County Commits $50,000 Toward Cuyahoga County Green Bank Creation Proposal

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Devyn Giannetti, Communications Specialist: 216-443-8393, 

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH — Cuyahoga County is committing $50,000 toward creating a local Green Bank through a contract with the Coalition for Green Capital. The funds were approved at today’s County Board of Control meeting.

Green Banks are financial institutions that can leverage public funding to attract private capital for clean energy products as well as other “green” investments. Clean energy projects can include energy efficiency, renewable energy and other distributed energy resources. Green Banks can help communities partner with private lenders and investors to mobilize capital, alleviate perceived risks and design attractive financial instruments to support these investments. Funds will be available in the future for residential, commercial, industrial, non-profit and local government sectors.

The county, especially with the help of the Gund Foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, as well as Key Bank, the City of Cleveland and the Council on Smaller Enterprise (COSE), has been meeting about developing this fund for six months. The Coalition for Green Capital helped guide the county and these organizations through discussions that led to a formal proposal that will result in the launch of a Cuyahoga County Green Bank in late 2019.

“Cuyahoga County is committed to supporting efforts to enhance local economic development, create jobs and fight climate change,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “We cannot afford to ignore the fact that climate change is real and is already impacting us both locally and internationally. We are focused on tangible, practical efforts that will bring real benefits to our residents and our economy.”

The proposal consists of two phases. Phase one consists of the assessment and stakeholder engagement needed to fully understand the market conditions and clean energy investment opportunity in Cuyahoga County. This involves assessing the current financial landscape to understand current investments and how effectively clean energy is deployed as well as engaging stakeholders and market participants to understand from developers the pipeline they have for investment, what challenges they may encounter and how a Green Bank might help them.

Phase two will consist of the tactical work needed to launch the Green Bank as a new start-up. This will include securing operating capital to sustain long-term operations and hiring an Executive Director to launch and operate the Green Bank. Based on the success of phases one and two, sufficient interest from capital providers and developers and a clear path of investment opportunity, the project will move to the launch phase. This would include putting in place a permanent board to lead the organization and signing the first financing transaction.

“With the effects of climate change becoming more and more prevalent, the need for clean energy is greater than ever,” said Mike Foley, Director of the Department of Sustainability. “A local, well-funded source of dollars available for helping to assist projects that reduce energy usage and add renewables into the area is vital for us to do our part to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.”