New York Green Bank in debut clean energy transactions

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The New York Green Bank announced its debut transactions today, expected to stimulate US$800 million of investment for clean energy projects in New York.

The new bank partners with private sector lenders to provide funding to support local projects that struggle to attract private funds alone, due to federal policy uncertainty and a lack of performance data.

The NY Green Bank aims to provide financial products to lenders, overcoming financial barriers to clean energy job creation and sustainable communities in New York, and also reducing risk.

The first transactions were made yesterday and include a small-scale commercial solar project in Lackawanna, cogeneration projects in New York City, and energy efficiency investments across the state.

Veteran solar advocate and New York governor, Andrew Cuomo said: “The State’s contribution to these projects will support jobs and economic activity in our communities and it is helping to grow the market for clean technology in New York by paving the way for more frequent and accessible funding going forward.”

The NY Green Bank is also hoping to set a pathway for similar public and private investments in clean energy.

The first transactions announced are scheduled to be closed by the end of the year and were partnered with: Ameresco, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BQ Energy, Citi, Deutsche Bank, First Eastern Investment Group, First Niagara Bank, GreenCity Power, M&T Bank, Renewable Funding, Sustainable Development Capital and Tulum Management.

BQ Energy managing director, Paul Curran said: “Utility-scale solar energy projects, including those on brownfields, are actually low risk in nature. However, the projects are new to even the strongest global commercial and New York-based regional banks. NY Green Bank has been a facilitator for this financing, bringing expertise in both the technology and risk management, allowing all parties to get comfortable with the transaction.”

M&T Bank vice president of middle market lending, Susan Freed-Oestreicher said, “the solar energy industry has the potential to generate further business investment in Western New York” and is “helping to finance this economic development project makes sense for M&T Bank because it's good for both our business and our community.”

Richard Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance for New York, said: “Today’s announcement cements New York's strategy to transition to a more environmentally and economically sustainable energy infrastructure.”

NY Green Bank president Alfred Griffin said the bank’s market-driven approach to supporting clean energy deployment on commercial terms “attracts real interest from the private sector”.

“Each arrangement addresses financing barriers in the clean energy market identified by private sector financiers and developers. Today's announcement ultimately signifies that it makes good business sense to invest in this steadily growing industry.”

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