The Green Bank—Part of New York’s Mission to Become a National Leader in Clean Energy

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In 2013, New York State set course to become a national leader in clean energy. Later declaring a mission to reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030, New York developed an aggressive and robust plan to radically change energy production, transportation, and consumption in the state. New York dedicated itself to upgrading its energy infrastructure, promoting renewable energy portfolios to consumers, and most importantly investing in large scale-renewable projects.

Though not an invention of New York, a unique piece of its clean energy plan was the establishment of the NY Green Bank. A division of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the NY Green Bank seeks “to accelerate clean energy deployment in New York state by working in collaboration with the private sector to transform financing markets.” Acting as a state-sponsored financial entity, the NY Green Bank essentially functions as a public investment firm, specializing in renewable energy production and energy infrastructure. Offering capital to renewable projects, the NY Green Bank is contributing to New York’s energy goals by expanding energy production and delivery options in New York and alleviating existing gaps and barriers in the marketplace to alternative energy projects.

An examination of its publicly available portfolio reveals that NY Green Bank is dedicated to investing particularly with in-state entities to assist New York in realizing its energy goals. However, the NY Green Bank invests beyond New York’s borders in national enterprises, assisting the U.S. in realizing its energy goals and capturing a larger slice of the energy market. On August 2, 2021, the NY Green Bank announced an important milestone in its efforts to distribute capital into the green energy marketplace. With the help of a major bank, the NY Green Bank received a $314 million infusion in new capital. This cash infusion ensures the NY Green Bank will maintain sufficient liquidity and not need to receive additional public funds. Further, the investment by this bank represents the largest private fundraising with a state-sponsored Green Bank. As many corporations attempt promising ESG initiatives, this major partnership with the NY Green Bank demonstrates that there are multiple ways to make a positive impact on the growing concerns with climate change, while also being responsive to the needs of investors.