League Offers Testimony On “Green Bank” Bills

On Wednesday, the League offered testimony on two green energy financing bills, LD 1556 and LD 1659.

LD 1556 would create a commission to study green energy projects and financing for those projects. The proposed commission calls for two members to have expertise in private sector financing and lending. The League has asked the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee to consider dedicating a seat on the commission to a credit union member. The League supports this commission and believes it will help bridge the gap between lenders who claim they are financing green projects, and green developers who testify that there is not enough local lending being done.

LD 1659 proposes to create a green energy accelerator. The proposed accelerator would be part of existing state agencies like Efficiency Maine and would use federal funds to launch loan guarantees, loan loss reserve funds, and other financing stimulus programs. Others have proposed that this bill should create a Maine Green Bank, modeled off of the Connecticut Green Bank. The League encouraged the Committee to consider having a study completed before launching an accelerator. In addition, the League shared its strong support for having the green accelerator housed within existing state agencies.

The League will continue to track and actively participate in green energy financing discussions. Green energy is a top legislative priority for Governor Mills and many lawmakers in Augusta. It is important that credit unions be engaged in this policy area to prevent outside lenders from coming into the state. There are documented cases of predatory lending across the country in the green energy space.