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MN Climate Innovation Finance Authority

Current Update (02/07/2024): MnCIFA has launched a Request for Information. See details below.

Request for Information

MnCIFA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) from clean energy project developers, asset owners, financial institutions and other relevant parties to:

  1. Inform the design of financial products and programs housed within MnCIFA. Products could include warehousing and aggregation credit facilities; credit enhancements; pre-development and construction financing; and term loans and investments, amongst other structures.
  2. Solicit initial feedback on the potential use of state funds from a State Energy Financing Institution (SEFI) to implement the goals of MnCIFA while leveraging federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO). Specifically, MnCIFA seeks initial input to inform how to best leverage the DOE LPO SEFI-supported category of the Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program. Through this program category, LPO can augment state-administered clean energy programs providing additional financial support to projects that align federal energy priorities with those of U.S. states like Minnesota.

The responses to the RFI will inform us as we develop our strategic plan and long-term investment strategies.

Background

During the 2023 Session, the Minnesota Legislature passed bills that created and funded the Minnesota Climate Innovation Finance Authority (MnCIFA). The mission of MnCIFA, a publicly-accountable financing authority commonly known in other states as a “green bank,” will be to accelerate the adoption of proven clean energy technology and greenhouse gas reduction projects to expand access to untapped markets and to bring benefits to historically underserved communities.

Article 21, Section 2, of Minnesota Laws 2023 Chapter 53 created Minnesota Climate Innovation Authority Account to stimulate the development of clean energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects by using innovative financing tools to leverage private and public capital to overcome the market barriers that inhibit the financing of these projects.

Article 21, Section 6 (b) states that, in the biennium ending on June 30, 2025, Minnesota Department of Management and Budget will transfer $25 million from the general fund to the Minnesota Climate Innovation Authority Account.

Article 10, Section 6 of the Energy and Climate Omnibus Appropriates $20 Million from the General Fund to the Minnesota Climate Innovation Authority Account.  

Key MnCIFA provisions:

MnCIFA will use public dollars to leverage private investment by reducing the perceived risk, pooling projects to create investable opportunities, and demonstrating the performance of clean energy projects in our market. MnCIFA will partner with Minnesota's strong ecosystem of clean energy service providers, using additional investment to increase the adoption of existing products and reduce barriers for underserved and low-income populations.

MnCIFA will create robust consumer protections and support further development of Minnesota's clean energy workforce by requiring that major projects are subject to prevailing wage requirements and that MnCIFA prioritizes activities supporting creation of high-quality employment and apprenticeship opportunities for local workers.

Members of the Board

  • Chair: Bali Kumar – Member with Expertise in Investment Fund Management or Financing and Deploying Clean Energy Technologies
  • Vice Chair: Tessa Haagenson – Member Representing Either a Municipal Electric Utility or a Cooperative Electric Association
  • Axaule Sultanova –Member with Expertise in Sustainable Development and Energy Conservation 
  • Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin – Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
  • Frank Kohlasch – Designee for Minnesota Pollution Control Agency 
  • Jenna Warmuth –Member with Expertise in the Impact of Climate Change on Minnesota communities, Particularly Low-Income Communities
  • Joe Fowler – Representative of a Labor Union with Experience in Working on Clean Energy Projects
  • Julia Nelmark – Member with Expertise in Financing Projects at a Community Bank, Credit Union, Community Development Institution, or Local Government 
  • Kevin McKinnon – Designee for Department of Employment & Economic Development 
  • Kate Perushek – Designee for Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry 
  • Katherine Teiken – Designee for Minnesota Housing Finance Agency 
  • Pete Wyckoff – Designee for Minnesota Department of Commerce
  • Shalini Gupta – Member with Expertise in Environmental Justice

Staff: Peter Klein, Interim Executive Director

September 29, 2023 update: The Governor has made initial appointments to the MnCIFA Board. More information about appointees can be found on the Governor's appointments website.

November 20, 2023 update: The first MnCIFA Board Meeting took place on Wednesday, November 15th. During the meeting Bali Kumar was elected Board Chair and Tessa Haagenson was elected Vice Chair.

Additional January 5, 2024 updates: Slides from the November 15 meeting can now be accessed here: pdf

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