Apr 4, 2024 - Energy & Environment

Biden admin doles out $20B in "green bank" funding

Illustration of a dimly lit coin icon becoming brighter as it loads

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Biden officials just unveiled organizations that will receive $20 billion designed to flow into tens of thousands of clean energy and pollution-cutting projects nationwide.

Why it matters: The "Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund" is the largest single non-tax investment in the 2022 climate law.

  • The fund, $27 billion total, has a big focus on poor and disadvantaged communities often hit hard by pollution.

The big picture: The EPA-led program is staking nonprofits that will, in turn, seek to build and sustain a wide network of community finance institutions. They will provide low-cost loans and other aid.

  • It's often called a "green bank" initiative, and it's designed to mobilize private capital levels that far exceed the taxpayer dollars.
  • At least $14 billion of the $20 billion announced Thursday is reserved for low-income and rural areas, neighborhoods of color, "energy communities" (like regions with closed coal mines), and more.

How it works: One GGRF program is the $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund. Grants EPA and the White House announced Thursday under that umbrella include:

  • Almost $7 billion for the Climate United Fund to focus on segments including consumers, small businesses and farms, and schools.
  • $5 billion for the longstanding Coalition for Green Capital to "leverage the existing and growing national network of green banks."
  • A third coalition, Power Forward Communities, will receive $2 billion to focus on decarbonized, affordable housing.

Another pillar is the $6 billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator to build "hubs" that provide technical aid and lending for clean tech projects.

  • The biggest of the five grants, $2.3 billion, is for the Opportunity Finance Network, a decades-old national coalition of hundreds of community development finance institutions.
  • Awardees under the third GGRF pillar, the $7 billion "Solar for All" program, will arrive later this spring, officials said.

Yes, but: Republicans say EPA is ill-equipped to handle the huge fund effectively and have floated legislation to repeal it.

  • House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans have called it a taxpayer-financed "slush fund" the administration will use to help its "special interest friends to advance a radical rush-to-green agenda."

What's next: Harris and EPA boss Michael Regan will tout the funding Thursday in North Carolina — a key swing state.

Go deeper