Financing Primer for State and Local Leaders: Everything You Need to Know but Nothing You Don’t

The Better Buildings Initiative has developed a public sector energy financing primer to help organizations better understand the public sector’s financing landscape and take advantage of available financing strategies. The primer provides an “everything you need to know but nothing you don’t” summary of how energy efficiency and renewable energy financing is done in the public sector, overviewing key barriers, common financing mechanisms, case studies, market data, and additional resources. The primer is part of the Better Buildings Financing Navigator, an online tool developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help public and private sector organizations find financing solutions for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. View the primer for more information.

New Report: Evaluating Energy Efficiency Potential in Low-Income Households: A Flexible and Granular Approach

Map showing the estimated potential percentage in low-income households.

A new report funded by the DOE Office of Policy, Evaluating Energy Efficiency Potential in Low-Income Households: A Flexible and Granular Approach, uses a data-driven model from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to present a new approach to energy efficiency potential evaluation. The report presents a model that provides a more accurate, granular, and flexible estimate of the cost-effective energy efficiency potential in households of various income ranges. The report finds that as of 2018 data, $2.4 billion in annual savings were achieved from cost-effective energy efficiency measures across all U.S. persistent-poverty counties (counties in which 20% or more of the population has lived in poverty for the past 30 years). Additional opportunities for large-scale savings exist for low-income households. Low-income U.S. households can save billions per year from cost-effective upgrades—between $13 and $16 billion per year, depending on different income limits.

State and local governments can benefit from the county-level annual savings data for various income ranges that NREL has compiled in developing this report. Additionally, the report illustrates that state and local governments can be strategic in developing energy-efficient technology incentives, as technology incentives can inherently favor higher- or lower-income households, making energy efficiency more or less accessible to households struggling to pay energy bills depending on the incentive design. Access the report or visit the ResStock website for more information.

Energy Storage: The New Efficiency?

The Clean Energy Group recently released Energy Storage: The New Efficiency ― How States Can Use Efficiency Funds to Support Battery Storage and Flatten Costly Demand Peaks, a report describing how states can use energy efficiency funds to provide incentives for energy storage. The report highlights the steps Massachusetts took to become the first state to integrate energy storage technologies into its state-funded energy efficiency plan. The report summarizes the economics of battery cost-benefit calculations, key elements of incentive design, non-energy benefits of batteries, and recommendations to states for incentivizing energy storage in their own energy efficiency plans. Read the report.

South Carolina Town Saves Money from Energy Efficiency Upgrades and Solar Installation

The Town of Saluda, South Carolina, cut energy costs in its public buildings to save money and maintain its operating budget. Saluda is saving more than $13,000 per year in energy costs as a result of energy efficiency upgrades to its Town Hall building. To finance the upgrades, Saluda applied for a ConserFund Loan from the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff - Energy Office, which receives funding from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, State Energy Program. The Town Hall underwent an energy audit, resulting in recommending several energy efficiency and renewable energy measures installed later, including light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, occupancy sensors, and solar photovoltaics installation. Read more.

Wisconsin Town Converts all Exterior Lighting Fixtures on Publicly Owned Buildings to LED

City of Fennimore Wisconsin

In 2010, using DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, State Energy Program funding, a group of communities in southwestern Wisconsin came together to create an energy plan under the State of Wisconsin’s Energy Independent Communities program. The funding was used to convene stakeholders, engage utilities, take public comment, and ultimately create a joint energy plan to generate 25% of energy from renewable resources by 2025. The City of Fennimore, Wisconsin, joined the program and retrofitted all exterior lights on publicly owned buildings with LED lights. The LED retrofit project has helped reduce energy use by 54% from a 2008 measured baseline, which amounts to 140,000 kWh of energy annually and $6,200 per year in energy cost savings. Read more.


Register Now – State, Local, and K-12 Leadership: Unlocking Energy Affordability Event

July 8–9, 2019
Arlington, Virginia

WIP invites you to attend State, Local, and K-12 Leadership: Unlocking Energy AffordabilityThis event will provide an opportunity for invited stakeholders to provide critical feedback on WIP projects and initiatives to ensure they are more effective, responsive, and impactful. Discussions at this event will focus on the most pervasive barriers on your path to maximizing energy affordability and achieving significant energy and cost savings in the public sector.

Registration for State, Local, and K-12 Leadership: Unlocking Energy Affordability is now open – register today and reserve your hotel room! The registration fee is $75.

Travel stipends are available to representatives from states, local governments, and K-12 school districts. You can request a travel stipend when registering for the event.

Attendees can expect interactive sessions that target identified barriers, peer exchanges on strategies and best practices with DOE staff and public-sector leaders from across the country, and collaborative technical assistance planning tailored to your energy priorities. Session breakout topics include:

  • Data management
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Resilience planning
  • Result communication
  • Project and program financing
  • And more!

Don’t miss this opportunity to collaborate on technical assistance strategies with fellow professionals. Register now.

Building Tour Descriptions Now Available — 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit

July 10–11, 2019
Arlington, Virginia

The 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit features two days of interactive sessions, insightful speakers, and many opportunities to connect with peers. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to collaborate with other leaders and gain actionable insights to accelerate energy efficiency throughout your organization, understand the latest in emerging technologies, address workforce needs, and share your perspectives on upcoming issues.

What to expect at the 2019 Summit:

  • Discover what's next in emerging technologies, resiliency planning, and workforce development.
  • Share and discuss successful approaches used by Better Buildings, Better Plants partners facing the same challenges as your organization.
  • Grow your network and make connections with industry peers, technical experts, and other Better Buildings Partners and Allies.
  • Explore future opportunities to achieve greater energy, water, and waste efficiency in your organization.

Upcoming NASEO Regional Meetings

The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) will hold its annual series of regional meetings designed for state and territory energy officials and key staff with participation from federal agencies and NASEO affiliated members. Upcoming meetings include:

  • Mid-Atlantic Region: June 3–4, 2019 – The Calvert House, Annapolis, Maryland
  • Central Region: June 10–11, 2019 – Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Helena, Montana.

Infrastructure Investments in the News

Roanoke Electric Cooperative in rural North Carolina is providing on-bill financing for low-income energy efficiency residential upgrades: More than 400 of the cooperative’s 14,000-plus members have received upgrades through the program, and about 1,500 members have expressed interest in participating.

Maine to review bid for solar panels at Governor's mansion: The solar panels are intended to supply 50% of the energy needs of the residence and demonstrate current Maine Governor Janet Mills’ commitment to renewable energy.