April 20, 2020

Commentary: Let’s Stimulate Our Clean Energy Future, North Carolina

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

North Carolina is facing troubling and uncertain times as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The economic stimulus package recently passed by Congress should help. But more help will likely be needed down the road.

Additional stimulus measures should focus on areas where new jobs can be created quickly once the bell rings and Americans can go back to work, write Jennifer Weiss, senior policy associate at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and Jeffrey Schub, executive director of the Coalition for Green Capital, in Southeast Energy News.

Weiss and Schub write that the United States has an opportunity to do that — to put people back to work — while building a sustainable future by creating jobs in clean energy infrastructure, clean transportation and energy efficiency.

Congress could make this vision a reality by establishing a national climate bank — an independent nonprofit green bank — to finance clean infrastructure and construction jobs across the United States. While the National Climate Bank could finance projects that are regional or national in scope, it could also provide capital to state and local green banks better suited to finance smaller local projects.

North Carolina is uniquely poised to take advantage of such an investment, capitalizing on a statewide green bank recommendation in the North Carolina Clean Energy Plan and a market assessment currently underway.