(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Bowser today signed the District of Columbia Green Finance Authority Establishment Act of 2018, officially making Washington, DC the first city in the United States to establish a green bank, an innovative policy tool that seeks to expand renewable energy, lower energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create green jobs.
“Washington, DC is a global leader on environmental issues and by establishing a Green Bank, we will continue to build on the progress that helped us become the first LEED Platinum city in the world,” said Mayor Bowser. “I look forward to working with all of the businesses, non-profit organizations, and residents that will benefit directly from this new tool. Together, we will continue to meet our ambitious sustainability goals while creating high-paying, clean energy jobs for residents in all eight wards.”
Green Banks are capitalized with public funds which are then used to offer loans, leases, credit enhancements, and other financing services to close funding gaps for clean energy projects. Typically, Green Banks invest in mature clean energy projects, including commercially viable technologies, such as solar energy systems, energy efficiency measures, water management systems, and clean transportation infrastructure and equipment.
Green Bank financing enables private capital to fill gaps by reducing real and perceived risk, absorbing transaction costs, and providing private investors the chance to learn about new market opportunities with the security of government partnership. By creating a Green Bank, DC will be able to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technology by removing upfront costs, leveraging private investment, and increasing the efficiency of public dollars.
Establishing a Green Bank is the latest action the Bowser Administration has taken to prepare for climate change and ensure Washington, DC is sustainable and resilient for future generations. In December, the Mayor pledged to make Washington, DC carbon-neutral and climate resilient by 2050. Additionally, since coming into office, the Administration has pledged to uphold the goals of the Paris Climate Accord; launched Climate Ready DC; finalized the largest municipal wind power purchase agreement deal of its kind in the United States; and launched one of the largest municipal on-site solar projects in the country.