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U.S. EPA Launches $20 Billion ‘Climate Bank’ Programs To Curb Climate Change

U.S. EPA Launches $20 Billion ‘Climate Bank’ Programs To Curb Climate Change

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EPA seeking applications to two Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund competitions to advance clean technology projects in communities across the country

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched two Notices of Funding Opportunity for $20 billion across two grant competitions under the historic $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, an Inflation Reduction Act program central to President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda and environmental justice goals. Together, these competitive grant opportunities will mobilize private capital into clean technology projects to create good-paying jobs and lower energy costs for American families, especially in low-income and disadvantaged communities, while cutting harmful pollution to protect people’s health and tackle the climate crisis. EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan will join Vice President Kamala Harris today to announce the two grant competitions along with Senator Tom Carper, Senator Ed Markey, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Congressman Frank Pallone, and Congressman David Trone at an event at Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland, where they will receive a briefing from local climate leaders and deliver remarks.

“The President and I set ambitious goals to cut our greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050—the investments announced today move our nation towards achieving these goals and a cleaner, healthier future for generations to come,” said Vice President Kamala Harris. “Students, small business owners and community leaders with innovative ideas to reduce our emissions and accelerate our clean energy transition will now see their projects become reality, all while creating good-paying jobs and a clean energy economy that works for all.”

“Communities on the front lines of the climate crisis will be the first to reap the benefits of President Biden’s historic investments in the clean economy,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund will spur private investment into clean technology projects and expand economic opportunity for communities that have been left behind, for families that want lower energy costs, and for workers who need good-paying jobs. This is what President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is all about.” 

“It’s been over a decade since we first put the idea of creating a national climate bank on paper. Today, that idea is becoming a reality. With the launch of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, we are deploying powerful tools to help us address climate change through innovative new solutions while creating jobs and growing our economy. These funds will serve as a force multiplier for private investment in clean energy projects to cut emissions and promote environmental justice in underserved communities across the country. This is a win for workers, our economy, and our fight to confront the climate crisis,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen (MD).

“Today, communities around the country are getting a green light for a new historic era of green financing,” said Senator Edward J. Markey (MA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety. “As the lead sponsor of the National Climate Bank Act, I am thrilled to celebrate the hard work of Administrator Regan and the Biden-Harris administration and herald the start of a national clean financing network, funded by the landmark investments of the Inflation Reduction Act. From clean transit to healthy housing, applicants to this program will bring life-changing projects to environmental justice and frontline communities around the country, delivering on the promise of a livable future for all.”

See related article: U.S. EPA Proposes Updates to Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Requirements for the Oil and Gas Sector

“The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is a historic program that will help us attack the climate crisis head on,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-06). “The announcement of these remaining grant competitions is critical to swiftly distributing these investments to meaningful projects and communities in most urgent need, moving us closer to an equitable clean-energy economy. I applaud this announcement and look forward to continuing to work with the EPA, my colleagues in Congress, and all our partners to create good paying jobs, bring down energy costs, and reduce our carbon emissions with these investments.”

“The Inflation Reduction Act is government-enabled, but private sector-led. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund will ensure that businesses, nonprofits, and community lenders can spread the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act to underserved communities,” said John Podesta, Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation. “Today’s announcement from the EPA marks a big milestone in President Biden’s mission to expand clean energy for all Americans.”

The $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund will provide grants to support two-to-three national clean financing institutions, enabling them to partner with the private sector to provide accessible, affordable financing for tens of thousands of clean technology projects nationwide. These national nonprofits will enable individuals, families, nonprofits, governments, small businesses, and others to access the capital they need to deploy a diverse suite of clean technology projects in their homes, businesses, and communities, which will reduce pollution while creating jobs, accelerating progress toward energy security, and lowering energy costs. And by mobilizing significant amounts of private capital, these national nonprofits will ensure that every dollar of public funds generates several times more in private investment. At least 40% of the funds from the National Clean Investment Fund will be dedicated to low-income and disadvantaged communities, including those that are rural communities, Tribal communities, communities with environmental justice concerns, energy communities, and persistent poverty counties.

The $6 billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator will provide grants to support two-to-seven hub nonprofit organizations, enabling them to provide funding and technical assistance to public, quasi-public, not-for-profit, and non-profit community lenders working in low-income and disadvantaged communities—supporting the goal that every community in the country has access to the capital they need to deploy clean technology projects. These hub nonprofits will enable hundreds of community lenders—such as community development financial institutions (including Native CDFIs), credit unions, green banks, housing finance agencies, and minority depository institutions—to finance clean technology projects in low-income and disadvantaged communities while also mobilizing private capital and building the enduring capacity of community lenders to finance these projects for years to come. 100% of the funds from the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator will be dedicated to low-income and disadvantaged communities.

“By funding a national network of non-profit financing institutions that will deliver capital to tens of thousands of clean technology projects in local communities across the country, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund will transform local economies and help us meet our climate goals,” said Senior Advisor and Acting Director of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Jahi Wise. “Investments like this one will expand opportunities for the communities that have too often been left out and left behind.”

Today’s announcement builds on the $7 billion Solar for All competition EPA Administrator Regan launched on June 28, 2023 with Senator Bernie Sanders at an event in Vermont. That competition, also under the Inflation Reduction Act’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, will expand the number of low-income and disadvantaged communities primed for residential solar investment. Through Solar for All, EPA will award up to 60 grants to states, territories, Tribal governments, municipalities, and eligible nonprofits to create and expand low-income solar programs that provide financial and technical assistance, such as workforce development, to enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy and benefit from residential solar. The announcements today—culminating the President’s Investing in America tour—mark the remaining two NOFO announcements for this historic program.

Together, these three competitions under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund will help meet the President’s climate goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50-52 percent below 2005 levels in 2030—and achieving net zero emissions by no later than 2050. They also help advance the President’s commitment to environmental justice and the Justice40 Initiative, which sets the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments in climate, clean energy, and other areas flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution–with at least $18.6 billion of the $27 billion across the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund dedicated to low-income and disadvantaged communities.

This investment was made possible by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which is growing the American economy from the middle out and the bottom up – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $500 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good-paying jobs and building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.

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