Green banks are independent nonprofit, public, or quasi-public financial institutions that leverage public or philanthropic dollars – and government backing – to attract private capital to zero and low-emissions energy generation and transportation, energy efficiency, and other projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation), adjust to new climate conditions and reduce risk to valued assets (adaptation), or address disruptions from climate change (resilience) – while aiming to lower the cost of energy for consumers and protect climate-impacted communities.
Over the past ten years, state and local governments have taken different approaches in establishing their green banks. A brief comparison of the public, quasi-public, and nonprofit green bank models is set forth in the Green Bank Model Comparison Chart attached to the model legislation as Annex A.
This Model Legislation provides the legislative structure to establish a green bank following the nonprofit model and takes its basic structure from the Nevada Clean Energy Fund legislation. However, the provisions contained herein can also be used by lawmakers and regulators alike for purposes of establishing and structuring a public or quasi-public green bank through either the legislative or regulatory process.
Provisions from proposed federal legislation and green bank legislation enacted in certain other states have been incorporated to provide flexibility based on a given locality’s resources, political and environmental goals, and unique geographical considerations.