Ecority, a nonprofit coalition of credit unions and state-chartered green banks, has applied to the EPA-administered Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) with the intention of deploying clean energy projects in low-income and disadvantaged communities (LIDAC).
The GGRF provides competitive grants to mobilize financing and leverage private capital for clean energy and climate projects in LIDACs. The fund’s $27 billion investment will mobilize financing and private capital toward these projects.
The GGRF was a product of the Inflation Reduction Act, which was signed into law last year and included numerous investments and provisions to promote climate change policies. Renewable energy and energy efficiency have seen a huge boost since the IRA’s passage.
Ecority, which represents a network of 17,000 credit union community branches, plans to deploy EPA funds with regulated financial institutions that are already in place with strong community relationships and benefit markets that have been traditionally overlooked. The EPA also recently announced it will deploy $128 million in funding for 186 designated projects focused on environmental justice through the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreement and Environmental Justice Government-to-Government program. Those funds were also designated by the Inflation Reduction Act.
“Leveraging these funds is key to achieving GGRF’s core objectives of decarbonization, building community capacity, and realizing environmental justice benefits,” Ecority CEO Chuck Purvis said in a statement. “Ecority’s unique ability to facilitate access to the lowest cost financing, and with leverage to GGRF grants, assures more projects for more people who will benefit most.”
Extending the Reach of Green Financing
Deploying the EPA funds will help make financing clean energy projects more affordable and more accessible to more individuals, businesses, and communities, Ecority said. Specifically, with the reach of 130 million members using federally insured deposits entrusted to U.S. credit unions, Ecority’s program can scale GGRF capital up to 30 times the taxpayer-funded investment, the group said.
Ecority applied for $14.87 billion from the National Clean Investment Fund (NCIF) and Clean Communities Investment Accelerator programs, with approximately $200 million in synergies that can be directed to additional LIDAC-focused consumer programs, the coalition said.
According to its application, nearly 40% of Ecority’s grant funding request will be directed to commercial and industrial investment through Ecority’s green bank coalition partners. This will support a pipeline of clean energy projects.
Ecority’s NCIF program could result in more than $100 billion of capital to fund GGRF-eligible projects during the initial program period. According to Ecority, these investments will support more than 5.25 million projects and reduce nearly 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Ecority’s application to the fund was endorsed by the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), and supported by the Community Foundation Climate Collaborative.