Energy Efficiency Financing
President Trump’s position on clean energy has deviated from his predecessor’s, and the new political climate raises questions about how clean energy investment will fare in the future. After 100 days of the Trump administration, there is still some uncertainty, but one big opportunity.
Residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs have been an unqualified success story for consumers’ pocketbooks and the economy, helping to finance almost $4 billion in clean energy upgrades and create tens of thousands of jobs. Despite this success, some in Congress are advancing a bill that would undercut the future of these programs.
2017 will usher in a new administration and likely some changes in federal energy policy. Despite the uncertainty of such change, one fact is clear: financing of energy efficiency investments is more important than ever.
Given the importance of small businesses to our national economy, ACEEE has examined successful utility program practices in the small commercial segment. We find there are still significant energy efficiency opportunities. Our new paper describes effective program strategies.
There are many tried-and-true tools in the energy efficiency toolbox. Programs in the utility sector that offer customers a variety of rebates, incentives, and technical services totaled more than $7 billion in 2014. In the private market, energy service performance contracts totaled more than $4 billion. And state energy offices loaned more than $74 million in revolving loans.
Bank of America’s Energy Efficiency Financing Program shows path to combining energy savings and community development
If you spend any time with the energy efficiency crowd, you will often hear us call it the lowest cost energy resource out there. What you will never hear us say is that energy efficiency is free. Efficiency can do many great things: It saves money, cuts pollution, increases productivity, and creates jobs. What it can’t do is defy one of the fundamental laws that governs all investments—it takes money to make money.
One of the distinctions we often make between energy and energy efficiency is that energy acts more like a cost, and energy efficiency acts more like an investment. Like most investments, energy efficiency works by using an up front expense to generate a stream of economic benefits. Every year, our Energy Efficiency Finance Forum conference looks at ways to manage these up-front costs and how to use that stream of benefits to turn energy efficiency into a viable investment market.
Connecticut may be a small state, but in recent years it has become a big leader in energy efficiency. As one of only seven states with a formal goal of achieving all cost-effective energy efficiency, Connecticut has consistently ranked among the top ten in ACEEE’s annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
As the stock market soared to new heights after the Great Recession, so too did energy efficiency financing. Our new paper, Energy Efficiency Finance: A Market Reassessment provides an overview of structures that are working in the energy efficiency finance industry today, which markets still remain elusive, and what opportunities the future may hold.