By: Nancy E. Pfund, Managing Partner of DBL Investors, and Anand Chhabra, former Summer Associate at DBL Investors and current JD/MBA Candidate at Stanford University
Does more renewable energy mean more expensive electricity? In the nation’s debate on energy, few questions are more important to American families and businesses.
Many critics of renewables allege skyrocketing electricity prices and economic crisis, owing to growing reliance on renewables. This commentary has emphasized “exploding electricity prices,” an “attack on any state’s economy,” and “gouging job creators and American families with higher electricity bills.”
In our report, Renewables Are Driving Up Electricity Prices – Wait What?, we address this concern directly by assessing average retail electricity prices in the U.S., with a particular focus on whether states rely a lot or a little on renewables. What we discovered is that many of the fears espoused by critics of renewable energy are overblown. Read More
By: Paul Fenn, Founder and President of Local Power Inc.
New York has embarked on a major energy reform that will change the way electricity is produced, distributed, and priced in the state. The effort, called ‘Reforming the Energy Vision’ (REV) has the potential to scale up the use of local renewable energy resources and widely deploy energy efficiency technologies, reduce energy bills, and give customers greater control over their energy use.
New York’s REV effort would change the longstanding utility business model that relies on a one-way, centralized power grid delivering electricity to customers, most of it generated by aging, polluting power plants. Under this model, the environmentally-conscious customer has little say over how her energy is produced. Read More
By Scott Henderson, Advisor to Metrus Energy
While many in the clean energy industry are familiar with the use of power purchase agreements (PPA) to finance solar energy systems at commercial and industrial facilities, many may be surprised to know that there is a similar contract for funding energy efficiency retrofit projects. Called an efficiency services agreement (ESA), this contract was designed to address the challenges, or “pain points,” that building owners commonly face when contemplating such projects.
Like a PPA, an efficiency services agreement enables third-party ownership of a project, in which a developer designs, finances, implements, and owns a package of energy and water efficiency measures at a customer facility. In return for implementing the project, the ESA provider charges the customer for any realized savings, at a rate that is less than their current cost of electricity, gas, or water. This continues until the end of the contract period, typically 10 years, upon which time the customer can renew the contract or purchase the equipment at fair market value. Read More
By: Jeremy Faust, Strategic Business Development Director, Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance
In a surprising show of bi-partisanship, lawmakers in one of the nation’s more conservative states came together last month to approve a major victory for clean energy.
Kentucky became the latest state in the country to approve PACE (Property-Assessed Clean Energy), an innovative financing tool that allows cities to use their property taxes as a way to finance clean energy upgrades to buildings.
PACE’s unique structure and benefits have helped spur the proliferation of PACE programs around the county. As a result, the market for PACE financing is estimated to rise above $1 billion this year.
Kentucky has authorized businesses and other commercial property owners in the state to apply for PACE financing, which can be used for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water efficiency improvements to their buildings. The victory comes after a two-year legislative effort led by the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and the Kentucky Energy Project Assessment Districts (EPAD) Council. Read More
By: Suzanne L. Bertin, Director of Regulatory Affairs at EnerNOC
With the blooming Texas bluebonnets signalling the end of winter and at least a few weeks before the blazing heat begins, spring might not seem the ideal time for the Texas Legislature to debate laws about keeping the lights on or electric grid reliability.
But with a history of extreme temperatures, a booming population and economy, and new federal clean air rules coming into effect, now is the time for the Texas Legislature to take a strong policy stance in favor of demand response, an energy management program too long neglected as part of Texas’ comprehensive energy portfolio. Simply put, demand response is an innovative tool that rewards people who use less electricity during times of peak, or high, energy demand. In effect, demand response relies on people and technology, not power plants, to meet the need for electricity. But energy market rules prevent demand response from reaching its potential in Texas, because they fail to fully recognize its value and pose barriers to its providing energy and reliability services.
Advanced Energy Management Alliance (AEMA) – a coalition which includes demand response providers, end-user customers, suppliers, and affiliated businesses operating in Texas – is joining with the Environmental Defense Fund to support bills that would expand the deployment of demand response in Texas and eliminate constraints that impede its growth. Read More
By: Charlene Heydinger, Executive Director, Keeping PACE in Texas
Today marked a milestone for Texas’ clean energy economy. Travis County voted to adopt the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, making it the first county in Texas to do so. This means Austin and the surrounding area will soon reap the economic and environmental benefits from giving energy-intensive, thirsty Texas a reprieve with water efficiency and clean energy.
What is PACE?
PACE, enacted during the 2013 Texas Legislature with support from both sides of the aisle, has the potential to unlock a considerable amount of private funding for clean energy projects in the state. Specifically, it is an innovative financing program – completely free of government mandates and public funding – that enables commercial, industrial, multi-family, and agricultural property owners to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for water conservation, energy-efficiency, and renewable energy projects. Participants will then repay these loans for clean energy projects through their property tax bill. Read More