September 18, 2018

Green Bank hopes carbon credits will jumpstart electric vehicle chargers

HBJ File Photo
HBJ File Photo
CT Green Bank CEO Bryan Garcia.

In addition to the still relatively high price of an electric vehicle, lack of charging facilities in some areas is a major hurdle to spurring consumer demand for the environmentally friendly cars.

Now, the quasi-public Connecticut Green Bank, known for designing novel financing products and drawing private investment for clean energy, is hoping that enabling the owners of EV chargers to generate and sell carbon credits will spark buildout of more charging infrastructure in the state.

To facilitate the verification and sale of those credits, the Green Bank worked with the Electric Vehicle Charging Carbon Coalition (EVCCC) to develop a new set of industry standards that dictate how to measure the amount of carbon dioxide reduced by electric vehicle chargers.

The idea is that having verifiable standards in place will lead to more sales of voluntary credits because buyers will have confidence that their money is actually making an environmental difference.

Corporations, colleges and others wishing to offset their own environmental impact already purchase carbon credits from various sources voluntarily, but EV chargers are a small sliver of the overall market, with 2016 credit sales totaling just $191 million, according to Ecosystem Marketplace. Across the world, the transportation sector represented just 3 percent of the total amount of carbon dioxide offset by voluntary credits that year, and just 1 percent of total dollar volume, Ecosystem said.

Electric vehicle infrastructure doesn't have the kind of investment returns that many venture capital firms look for, EVCCC said, so the effort requires other sources of more "patient capital."

Green Bank CEO Bryan Garcia said the new verification standards are "another arrow in the quiver to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and confront climate change."

"By valuing emission reductions we can increase private investment in EV infrastructure, which in turn will help increase consumer demand for EVs," Garcia said. "By seeing more EV infrastructure, consumers will understand that EVs come with easy access to cheaper and cleaner fuel."

The Green Bank hopes to act as an aggregator for Connecticut-produced carbon credits, bundling, verifying and selling them on behalf of EV charger owners for a fee. Officials at the bank said Tuesday that they are still soliciting owners and haven't signed any contracts yet.

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