Deploy! | April 3, 2024

EPA set to announce Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund awards for $20 billion ‘green bank’

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

It’s finally here. The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce key awards for its $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund tomorrow at an event in Charlotte, NC attended by vice president Kamala Harris and EPA administrator Michael Regan. 

Three coalitions of green banks and community lenders – Power Forward, Climate United and the Coalition for Green Capital – are expected share in the $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund, as ImpactAlpha reported last week. The NCIF program, the largest piece of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, is intended to establish long term infrastructure to fund energy retrofits, rooftop solar and other local green projects across a wide swath of the US.   

Another $6 billion will be awarded to up to seven nonprofit “hubs” under the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator, intended to help lenders in underserved communities build the skills and capacity needed to expand into green lending.

Among those expected to share in that pot are Opportunity Finance Network, the membership network of community development financial institutions, or CDFIs; the Native CDFI Network; the Justice Climate Fund, organized by the Community Builders of Color Coalition; and community development credit union Inclusiv.

An additional $7 billion in grants is still to be distributed under the Solar for All program to states, territories, tribal governments, municipalities and nonprofits to speed adoption of solar energy in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

The infusion of capital to the country’s community lenders is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build climate resilience and lift up rural, Tribal and communities of color that may otherwise be left behind by the transition to a low-carbon economy. The competing coalitions submitted their proposals last fall; the awardees were widely expected to be announced in March. 

House Republicans have called the climate program a “slush fund” and have vowed to block it. 

National green bank

The Climate United coalition brings together Calvert Impact, Self-Help, the credit union and community development financial institution, and the Community Preservation Corp., which finances multifamily affordable housing. Among its dozens of community lending partners are the Reinvestment Fund, Beneficial State Bank, and TruFund Financial Services.

Housing-focused coalition Power Forward assembled a Who’s Who of affordable and green housing specialists, including Enterprise Community Partners, Local Initiatives Support Corp. or LISC, Rewiring America, United Way and Habitat for Humanity International.

The Coalition for Green Capital, a longtime advocate of a national green bank founded by former FCC chief Reed Hundt, includes dozens of local and state-level green banks as well as nonprofit climate investor Elemental Excelerator.

Catch up on all of our coverage of the Greenhouse Gas reduction Fund on our new Deploy! beat: