Minnesota’s Green Bank Starts Its Work

by Juventino Meza, J.D.

MNCIFA names Board

In 2023, Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light led the efforts with partners across the state to pass the Minnesota Climate Innovation Finance Authority (MNCIFA) in order to fill in the financial gaps to transition our state to renewable energy, equitably. You can read more about why we pushed for this law with Senator Tou Xiong and Representative Emma Greenman. 

Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Peggy Flanagan appointed the first Board of the Green Bank last fall and the Board elected a Chair and Vice Chair:

  • 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

Saint Paul Port Authority Vice President of Finance Peter Klein has been named Interim Executive Director of MNCIFA. Brendon Slotterback was hired to consult with MNCIFA. Pete Wyckoff is the Dept. of Commerce’s Assistant Commissioner of Federal and State Energy Initiatives overseeing MNCIFA.

MNCIFA starts it work

We are excited that MNCIFA is getting to do its mandated work – the Minnesota department of Commerce recently announced a Request for Information (RFI) that will inform the design of MNCIFA’s financial products and programs, and get feedback on the potential use of funds. The deadline for the RFI is March 15, 2024. You can find more information and the application here

This RFI is available to view and download on the Minnesota Department of Commerce RFP website at through the submission deadline.

An informational webinar on the RFI will be held on Thursday, February 15 at 12 pm CST, which you can register for here.

One of the main goals of MNCIFA is to fill in financial gaps in projects that are not being funded. Mr. Klein calls this patient capital in this MPR story and is why MNCIFA is essential to ensure the green economy does not leave people behind.