Philly’s first “green bank” wants to improve access to clean energy and fight climate change


Climate change affects the poorest communities differently. Its effects can be found in less shaded – and less invested – neighborhoods like the predominantly black and Latinx-populated game park, for example, which has a temperature difference of up to 22 degrees from other parts. of the city with more trees.

With the Philadelphia Green Capital Corp. (PGCC), Executive director Maryrose Myrtetus wants to improve access to green energy for communities across the city and slow the effects of climate change.

While “green bank” is a term commonly used in the clean energy industry, Myrtetus, a former director of the Princeton renewable energy company Clearway Energy, explained that green banks are not financial or depository institutions. Green banks are nonprofits that focus on financing clean energy, she said, with more than 20 across the country operating as financial tools.

“Green banks are coordinating with banks on a number of clean energy projects,” she said. Technically. “We connect projects to capital. Programs that other green banks have implemented include working with local credit unions and community banks to provide energy assistance. “

Maryrose Myrtetus. (Photo via LinkedIn)

PGCC is a subsidiary of the Philadelphia Energy Authority and is headquartered near the agency at the town hall. PGCC aims to generate $ 250 million in investment alongside the Philadelphia Energy Campaign, created in 2016 under the Council Darrell clarke to create 10,000 jobs and invest $ 1 billion in clean energy initiatives.

The development of a Philly Green Bank has local implications and national links. In 2017, the mayor Jim kenney made plans for a greener Philly which included goals such as switching to 100% renewable electricity. After four years without support from the former president that of Donald Trump administration, in January 2021, Kenney said he wanted Philly to be carbon neutral by 2050.

In the meantime, if adopted, the president Joe biden $ 1 trillion and $ 3.5 trillion national infrastructure bill Rebuild Better Act could eliminate pollution by 45% by 2030. Similarly, the Energy and Trade Commission voted to advance the subtitles of the legislation by about $ 456 billion, including billions for a national green bank. Myrtetus said that PGCC is ready and eligible for federal funding, if the bill passes.

Barriers like hard-to-develop solar efficiency projects and limited funding often prevent the public from accessing clean energy resources, Myrtetus said.

Poverty and systemic racism have also played a role in the slow adoption of green energy resources by communities. In the United States, up to half of black families currently face energy instability and may have to decide between paying for electricity or using the same funds to buy food or other resources.

Myrtetus said the PGCC will meet with community organizations to help residents better understand its mission and advocate for Solarize Philly, a program designed to provide everyone in Philly with access to solar power for their home. Work with commercial property owners to secure low cost loans to make their properties more energy efficient – including the PGCC Pre-Development Loan for the Design of Energy Projects in Multi-Family and Non-Profit Properties, and its Term loan for clean energy improvements to affordable and non-profit housing buildings – is also a top priority.

Michael Butler is a 2020-2022 corps member of Report for America, an initiative of the Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. -30-

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