Green is a color often associated with banks, or at the very least, with the crisp bills kept inside their vaults.
Recently, however, New Yorkers have another reason to associate green with finance. It’s called the Green Bank — a new form of banking dedicated solely to financing energy-efficient projects.
The $1 billion investment fund aims to help make local energy-efficiency and clean energy projects a reality. Many times these projects are passed over by the big banks, which is where the Green Bank will step in.
It operates with two goals in mind. First, to establish a viable green projects marketplace supported by the private sector, and secondly, through the Green Bank, to have residents to see a reduction in the cost of these technologies.
While New York is the latest state to establish a Green Bank, it is not alone. Connecticut paved the way for others back in July 2011 when it opened its first one. And now, not far behind New York is Hawaii, which is currently in the process of establishing its own. Then there are California, Maryland and New Jersey which are considering similar proposals in their legislatures.
Although the states may use different designs, their mission to bring clean-energy projects to the states remains the same.
So how is New York financing its Green Bank? By redirecting existing state grant money and raising $165.6 million on utility customers through clean-energy surcharges, the Green Bank now has $218.5 million. And by the end of 2014, the bank will reach the $1 billion mark when all of the funds arrive.
The end of the year will also herald the announcement of some of the bank’s lending deals with outside groups. Although no exact details have been given, project proposals concerning solar, wind, storage and energy-efficiency have all been received and considered.
These Green Banks are showing just how far a little green can go when it comes to saving the planet.