Cambridge, MA – The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, a leading research center at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, today named the Connecticut Green Bank the winner of the 2017 Innovations in American Government Award. The award, including a $100,000 grand prize to support the replication and dissemination of the initiative, will be presented at a ceremony in Hartford, Conn., later this summer.
“It is an honor for the Connecticut Green Bank to be named the Ash Center’s Innovations in American Government Award recipient for 2017,” says Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “As cities and states across this country confront climate change, green banks can help mobilize more private investment and accelerate the growth of their local green energy economies.”
Recognized by Harvard for its “Sparking the Green Bank Movement” nomination, the Green Bank is the first of its kind in the United States and continues to be a thought leader in green financing innovation. Established by Governor Malloy through bipartisan support from the Connecticut General Assembly in July of 2011, the green bank model demonstrates how public resources can be better directed in ways that mobilize private investment in local green economies. From greater deployment of green energy by local contractors to lowering consumers’ energy burden, the Green Bank is committed to realizing a vision of inclusive prosperity through its charge to protect the environment.
“The Connecticut Green Bank is an exemplar of how states can meet their climate change reduction targets by working to leverage private-sector dollars to help finance green energy infrastructure,” said Stephen Goldsmith, Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and the Director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. “The success of Connecticut’s Green Bank is spurring the adoption of similar efforts by states and cities across the country, and illustrates how Hartford’s innovative approach to green energy financing can create jobs, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and lower energy bills.”
Connecticut has been at the forefront of state-level efforts to combat the threat of global climate change. The state’s 2005 Climate Change Action Plan outlined a multitude of specific steps the state could take to help lower greenhouse gas emissions. The state built upon this ambitious plan with the passage of with the landmark Connecticut Global Warming Solutions Act, establishing mandatory greenhouse gas reductions targets. The aggressive goals included a 10-percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2020 and an 80-percent reduction below 2001 levels by 2050.
In creating a thriving clean energy market, the Green Bank is advancing a larger mission that not only makes green energy more accessible and affordable for Connecticut families and businesses, but also creates jobs and spurs local economic development. Since 2011, for every public dollar invested, the bank has attracted six dollars of private investment. An estimated 13,000 jobs have been created through the Green Bank, which has also driven a total of $1 billion of clean energy investment across the state. This translates to more than 215 megawatts of clean power, over 20,000 projects, and a reduction of CO2 emissions by 2.6 million tons. As for cost, clean energy prices have decreased by an estimated 20–30 percent.
“The Connecticut Green Bank has sparked a green bank movement. Our simple promise of increasing affordability and accessibility to green energy has evolved into a greater commitment to our stakeholders,” states Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank. “We believe that everything we do, we do to help families thrive and businesses grow. We do it in the interest of achieving inclusive prosperity not only within Connecticut and across the country, but around the world.”
The Innovations in American Government Award is the nation’s preeminent recognition for excellence and creativity in the public sector. The award program receives thousands of applications that are evaluated on criteria to assess their novelty, effectiveness, significance, and transferability. The Ford Foundation created the Innovations in American Government Awards in 1985 in response to widespread pessimism and distrust in government’s effectiveness.
Since its inception, over 500 government innovations across all jurisdiction levels have been recognized and have collectively received more than $22 million in grants to support dissemination efforts.
- Watch the Connecticut Greek Bank present at the 2017 Innovations in American Government Award Finalists event.
- Visit the Ash Center website for more information about the Innovations in American Government Awards, to explore previous winners, and to sign up for our newsletter for upcoming information about the next award cycle.
About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit www.ash.harvard.edu.
Associate Director for Communications
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
Harvard Kennedy School