In the wake of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a blog on resiliency seems appropriate. Resiliency is simply defined as the ability to recover quickly from some disruptive change. That disruptive change could mean eating too much turkey, spending too much money, or in the case of this blog, disastrous climate events like Superstorm Sandy that pummeled portions of the east coast two years ago leaving many citizens and businesses without power.
Last month Governor Christie’s Administration in New Jersey, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and the New Jersey Institute of Technology today hosted the Resilience Finance Symposium: Building Resilient and Sustainable Energy Solutions for New Jersey’s Key Infrastructure. Attendees included HB&C and other leaders in the energy, finance, and public policy fields to discuss innovative ways to finance resilient energy systems that can help protect vulnerable regions from the loss of electric power due to extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy. The symposium focused on financing solutions that increase the resilience of energy infrastructure such as microgrids, energy storage, and on-site, distributed generation.
The first half of the day focused on the impact of the Storm on critical infrastructure, how the new Energy Resiliency Bank (ERB) will respond to those impacts, and the areas into which the ERB will drive investment to protect New Jersey’s energy economy and security.
The second half of the day focused on energy efficiency as a resilience mechanism, public and private financing alternatives designed to bring resilience technologies to bear and how the ERB builds upon its initial successes and continues to evolve and grow as it responds changing regulatory and market models and dynamics. Mitch Carpen, the newly appointed Executive Director of the New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank, also discussed the bank’s first product, which will fund critical facilities such as water and wastewater treatment plants. The specific topics included:
- Energy Efficiency: Essential Threshold Measures to Accelerate, Enhance and Insure Long-Term Resilience
- Financing Energy Resilience, Microgrids, Fuel Cells and Storage: Public Capital Options to Private Engagement
- Energy Resilience Bank – Leading the ERB of Today into the Evolving Regulatory, Energy and Private Capital Markets of Tomorrow
The biggest takeaway from this symposium came from Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank, speaking alongside Alfred Griffin, President of the NY Green Bank, about the need for green banks to help build a self-sustaining market in clean energy finance by leveraging limited public funds to catalyze private investment.
If you are interested in learning more about or establishing a Green Bank in your area, please feel free to Contact Harcourt Brown & Carey.