U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) are calling on the business community to get behind their efforts to create a federal green bank that would help finance clean energy projects nationwide.
Speaking at the Yale School of Management on October 5, the senators announced their plans to reintroduce the federal Green Bank Act, which calls for the creation of a national green bank to provide financing for clean energy businesses and initiatives across the U.S. The Yale Center for Business and the Environment sponsored the talk.
The federal bank, the senators said, would be modeled after Connecticut’s green bank, the first in the country, which has attracted more than $800 million in clean energy investments and created the equivalent of more than 12,000 jobs in the last five years.
“Other states are looking to Connecticut as a model,” Murphy said. “The federal green bank is going to look to Connecticut as a model.” Murphy said that private sector investment in green energy projects is growing, and the time to launch a federal green bank initiative is now. “We see this market moving really fast, and it’s going to move even faster with the certification of The Paris Agreement,” he said.
The green bank model relies on public funding in its startup and growth phases, but the goal, Murphy said, would be to reduce public funds as private investment in the bank grows.
Blumenthal described the myriad economic benefits that a green bank would bring to the community.
“Investment will spur job creation and economic growth, which has to be a priority for the new [White House] administration,” he said. The bank would offer the labor and business communities an opportunity to come together in a “bipartisan” effort that will benefit investors, the environment, and the economy, Blumenthal said.
“This is an idea whose time has come,” he said. “There is a lot of money sloshing around the system looking for good investments… We need to make sure that we do not miss this opportunity.”
Blumenthal acknowledged that there is resistance to the bill by some members of Congress, who do not support the use of public funds to launch a bank aimed solely at financing green energy projects. But with the threat of climate change, the need for such an enterprise overrides such concerns, he said.
“As long as we press our case with intelligence and integrity…we can make this idea a movement that crosses the aisle, that crosses disciplines, that crosses geographies,” Blumenthal said.
The senators called on small business owners, as well as large organizations, to get involved and to mobilize the support of national business associations that have lobbying muscle in Washington, D.C.
“We need the broader business community to get plugged into this conversation,” Murphy said. “This ultimately has to be not just activists and environmental advocates. This has to be a priority for business organizations, as well.”