A bigger role for cdfis in clean energy and climate resiliency finance

A Bigger Role for CDFIs in Clean Energy and Climate Resiliency Finance  

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OFN has influenced the design of climate finance programs under the Inflation Reduction Act, including the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

Throughout 2023, the OFN policy team has been working hard to advocate for and represent mission lenders on Capitol Hill and beyond. With Washington slowing down in August while Congress is in recess, we are taking stock of our progress. 

We are sharing a series of updates across all OFN federal policy priorities that advance our shared 2023 policy agenda.

OFN has been deeply involved in the clean energy programs created last year under the Inflation Reduction Act, particularly the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF). After months of advocacy with the Biden-Harris Administration, Congress, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the formal applications for all three GGRF competitions were finally announced this summer.

At an event in Baltimore, Vice President Kamala Harris launched the grant competitions for the National Clean Investment Fund and Clean Communities Investment Accelerator. The vice president emphasized the vital role that community lenders, including CDFIs, will play in these initiatives.

With $6 billion set aside for the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator, the EPA will make 2-7 awards to national nonprofit “hubs.” These awards aim to strengthen the capabilities of community lenders so that everyone can access capital for climate finance. The National Clean Investment Fund has $14 billion available. This fund is all about direct investment. The EPA will make 2-3 awards to national nonprofit entities through this program.

OFN will apply as a lead applicant on the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator and will be a subrecipient partner to the National Clean Investment Fund. 

OFN board members and staff with Deanne Millison, Office of the Vice President’s chief economic advisor

We’ve Been Preparing for This Moment

OFN has been preparing for these GGRF opportunities for nearly a year, and the hard work has paid off.

OFN is mission-built for the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator. We will leverage our position as a national intermediary and resource hub that is uniquely organized around building financing capacity for community lenders. With grants, technical assistance, and loans, OFN aims to fast-track clean energy financing in low-income, low-wealth communities. OFN will support CDFIs and community lenders at all climate capacity stages with a comprehensive package of support to adopt, grow, and scale climate lending.

We’re also closely watching the rollout of other climate initiatives under the Inflation Reduction Act. From the EPA and USDA to the Department of Energy and Treasury’s new tax credits, we’re tracking it all.

This is just a snapshot of how OFN’s public policy team is making strides in the clean energy and climate finance arena.   

OFN is inviting community lenders to join our climate pipeline. Not a lender? There are other ways to support our application to the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator. Learn more and stay up to date with this opportunity by visiting our GGRF page.

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