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The Inside Story of How Connecticut Became So Influential in Energy Efficiency Finance

Nick Lombardi
July 8, 2014

Back in May, news broke in Connecticut that CEFIA, the state’s green bank, had inked a deal with specialty investor Clean Fund to bundle and securitize $30 million of PACE loans for energy retrofits in commercial buildings.

For a small group of people, it was very big news. Could this event be the key that unlocks vast stores of institutional capital sitting on the sidelines? Did it signal to the investment community that energy efficiency as a standalone asset class has arrived?

It’s still too soon to know if this really will be the deal that opens the floodgates of the capital markets. But, turning point or not, it will certainly have an impact on the broader landscape of the energy efficiency industry.

The story of how the deal came to be highlights just how far energy efficiency finance has come.

Jessica Bailey, CEFIA’s Director, has a long history with PACE. She first learned about it while she headed up the sustainability and clean energy grant portfolio for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. One of the organizations funded by RBF during Bailey’s tenure there was PACENow, the national PACE advocacy group directed by David Gabrielson.

Less than two years after her introduction to the model, Bailey found herself up in Connecticut leading the charge to get PACE-enabling legislation passed, drawing on the insights she gained watching other programs roll out across the country. Read more.