Renewable Energy is Essential for Us and Future Generations
We believe that together, we can reverse climate change, reduce the harmful effects on current populations, and allow future generations to live and thrive on our planet. Part of our collective solution is to move quickly toward renewable energy. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Power generation is a leading cause of air pollution and the single largest source of U.S. global warming emissions. Coal is the worst offender, a dirty energy source that produces less than half our electricity but nearly 80 percent of all power plant carbon emissions,… and (natural gas) is a fossil fuel that generates substantial global warming emissions, and has other health, environmental, and economic risks.”
Particulate matter caused by power plant emissions, car exhaust, and other fossil fuel emitters are believed to be among the leading causes and triggers of asthma, the most common chronic disorder of childhood. And children living below the poverty line have significantly higher rates of the disease than higher income children, in part due to the proximity of their homes to these sources of pollution.
Invest, Divest, and Join Forces
Collectively, banks and investors have immense power to direct our energy production. We can choose to fund clean, renewable energy and refuse to fund extractive and dirty energy sources like coal, oil, and gas. At Beneficial State, we’ve made this choice and — through organizations like Global Alliance for Banking on Values and pledges like the Paris Pledge to Quit Coal — we are part of a movement to work with others to do the same.
Our energy lending is comprised of companies that create clean energy from four renewable sources: sun, wind, water, and waste. Within this clean portfolio, we are intentional in how we select sources and projects — supporting only small scale hydro, funding appropriate biogas digester facilities, and ensuring local community input, benefits, and ownership where possible. We aim to grow this portfolio in the inevitable migration to an advanced energy economy, and secure a planet on which our fellow humans, our children, our grandchildren, and future generations can thrive.
As of year end 2016 we had committed $36.1 million to renewable energy projects in California, Washington and Idaho.
The Context: Clean Air, Global Warming, & Power
Switching to clean, renewable energy helps to ensure that we can meet energy demands of future generations without running out, reduces respiratory-illness-causing pollution at the source, and helps to reduce climate-change-causing carbon emissions. Get a sense of these real impacts of our energy lending below.
The Lives and Land Impacted
Meet Beneficial State clients Kevin and Daryl Maas, brothers from Skagit County, WA, whose innovative projects are helping to save small dairy farms while producing renewable energy.
Ensure your money isn’t funding coal, and explore other ways to take action here.
Definitions and Methodology
Our lending supports our borrowers to produce renewable energy. We work with each borrower to understand the kWh of energy they expect to produce each year. Our data is based on these estimates and updates from borrowers on their actual production. When we support existing facilities, production numbers are counted starting in the first full month after we make the loan. For loans that support new construction, production numbers are counted the first full month after a facility begins producing renewable energy.
Carbon offset equivalents are determined via the calculators provided by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Information from Union of Concerned Scientists excerpted from the UCS website on October 12, 2015.
Asthma data from “Pollution, Poverty and People of Color: Asthma and the Inner City, “Scientific American. Excerpted from the Scientific American website on December 20, 2015.