Report

Clean Energy Finance Through the Bond Market: A New Option for Progress

Lewis M. Milford, Toby Rittner, Devashree Saha, Mark Muro, and Robert Sanders

CleanEnergyCoverState and local bond finance represents a powerful but underutilized tool for future clean energy investment.

For 100 years, the nation’s state and local infrastructure finance agencies have issued trillions of dollars’ worth of public finance bonds to fund the construction of the nation’s roads, bridges, hospitals, and other infrastructure—and literally built America. Now, as clean energy subsidies from Washington dwindle, these agencies are increasingly willing to finance clean energy projects, if only the clean energy community will embrace them.

So far, these authorities are only experimenting. However, the bond finance community has accumulated significant experience in getting to scale and knows how to raise large amounts for important purposes by selling bonds to Wall Street. The challenge is therefore to create new models for clean energy bond finance in states and regions, and so to establish a new clean energy asset class that can easily be traded in capital markets. To that end, this brief argues that state and local bonding authorities and other partners should do the following:

Authors

T

Toby Rittner

President and CEO, Council of Development Finance Agencies

R

Robert Sanders

Consultant in Clean Energy and Sustainable Community Development

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