Colorado Creates New Fund To Support Clean Energy Projects

Colorado is launching a new nonprofit, called The Colorado Clean Energy Fund, to help finance clean energy projects in the state.

Modeled after other so-called “green banks” across the country, the fund will leverage private financing for projects ranging from community solar gardens to energy efficiency initiatives.

Jeffrey King with the Colorado Energy Office said a nonprofit green bank can help direct resources into underserved markets.

“It’s an entity that’s not designed to compete with current lenders or the private sector in any way, but rather to complement the existing offerings that they have, or to help create new ones in partnership with them so that you kind of have a conduit or a channel in which you can increase the investment into clean energy,” he explained.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced the new fund Saturday in a video address to the U.S. Climate Action Center in Poland, where a global conference on climate change is underway.

“As you all gather in Poland to implement the Paris Agreement and raise global ambition, know that Colorado is with you,” he said. “We are committed to reducing emissions, creating jobs and expanding economic growth -- The Colorado Clean Energy fund is an enormous opportunity to help us get there.”

The fund is one piece of the Governor’s broader Colorado Climate Plan, which was unveiled in 2014 and updated this year. That plan established a goal of reducing Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 26 percent of 2005 levels by 2025.

The Clean Energy Fund is currently in the process of raising capital from national foundations and philanthropic investors. King, with the Colorado Energy Office, says he expects the fund to start making investments next year.