Bonds

Green bonds, or clean energy bonds, are a financial tool that governments and private financiers use to pool money for renewable energy projects.  A government entity, corporation, or banking institution issues the bonds, which are then bought by investors.  The bond issuer uses the investors' funds to finance renewable energy projects. 

For instance, since 2008, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation have issued approximately $12.2 billion in green bonds whose proceeds helped finance projects such as a solar facility in Mexico and energy efficiency projects in China (http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatechange/brief/green-bonds-climate-finance).  In 2012, the amount of green bonds available globally was under $5 billion; that amount increased to almost $50 billion in 2015, and is expected to potentially double in 2016 (sourcehttp://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/02/renewable-energy-finance-outlook-2016-the-year-of-the-green-dollar.html?cmpid=renewablestorage02112016&eid=291096904&bid=1307424).

Below is a small sample of government and corporate green bond and other financing programs.

GOVERNMENT

Alamosa Solar Generating Plant, Colorado - photo by L Barnhart

INTERNATIONAL

World Bank

Weblinkhttp://treasury.worldbank.org/cmd/htm/WorldBankGreenBonds.html

Description: The World Bank Green Bond raises funds from fixed income investors to support World Bank lending for eligible projects that seek to mitigate climate change or help affected people adapt to it. The product was designed in partnership with Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) to respond to specific investor demand for a triple-A rated fixed income product that supports projects that address the climate challenge. Since 2008, the World Bank has  issued over USD 9 billion equivalent in Green Bonds through more than 120 transactions in 18 currencies. Projects: http://treasury.worldbank.org/cmd/htm/MoreGreenProjects.html.

Contact information: debtsecurities@worldbank.org ⎮Tel: +1 (202) 477 2880 ⎮ Web: http://treasury.worldbank.org/capitalmarkets/ ⎮ Address: Investor Relations, Capital Markets Department
1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433, USA

International Finance Corporation

Weblinkhttp://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/Topics_Ext_Content/

IFC_External_Corporate_Site/IFC+Finance/Investor+Information/Green_Bonds

Description: IFC is one of the world’s largest financiers of climate-smart projects for developing countries, providing financing over the last decade for renewable power, energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture, green buildings and private sector adaptation to climate change.

Contact information: IFC ∙ 2121 Pennsylvania Avenue NW ∙ Washington, DC 20433 USA ∙ +1 202 473 8392

AMERICAS

Export Development Canada

Weblinkhttps://www.edc.ca/EN/Investor-Relations/Pages/green-bonds.aspx

Description: Support for environmental companies or projects and clean technologies is a strategic priority for EDC as demand rises for goods and services that allow for a more efficient use of the planet's resources. Opportunities to create trade are abundant in this sector and Canada possesses a large pool of both established and emerging expertise in clean technologies subsectors such as water and wastewater, biofuel, and waste to energy. Eligible transactions will include loans that help mitigate climate change with clean technologies or improved energy efficiency.

Contact information: 1-800-229-0575 ⎮ Export Development Canada, 150 Slater Street, Ottawa, ON, K1A 1K3

U.S. Internal Revenue Service

Weblink:  https://www.irs.gov/tax-exempt-bonds/irs-announces-new-clean-renewable-energy-bonds-allocations

Description: Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) - may be used by certain entities primarily in the public sector  to finance renewable energy projects. The list of qualifying technologies is generally the same as that used for the federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC). CREBs may be issued by electric cooperatives, government entities (states, cities, counties, territories, Indian tribal governments or any political subdivision thereof), and by certain lenders. The bondholder receives federal tax credits in lieu of a portion of the traditional bond interest, resulting in a lower effective interest rate for the borrower. The issuer remains responsible for repaying the principal on the bond.  Participants must first apply to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for a CREBs allocation (see -https://www.irs.gov/irb/2015-8_IRB/ar08.html), and then issue the bonds within a specified time period.  Source - http://energy.gov/savings/clean-renewable-energy-bonds-crebs.

Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QCEB) - a bond that enables qualified state, tribal, and local government issuers to borrow money at attractive rates to fund energy conservation and production projects (it is important to note that QECBs are not grants). A QECB is among the lowest-cost public financing tools because the U.S. Department of the Treasury subsidizes the issuer's borrowing costs.  QECBs are taxable bonds—meaning that investors must pay federal taxes on QECB interest they receive. Issuers may choose between structuring QECBs as tax credit bonds (bond investors receive federal tax credits in lieu of interest payments) or as direct subsidy bonds (bond issuers receive cash rebates from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to subsidize their net interest payments).  The U.S. Congress authorized $3.2 billion of QECB issuance capacity, which has been allocated to states, local governments, and tribal governments based upon population.  Sourcehttp://energy.gov/eere/slsc/qualified-energy-conservation-bonds.

Tax-Exempt Bonds fro Nonprofit Organizations and Industries - State-chartered bond authorities can issue tax-exempt bonds for energy efficiency retrofits owned by eligible borrowers (non-profits and industry and manufacturing for defined types of exempt facilities) can be formed between bond authorities and state and local government energy efficiency finance programs. Utilities, energy efficiency companies and energy service companies, end-user associations (for hospitals, higher education, private schools, and industry), and others can pool their talents to generate project deal flow and market the energy efficiency/renewable energy finance products, which the bond authority can arrange.  Sourcehttp://energy.gov/eere/tax-exempt-bond-financing-nonprofit-organizations-and-industries

ASIA 

Asian Development Bank

Weblinkhttp://www.adb.org/site/investors/adb-green-bonds

Description: ADB's climate change strategy is to mitigate rising greenhouse gas emissions by helping economies in Asia and the Pacific to transition towards low-carbon development and adapt to the effects of climate change. ADB's climate change program identifies five priority areas: clean energy; sustainable transport and urban development; land use and forest management for carbon sequestration; building climate resilience; and strengthening related policies, governance, and institutions.

Contact information: Headquarters: 6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550, Metro Manila, Philippines ⎮+632 632 4444

Export Import Bank of India

Weblinkhttps://www.eximbankindia.in/green-initiatives

Description: Export-Import Bank of India  launched a five year Reg S Green Bond issue of USD 500 million on March 24, 2015 under the Bank’s USD 10 billion Euro Medium-Term Note Programme. The issue attracted subscription of around 3.2 times the issue size across 140 accounts.

Contact information: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Sahar Road, Sahar, Andheri East, Mumbai, MH 400099 ⎮ 022 6685 1010

EUROPE

European Investment Bank

Weblink:  http://www.eib.org/investor_relations/cab/index.htm

Description: CAB-eligible projects in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency include, but are not exclusive to: (1) renewable energy projects such as wind, hydro, solar and geothermal energy production; and (2) energy efficiency projects such as district heating, co-generation, building insulation, energy loss reduction in transmission and distribution and equipment replacement with significant energy efficiency improvements.

Contact information: 98-100, boulevard Konrad Adenauer, L-2950 Luxembourg ⎮ (+352) 43 79 1

STATES

States generally issue Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds allocated by the federal government as described above (U.S. Internal Revenue Service).  States that have issued QECB bonds include Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Hawaii used its QECB allocation to allow a state agency to issue revenue bonds at competitive rates; the bonds were financed by a fee added to electric bills. (source - http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/reports/2014/04/clean-energy-bonds/cleanenergyfunds.pdf)

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Local governments have developed a variety of ways to structure clean energy bonds.  For example, Morris County, NJ combined power purchase agreements (PPAs) with government-issued bonds. The county issued bonds for a 3.2 MW solar energy project that put solar panels on 19 schools and county buildings (source - http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/reports/2014/04/clean-energy-bonds/cleanenergyfunds.pdf).

U.S. cities that have issued green bonds include New York, NY and Seattle, WA. Cities that have signed solar PPAs include San Diego, CA, Tucson, AZ, Salt Lake City, UT, and Minneapolis, MN, among others (see the NREL report, Financing Solar Energy Projects: The Role of Local Government  - http://www.nlc.org/energy).

CORPORATE

Unsplash - photo by Mike Wilson

Apple, Inc.

Weblinkhttp://www.apple.com/environment/climate-change/

Description: in February 2016, Apple issued a US$1.5 billion green bond dedicated to financing environmental projects, including renewable energy initiatives at their facilities and with their suppliers around the world.

JP Morgan Chase

Weblinkhttps://www.jpmorganchase.com

Description: JP Morgan Chase underwrites green bonds to finance environmentally-beneficial projects.

Southern Company

Weblinkhttp://investor.southerncompany.com/English/information-for-investors/Green-Bonds/default.aspx

Description: in 2015, Southern Power completed the issuance of $1 billion of green bonds (Series 2015C and 2015D), becoming the first investment-grade power producer in the U.S. to offer this type of security to support investment in sustainable generation.

Westar Energy

Weblinkhttps://www.westarenergy.com/content/about-us/news/2016-news-releases/green-bond

Description:  Westar Energy of Kansas is offering investors $350 million in green bonds, which will be used to invest in wind energy projects, primarily the construction of the Western Plains Wind Farm.