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Ripple and Nelnet Announce $44 Million Clean Energy Fund for a More Sustainable Future

Ripple, the leading provider of enterprise blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions that are faster, more transparent and more cost-effective, today announced a strategic ESG investment with Nelnet Renewable Energy, a Nelnet business, through a $44 million joint investment into one of Nelnet’s solar energy investment funds. The joint investment, majority funded by Ripple, will fund solar energy projects throughout the U.S. in support of the transition to a cleaner and more stable energy future.

“Guaranteeing a clean energy future is a major priority across every industry, not only to drive future economic growth but also to ensure a more sustainable world. As the adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain continues to grow, it’s evident that the technology will underpin our future financial systems,” said Ken Weber, Head of Social Impact at Ripple. “We’re excited to work with Nelnet as we pursue our commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of financial services globally and to deliver on the promise of a carbon negative cryptocurrency industry.”

Nelnet and its co-investors are proud of their part in transitioning the country to cleaner and more reliable energy sources. In March 2021, Nelnet earned an E1 ESG rating from S&P Global Ratings on one of their earlier clean energy funds– receiving high scores on transparency, environmental and governance. E1 is the highest possible ESG rating in the S&P Global rating system and likely marks the first of many for Nelnet’s clean energy funds.

The solar projects financed by the Ripple Nelnet Renewable Energy Fund are estimated to offset over 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide over 35 years, which is the equivalent amount of CO2 emissions from consuming 154 million gallons of gasoline. As the U.S. transitions towards a zero carbon future, investments in solar power projects could not come at a better time, especially with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Futures Study projection that 45% of all energy in the U.S. could be produced by solar by 2050.

The partnership is Ripple’s latest initiative to help build a carbon-neutral future for global finance. Ripple is part of the Crypto Climate Accord, a private sector-led initiative focused on decarbonizing cryptocurrencies and making the crypto industry 100% renewable by 2030. Last year, Ripple partnered with Energy Web and the Rocky Mountain Institute to decarbonize the XRP Ledger, the first major global blockchain to do so. In addition, Ripple made a commitment to become carbon net-zero by 2030 or sooner by reducing emissions and investing in carbon removal projects such as reforestation, biochar and carbon sequestration.

“We are thrilled to have a best-in-class investor platform that enables us to work with investors like Ripple to further our effort toward advancing clean energy generation within the U.S.,” said Scott Gubbels, Executive Director of Nelnet Renewable Energy. “Investments like these help create jobs, provide cost-competitive energy to the market, and promote sustainability for years to come.”

About Ripple

Ripple is doing for value what the internet did for information: enabling its instant and seamless flow around the world. We call this the Internet of Value (IoV). Using blockchain and cryptocurrency technology, Ripple is dedicated to creating powerful gains in financial efficiency, equity and inclusion. In addition, Ripple is developing and enabling the future use cases that will catalyze the new digital economy for governments, businesses and consumers. Ripple has offices in San Francisco (HQ), New York, London, Mumbai, Singapore, São Paulo, Reykjavík, Washington D.C. and Dubai.

About Nelnet and Nelnet Renewable Energy

Nelnet (NYSE: NNI) is a publicly-traded diversified financial services and technology company focused on offering educational services, technology solutions, professional services, telecommunications, and asset management. Nelnet has over $20 billion in assets and services over $500 billion in loan assets. Nelnet Renewable Energy is the company’s renewable energy investment, management, and development business. Nelnet Renewable Energy is a leading tax equity investor and asset manager in distributed generation solar projects. Between Nelnet’s capital and capital from its co-investors, the collaborative platform has funded over $240 million of equity, supporting the construction and operation of more than 300 megawatts, totaling a value of nearly $800 million of projects in solar energy. This renewable energy experience, coupled with Nelnet ‘s proven asset management capabilities from its $500 billion loan servicing portfolio and its alignment of interest as an investor alongside its partners, allows Nelnet to offer a unique co-investment platform to accredited investors based on shared value creation and positive environmental and social impact.

On the Flipside:

  • The cynics among us see Ripple’s timing of this “green initiative” with Nelnet as a bit suspect due to Ripple’s pending litigation with the SEC. 
  • It’s difficult to think that this could be an attempt to “flood the channel” with good news in case the SEC decision goes against Ripple.
  • However, we don’t want to rip Ripple too hard on this because it is a good project.

 

Why You Should Care:

This is interesting because policymakers around the globe are starting to see cryptocurrency mining as a way to shore up the economics of expensive alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and geo-thermal. This project is a positive step in that direction.

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