Energy Efficiency Investment
Observers of U.S. energy policy might think of energy efficiency as a useful investment strategy to smartly manage the growth of energy consumption. They might also see it as a cost-effective means to ease our transition into a post-carbon world. And yes, the evidence does support both of these notions.
Over the past several years, financing for energy efficiency investments has been widely viewed as a promising solution to reducing upfront cost barriers to investment in energy efficiency. However, several markets, including multi-tenant commercial office and multi-family, remain stubbornly hard to reach.
On May 13–15, ACEEE hosted the 7th Annual Energy Efficiency Finance Forum in Chicago, Illinois. Once again, we had record-breaking attendance—nearly 300 participants—and representation from a wide array of industries, including financial services; utilities; and federal, state, and local government.
Champions within industrial facilities may be the largest piece missing from the energy policy and program landscape. Some energy program administrators are sponsoring the placement of dedicated energy managers at industrial facilities to overcome the obstacles to energy optimization. These pilot efforts seek to accelerate the pace and volume of industrial energy efficiency projects.
Last week marked an important milestone in efforts to advance financing of energy efficiency. The Pennsylvania Treasury sold nearly 4,700 loans from the Keystone HELP program for a projected total of $31.3 million. The cash component for the sale was provided by a consortium of three banks—Fox Chase Bank, WSFS Bank, and National Penn Bank. This transaction advances nationwide efforts to develop a secondary market for energy efficiency lending products.
Last Wednesday was a sad day for energy efficiency in Louisiana, and customers will end up paying the price. In a sudden move, the Louisiana Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to overturn their newly-adopted energy efficiency rules enacted in December of last year.
Prominent policy experts on The Alliance to Save Energy’s Commission on National Energy Policy agree that one of the keys to increasing energy efficiency in the United States is growing the market for energy efficiency financing.
Last night during his State of the Union address President Obama embraced a variety of policy proposals including several addressing energy efficiency. Most importantly for energy efficiency, the President issued “a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years.” By supporting energy efficiency, the President has made a smart investment that will pay off immediately and down the line for future generations.
Just in time for tax season, Congress has given American homeowners and businesses a chance to keep a little more of their hard-earned money. Late on January 1, 2013, the “fiscal cliff showdown” ended with the House passing a bill to avert income tax increases for Americans and large cuts in spending for government programs.