Monday, February 22, 2010

ECOllaborate Dialogue #1: Energy Finance Programs

EcoAsset Solutions is launching the first ECOllaborate dialogue this week.  The purpose of ECOllaborate is to use the power of the internet to promote an interdisciplinary discussion on a sustainability topic or theme. After we provide some background on the topic, we invite professionals from different backgrounds to be guest bloggers and add their insights and participate in the discussion.  Along the way, we encourage everyone who visits the site to add to the dialogue.  The idea is to have government, academia, the business world, etc. all in the same room and educating each other.

The blog will turn its focus to Energy Finance Programs, a financing mechanism that is providing property owners with an affordable way to invest in energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy. The idea is simple. Local government offers property owners a loan and the property owner pays the loan back over 10-20 years through their property tax or utility bill.  Another name for this concept is called Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE.  To date, legislation to implement PACE bond programs has been passed in 16 states including Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and New York.


Florida just introduced legislation for a PACE financing program (see here).  One of the guest bloggers Paul D’Arelli, an attorney at Berger Singerman, has been involved in drafting the bill.  He will be sharing what he has learned from helping other states implement energy finance districts and the short and long term benefits that a program brings to the local economy.

Dr. Pierce Jones, the Extension Program Leader for Energy Programs at the University of Florida, will blog about the importance of education and training to ensure that the local community reaps the benefits of energy finance districts (i.e. green jobs, energy and greenhouse gas reductions, etc.).  Dr. Jones established the Program for Resource Efficient Communities (PREC), which promotes the adoption of best design, construction, and management practices to measurably reduce energy, water consumption and environmental degradation in new residential community developments.

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