Archive for the ‘Complete Digest’ Category
Washington state moved a step closer to creating a green bank when state officials attended the Green Bank Academy, which was put on by the Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) in Washington, D.C. February 6-7. I led a five person delegation to the event where we heard best practices of the 13 states currently involved in the national green bank movement.
A report from Chris Ajemian of Chris Ajemian Consulting, March 6, 2014. Chris is the Washington state representative of the Coalition for Green Capital and a business development and government affairs consultant.
Green banks are state funds that provide low cost finance for clean energy technology projects such as residential or commercial solarization or energy efficiency retrofits. The need for such funds grew out of the estimation by CGC that a nationwide conversion to a low carbon economy would cost $2-3 trillion and that a
lmost all of that sum will have to come from the private sector.
CGC saw that state green banks could play a crucial role of leveraging that private capital. Through a public-private partnership, a low cost tranche of government funds can enhance the lending power of community based commercial and nonprofit lenders. Those lenders can then offer rates that lower overall project cost for consumers or businesses who could otherwise not afford loans for solarizing or energy efficiency retrofitting.
Green banks can encompass any set of programs a state wants, including financing innovation rather than deployment of existing technologies, but the key principal is that of a public-private partnership approach to financing rather than through government subsidies. When loans are paid off, the lender is able to reinvest the funds in new projects.
Additionally, securitizing large groups of loans introduces further efficiency into financial markets. When groups of loans are sold off as batches and later securitized, the costs drop for everyone.
Green banks can also help standardize financial tools in solarization and energy efficiency. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is pioneering much of this work.
Connecticut and Hawaii have created green banks that are open and are actively making loans.
California and New York have announced major efforts that combine existing clean tech lending programs and are moving toward public-private partnerships. Here in Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee’s revolving Clean Energy Fund demonstrates interest in financing clean energy and could become the basis for a state green bank.
The Green Bank Academy was conceived by CGC’s national leadership Reed Hundt, former FCC Chairman, and Ken Berlin, a retired Skadden Arps partner. Mark Muro, a Seattle native, represented the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and other national organizations such as the National Resources Defense Council also attended. Cong. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland announced legislation for a national green bank.
How do you turn $1 billion into $2 billion, all the while helping to slow down global warming? By capping carbon dioxide pollution and charging for emissions permits, then plowing the revenues into clean energy and energy-efficiency programs.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a carbon-trading program that covers nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, charged power plants about $1 billion for the right to pollute the climate from 2009 to 2012. Of that, $707 million has so far been invested into green programs, and $93 million has been transferred into states’ general funds, according to a new RGGI report.
Two-thirds of the investments have been used to help utility customers cut back on the amount of power that they use. Those efficiency improvements are eventually expected to save 800,000 households and 12,000 businesses more than $1.8 billion in energy bills. Read More…
Four new nuclear reactors are under construction in the U.S., the first plants to be built in 30 years. Yet U.S. Secretary of EnergyErnest Moniz says when it comes to nuclear power in the U.S., “the long term trajectory remains quite uncertain.”
Moniz speaks to Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson on a wide range of energy issues and says he expects wind, solar and other renewables to make up 30 to 40 percent of the country’s energy mix by 2030.
On the importance of nuclear power to the U.S. energy future
“Nuclear power, clearly, is one of the important so-called zero-carbon options. It does not emit carbon dioxide, obviously, as does fossil fuel combustion. So our view remains that A, we need to go to a low-carbon energy system over these next 10, 20 years. The solutions for a low-carbon system will look different in different places. Some countries, including industrial countries, will not have nuclear. Others will continue to grow it because it is one of the low carbon options, and different societies have different public attitudes but they also have frankly just very, very different core energy resources. So it will be multiple solutions in multiple places and nuclear power, I expect, will be part of that mix.” Read More…
Opportunity in China for Companies using Zinc, Tungsten or Lead and Companies Focused on Enhancing Energy Efficiency
360ip is working with investors in China who are very interested in potential portfolio companies which use either zinc, tungsten or lead in their products/business (any field should be suitable). The investors could invest directly in these companies and then facilitate their expanding into China via a joint venture.
In addition to these materials companies, they are also interested in companies focused on enhancing energy efficiency which have commercial-ready products and are also interested in expanding into China.
By Steve Gerritson, WCTA Chair, Vice President, EDC of Seattle & King County
Those of us in the field of clean tech (including just about everyone reading this newsletter) spend a lot of time thinking about change, particularly the change associated with new technology. It’s easy to get excited about the potential of a new energy source or a way to reduce the amount of fuel required to run an engine. Yet we often forget that there are those who support the status quo, sometimes for selfish reasons but sometimes with legitimate concerns. And because it is ultimately the market that will decide, it is usually the economics, rather than the technology, that is the driving force behind change.
It follows that the easiest change to accept is an incremental one, because of which no party is injured – for example, the shift from rotary to push-button phones. Such examples are rare, however, and the more usual case is when a new technology pushes aside an old one. Electrification is now taken for granted, but one hundred years ago, as electric power began to become available, it made possible the use of appliances like refrigerators. The widespread adoption of electric refrigerators destroyed an entire industry, that of preserving, and later making and delivering ice. It seems silly now, but at the time it was quite disruptive. Read More…
By Tom Ranken, Originally published by the Spokesman Review
In Washington, innovation is more than just a buzzword. Washington was recently ranked as the most innovative state in the U.S. in a Bloomberg report that cited Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing as leaders in the development of new technologies. Washington’s clean technology sector is also part of our innovation economy, with three Washington companies recently receiving global awards from the Cleantech Open and the Global Cleantech Clusters Association.
The Cleantech Open supports and fosters entrepreneurs with ideas that address energy, environmental and economic challenges. The GCCA is a business competition that endeavors to make clean tech initiatives global and provides a gateway for companies to gain exposure to investors and markets. These organizations recently recognized companies across Washington as world leaders.
Helion Energy, based in Redmond, is developing a commercialized form of fusion energy, a carbon-free process similar to what powers the sun and stars. Helion’s technology is capable of producing energy without generating waste. Helion received the top prize in the Cleantech Open’s Energy Generation category as well as the People’s Choice Award. Read More…
By Cheryl Kaften, Sustainable Business
Investors who have shied away from clean-tech companies for the past two years haven’t lost interest, but are broadening their scope into more areas of sustainability, according to a report by Cleantech IQ [PDF].
“The definition of ‘clean tech’ has expanded greatly. There is still some perception that when you talk about clean tech, you’re talking about a technology risk on solar, wind and biomass,” Craig Metrick, leader of Mercer‘s US Responsible Investment Practice, told Cleantech IQ.
While venture capital has pulled back from those sectors lately, plenty of opportunities exist in energy efficiency, pollution control, water and waste management — sustainability sectors that support clean tech and advance environmental progress without the same degree of exposure.
Venture Capital firms are also pushing the sustainability envelope further to organic products, vegan foods, transportation platforms and “clean web” products. BrightFarms, for instance, builds rooftop gardens and hydroponic greenhouses attached to supermarkets.
These companies are taking advantage of the appeal of green investment, without the regulatory and technological ambiguity that’s often associated with renewable energy — which also needs hundreds of millions of dollars and decades to commercialize. Read More…
The Legislature is moving in to the final phase of session with opposite House committee cut off Friday. Non-budget bills must have passed out of the opposite chamber policy committee or they are dead for this session. In other words House bills must pass out of Senate policy committee and vice verse.
Both the House and Senate presented versions of the General Fund and Transportation budgets. They will pass these versions out of their respective chambers and then final negotiations between the two chambers will proceed, hopefully concluding with a final budget deal by March 13. The Legislature will spend most of next week on the Floor passing opposite chamber bills and negotiating final concurrence language on any disputed legislation.
Momentum around solar issues associated with the incentive program and system leasing (HB 1301/ HB 2176) appear to have stalled and it does not look like any further Legislative activity will occur on this issue.
The High Tech RD tax incentives remain alive however the Senate proposed narrowing the program to just companies with less than $50 million in revenue. This has caused enormous controversy and could cause the entire program to die this session.
Prepared by Boswell Consulting
Gateway Pacific, the giant export terminal north of Bellingham, took a major step forward Thursday as developers agreed to a $7.2 million contract for an environmental study on what would become Washington’s first coal-export terminal.
The new agreement, with the engineering firm CH2M Hill, follows on the heels of an earlier $1.9 million deal to conduct public meetings and prepare the scope of review. That brings the total environmental review cost for Gateway Pacific to $9,089,911, according to Whatcom County officials who will supervise the contract.
Don’t miss the “Controversy Over Coal Terminals: Should the NW Export Coal?” Wednesday, March 12th.
SSA Marine and BNSF Railway — both signed Thursday — will deal with subcontractors who will assess the project’s impacts on human and animal health, marine life, wetlands, railway and shipping traffic and Native American culture. Whatcom County posted the contracts here on Friday. Read More…
February 27, 2014 – Denver, Colo. – Students attending Ecotech Institute, the only college entirely focused on renewable energy and sustainability training, can now receive industry certification from three distinct national standards development and credential organizations. This provides Ecotech Institute graduates the best foundation possible to immediately make an impact in their field.
Ecotech Institute students have the opportunity to graduate with certifications from North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), and Building Performance Institute (BPI).
These designations expand graduates’ career opportunities. For example, the BPI certification ensures that new professionals interested in careers in state-run energy efficiency and weatherization programs are qualified for these positions, since many of these programs require the BPI certification. Read More…