce carbon pollution,” said Whitehouse.  “Rhode Island one of six states to have established a state green bank, and this bill would support our state’s efforts to create clean energy jobs, save consumers money, and limit the carbon pollution driving climate change.”

In 2015, the state passed legislation creating the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank and established programs like the Efficient Buildings Fund, which facilitates low-cost financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for public buildings.  The Green Bank Act would create a federal national bank which would enhance the existing framework that Rhode Island already has in place.   

“If the success we have experienced in Rhode Island is an indication, creating a National Green Bank will create good American jobs while also protecting the environment and saving our businesses money,” said Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.  “This legislation only makes sense, as we work toward American energy independence.”

Green banks leverage limited 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 a lack of 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.

“The establishment of a federal National Green Bank would be a tremendous step forward in the efforts to make our infrastructure more energy efficient and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Jeffrey Diehl, CEO of Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank.  “Investment in infrastructure plays a critical role in both public safety and economic development.  Energy efficiency financing programs such as the Infrastructure Bank’s Efficient Buildings Fund save taxpayer dollars, create jobs and protect our environment by enabling communities to pursue energy projects they otherwise would not be able to undertake.”


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