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Colorado Energy Office helps launch “green bank” to spur clean-energy investments

Renewable Energy

The Colorado Energy Office is helping launch a “green bank” that will leverage private dollars to enhance and spur investment in clean-energy projects.

The energy office has formed the nonprofit Colorado Clean Energy Fund, which will team up with the Coalition for Green Capital and other organizations. The coalition, whose partners include the U.S. Department of Energy, foundations, and environmental organizations, works nationally and internationally to increase investment in renewable-energy and energy-efficient projects.

“This is really the culmination of a multi-year effort,” Jeff King, a program manager with the energy office, said Tuesday. “We’ve engaged with the coalition for several years, looking at the Colorado market and identifying possible financial gaps.”

Once the Colorado Clean Energy Fund begins operation, expected in early 2019, other partners will be involved, King added.

“Our goal in Colorado is to make sure we have the cleanest air and water possible,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement . “Access to financing capital for clean-energy projects will make our state an even bigger draw for businesses looking to move and invest here.”

King said state dollars won’t be used for the fund. The Coalition for Green Capital will help with start-up costs.

Making the kind of changes envisioned in the Colorado Climate Plan aren’t easy and aren’t cheap, said Susan Nedell of Environmental Entrepreneurs, a national group of business leaders, investors and professionals.

The climate plan calls for, among other things, reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions by more than 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025 and maximizing the use of renewable energy without increasing taxpayers’ costs.

“What this program does is help make funding available to Colorado’s clean energy entrepreneurs and businesses who are literally changing our state in ways that are good for our economy and good for our environment,” Nedell, the business group’s Rocky Mountains advocate, said in an email.

A report released this year by Environmental Entrepreneurs said Colorado has 57,591 clean-energy jobs with workers in all 64 counties. Colorado ranks seventh among the 50 states and District of Columbia in renewable-energy jobs, according to the report.

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