The Export-Import Bank of the United States has established a $250 million credit facility aimed at helping to promote and finance renewable energy exports, including solar, wind and geothermal energy products and projects.
The move this week makes Ex-Im the world’s first Export Credit Agency to fashion that kind of credit assistance and also the first to adopt an actual “carbon policy” to guide the financial support of U.S. exports “in light of climate change concerns,” the agency says.
“We want to help American manufacturers produce green technology for the world. This common sense approach is good for the environment. It’s good for business, and it’s good for American workers,” said Fred P. Hochberg, chairman and president of Ex-Im Bank.
Ex-Im Bank’s carbon policy includes a commitment to explore ways to further improve the transparency in the tracking and reporting of CO2 emissions from projects that it supports.
The policy also commits Ex-Im to be a leader in the financing of climate-friendly technologies made by American workers, including those that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency.
Ex-Im Bank is also committed to push the UN‘s Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to create financing incentives for low to zero CO2-emitting projects, a common methodology for evaluating and taking into account the social cost of carbon, and disincentives for high intensity fossil fuel projects.
Ex-Im says it initiated efforts involving the OECD initiative “within hours” of the carbon policy’s approval.
“Ex-Im Bank will encourage export credit agencies, multilateral development banks and other lending institutions to adopt similar CO2 policies, including encouraging transparency and the involvement of stakeholders,” the policy says.
Back in 1998, the Bank was the first ECA to track greenhouse gas emissions of projects for which it provided financing. It was also the first to publicly disclose those figures.
In fiscal year 2009, which ended September 30, the Bank authorized more than $21 billion in support of U.S. exports and associated jobs, the highest financing level since it was established in 1934. The Bank, which is the official, independent export credit agency of the U.S., also set a record for financing of U.S. small business exports at $4.36 billion.
Ex-Im is finally putting some real green where its mouth is when it comes to green exports, even though $250 million seems a drop in the bucket in view of its total export support activities.
But it’s a start. Here’s a thought: Build the clean-tech, smart-grid products the world is demanding right here in the U.S., export them, and watch our huge trade deficit begin to dwindle.