Helping the Environment and Helping Your Finances

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There is no question that renewable energy projects can have benefits for the environment, your physical health and your financial health. Imagine paying less on your electric bill because you use solar power. Imagine saving money because your car runs on electricity and not gas.

Organizations like NY Green Bank help these goals become a reality, by providing the necessary funds for eco-friendly companies. Opening for business in 2014 with an initial allotment of $1 billion, the NY Green Bank is a state sponsored specialty finance entity. It is the primary financing component of New York’s statewide energy strategy.

“NY Green Bank’s objective is to bring more private capital into New York’s clean energy markets by working with the private sector to identify and alleviate financing gaps in order to accelerate deployment of clean energy and transform financing markets,” said Chief Operating Officer Caroline Angoorly.

A Cleaner, Safer Environment

NY Green Bank is a key component of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s energy plan, known as Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). “REV is building a cleaner, more resilient, and affordable energy system by designing a flexible power grid, giving customers more control over their energy use, and better aligning clean energy projects with market demand,” said Angoorly. NY Green Bank is also a key vehicle toward the state’s energy goals, which include the following:

  • a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels
  • 50% of electricity to come from renewable energy sources
  • 23% decrease in energy consumption in buildings from 2012 levels

greenbank.ny.gov website image
Image via greenbank.ny.gov

Investment Lineup

To achieve these goals, NY Green Bank is busy investing in renewable companies. So far, NY Green Bank has allocated $441 million in transactions. The organization’s investment portfolio includes solar energy companies like Sunrun, SolarCity and Vivint Solar, sustainable transportation companies like Motivate and battery companies like Plug Power.

In addition, it has invested in energy efficiency funds run by entities including the New York City Housing Authority. The return on capital is already there. “We have generated $23 million in revenue since inception, maintaining self-sufficiency with cumulative revenues in excess of cumulative operating expenses,” said Angoorly.

Solving Challenging Problems

Many of the companies that NY Green Bank invests in are focused on improving the nation’s infrastructure. The roads, bridges, power grids, tunnels and more are in decay in many parts of the United States, including the New York City area. One only needs to look at the near-daily delays at Penn Station and the January water leak at JFK Airport to realize just how bad of shape the U.S. infrastructure is in.

“At NY Green Bank we think sustainable infrastructure is a meaningful solution – with cost-effectiveness, resilience, environmental and consumer choice benefits,” said Angoorly. Improved infrastructure can help save consumers money and time and can help improve productivity.

Image via greenbank.ny.gov
Image via greenbank.ny.gov

Expansion Agenda

With its strong start, NY Green Bank is now looking toward expanding its investments outside of New York state. “We expect this to drive material benefits for New Yorkers and for New York consumers seeking to pursue clean energy opportunities,” explained Angoorly.

In order to expand, the organization is in the early stages of soliciting proposals for private capital.

“With another $1 billion in capital sourced from the private sector, NY Green Bank expects to accelerate the scale, diversification and standardization of its investments, which will result in increased market liquidity and improved pricing for ratepayers,” noted Angoorly.

Global Partnerships

Several other states have Green Banks, including California, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Hawaii. “There is a considerable amount of time connecting with other states and municipalities who seek to better understand NY Green Bank’s model and opportunities for collaboration,” said Angoorly.

In addition, collaboration is also undertaken at the international level. NY Green Bank is part of the global Green Bank Network, an organization which allows Green Banks to share best practices. Nations with Green Banks include Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom.  You can find out more about NY Green Bank, including its strategy and product offerings at greenbank.ny.gov.