Yale-Inspired Connecticut Green Bank
Wins National Award for Innovation

The Connecticut Green Bank, a first-of-its-kind model for green financing first conceptualized at Yale, has been awarded the 2017 Innovation in American Government Award from Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.
 
The award, which includes a $100,000 prize, recognizes the bank’s pioneering approach to financing clean energy projects through the quasi-public entity, an idea conceived by Daniel Esty, a professor of environmental law and policy at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies [F&ES] and Yale Law School and former Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
 
Established in 2011 by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy — while Esty was leading DEEP — the Green Bank uses limited public dollars to attract private investment for clean energy projects, such as solar and wind installations, to help reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions while creating jobs and stimulating local economic development. In just six years, the Green Bank and its private investment partners have generated $1 billion in clean energy investment in Connecticut.
 
“It is great to see the path-breaking work of the Connecticut Green Bank recognized,” Esty said. “I hope that the Green Bank’s model, which has allowed the state to expand its energy efficiency and renewable energy project deployment by up to tenfold, will be taken up in other states and nations.”
I hope that the Green Bank’s model, which has allowed the state to expand its energy efficiency and renewable energy project deployment by up to tenfold, will be taken up in other states and nations.
— Daniel Esty, F&ES professor of environmental law and policy
According to their annual report for Fiscal Year 2016, for every dollar of public funds spent on clean energy projects, the Green Bank generates an additional five dollars in private investment. The bank deployed over $316 million — including $9.8 million for their low-income solar lease program — for some 8,000 clean energy projects last year alone. These projects — which range from replacing inefficient boilers to installing solar cells — will help reduce the state’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 885,000 tons, the equivalent to planting nearly 12,000 acres of trees. And, critically, the Green Bank has created an estimated 13,000 jobs across the state while reducing energy prices by 20 to 30 percent.
 
“The Connecticut Green Bank has sparked a green bank movement. Our simple promise of increasing affordability and accessibility to green energy has evolved into a greater commitment to our stakeholders,” said Bryan Garcia ’00 M.E.M., president and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank. “We believe that everything we do, we do to help families thrive and businesses grow. We do it in the interest of achieving inclusive prosperity not only within Connecticut and across the country, but around the world.”
 
Widely recognized as a national leader in environmental and energy policy, many of Connecticut’s most innovative achievements, including the Connecticut Green Bank and the Connecticut Institute for Resilience & Climate Adaptation[CIRCA] have been led by faculty, alumni, and students from F&ES.
 
“The Connecticut Green Bank has hired a number of students who are incredibly prepared to lead a movement to make clean energy more accessible and affordable,” Garcia said.
 
The Innovations in American Government Award, the nation’s most prestigious award for excellence and creativity in the private sector, was established by the Ford Foundation in 1985. The cash prize supports the replication and dissemination of novel initiatives such as the Connecticut Green Bank.
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PUBLISHED: August 14, 2017
 

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