Seen: Province starts setting up ‘green bank’

Seen: Province starts setting up ‘green bank’

Ontario has begun laying the groundwork for the “green bank” that will try to help consumers and businesses finance climate-friendly upgrades.

The bank was first announced in June as part of the Liberal government’s five-year climate change action plan, and is based off similar institutions set up in the United States, namely in Vermont and New York.

“The corporation’s activities would focus on reducing market barriers to deployment of low-carbon technologies, including through improved access to information, incentives, and strategic use of financial de-risking tools to encourage greater private sector investment, emphasizing fuel-switching, energy storage and deep energy retrofits,” says a regulation proposing the institution, which was posted Thursday.

The proposed name of the company is the “Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corporation,” with the “public-facing” moniker to be determined later, the regulation says.

The green bank would be funded by and is intended to “complement” the province’s coming cap-and-trade system. Cap and trade will start next year, and aims to reduce emissions and raise revenue by requiring businesses to pay for a gradually shrinking number of pollution permits. The government projects cap and trade will raise about $1.9 billion annually, with the money be plugged into greenhouse gas-reducing programs.

The regulation says the company will have  nine to 12 directors who will be appointed by the government, “with collective experience and expertise in specified areas.” Even with a board of directors, it will still have to comply with orders handed down by the environment minister. The board members would serve three-year terms with the possibility of reappointment.

The company’s mission, per the regulation, is “is to stimulate the development of industry, trades and business undertakings in Ontario that will further the deployment in Ontario of technology that is commercially available and that reduces GHGs from buildings and from the production of goods.”

It will do so by offering information, services and incentives to consumers to invest in ways of reducing their emissions. It will also do so help finance those activities, as well as prod the private sector to do the same.

The programs the bank will set up must be fore existing homes, new residential buildings and manufacturing operations. The company would also report annually with audited financial statements, along with quarterly financial statements.

The proposed regulation is up for public comment until January 30.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Twitter: @geoffzochodne 

Geoff Zochodne

Geoff Zochodne joined QP Briefing in 2014 after working as a reporter, photographer and editorial writer for The Oshawa Express weekly newspaper. He is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. To contact Geoff: 905-926-8026 Twitter: @geoffzochodne

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