New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced plans to create a $1 billion green bank to spur the Clean Tech Economy. This is not the first green bank initiative in the US but if implemented as the Governor plans it will almost certainly be the biggest. It will also likely contribute to clean tech investors who might otherwise have invested in Canada to move their projects to New York State.
The role of the bank will be to leverage public dollars, not all of them new money, with a private sector match to spur the clean economy. The Governor notes that, while subsidies, which are being used for renewable energy in New York State, are important, it is becoming evident that they alone cannot achieve the level of clean energy deployment necessary. The Governor further states:
The NY Green Bank would overcome a number of obstacles and uncertainties in the clean energy sector, including unstable federal funding and policy, uncoordinated action and disparate one-time subsidies at the state level, a lack of appropriate financial instruments, and apprehension in the investor community. The lowering of other barriers would enable clean energy markets to function more fluidly, connecting green projects with investors and capital. Product awareness would be raised, contract processes standardized to reduce transaction costs, and informational deficiencies about loan performance for energy efficiency mitigated. Smaller green technology projects that individually may not be large enough to attract capital can also be aggregated.
The printed version of the Governor’s plan lists the following summary of the benefits of creating a green bank:
- Hasten the transition to a clean economy and environment in New York State by lowering capital costs and bringing green energy to scale.
- Lower consumer prices for renewable and efficient energy sources.
- Bring well-paying jobs to New York State that support employment across skill and education levels.
- Build an integrated state approach to clean energy investment and innovation.
- Hold taxpayers harmless while encouraging more vibrant private market activity in clean energy.
- Making the exchange of information and capital more fluid in the clean energy market (contract standardization, information dissemination, etc.).
GallonDaily will be watching this initiative with great interest and concern for Canada’s clean tech development.
The Governor’s plan is contained in his 2013 State of the State address, where many more energy and environment plans, including plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, are announced, at http://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/default/themes/governor/sos2013/2013SOSBook.pdf