PACE Makers

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Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing was the most exciting thing in energy efficiency until June 2010. The idea was simple: homeowners could take out a loan to finance efficiency work as a property tax assessment. Because it became the senior lien on the property, the interest rates were lower.

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Quick Questions: Larry Dawson

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Larry Dawson, Director of the Illinois Office of Energy Assistance, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development, is the incoming chair of the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association (NEADA), the primary organization for state directors of the Low Income Energy

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Beltway Roundup: Looking Through the Fog of Election Year Politics

Congress and the administration are continuing their election year stalemate. It is now clear that Congress will not act on final appropriations bills before the election. Now the debate is how long a continuing resolution will last and at what funding levels. It is possible that the continuing resolution will last beyond mid-November, to March 2013, in exchange for a funding level for discretionary spending of $1.047 trillion (the funding level in the 2011 Deficit Reduction bill) versus the $1.028 trillion contained in the House-passed budget resolution for FY2013.

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Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans Clears Significant Hurdle

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A new tool that could help states expand their energy efficiency loan programs is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans (WHEEL), which would purchase residential energy efficiency loans from state and local originators for sale into the secondary markets, has received the Department of Energy’s (DOE) blessing and could be ready to receive its first funds in the fall.

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Internal Revenue Service Issues Guidance on Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds

In 2008, Congress authorized the issuance of subsidized Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) to finance energy efficiency, renewable, and related projects. However, many wouldbe issuers found it difficult to use their allocations due to legal uncertainties. The legislation required 20% energy savings on certain types of projects but did not explain how such savings should be measured or predicted. It also said the bonds could be used to finance “green community programs” but did not define the term. In late June, the Internal Revenue Service published a notice that clarified many of these questions, which could lead to an uptick in the usage of QECBs.

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New Mexico’s Energy$mart Academy

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This article is part of an ongoing series from the National Association for State Community Services Programs, which is implementing the Weatherization Plus Health initiative on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Each piece highlights best practices and guides at the intersection of energy, housing, and health. Weatherization Plus Health is a vehicle for showcasing the talents of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) network and bolsters the case for more funding for it and for organizations that tackle housing-related health hazards.

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Betting on Renewables Amid a Changing Energy Landscape

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One year ago, Maryland’s burgeoning solar industry gave Daryl Cooper a lifeline. For two years, Cooper had supported his four kids on limited public assistance payments following the collapse of his contracting business. After completing a four-month, countysponsored, job-training program at Arundel Community College, Cooper learned that the only companies hiring were in the fastgrowing solar industry, a field that Cooper knew nothing about. But he jumped at the opportunity to take an entry-level position installing solar panels for $12 an hour, far below what he used to earn as a small business owner, but a job nonetheless.

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Maine Harnesses the Power of the Sea

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Each day, 100 billion tons of water flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy along Maine’s eastern border with Canada. Fifty-foot tides generate a force equal to 8,000 locomotives, and a new project is poised to harness that energy and convert it to clean, renewable electricity. The Maine Tidal Energy Project is the first commercial, grid-connected ocean energy project in the country. As part of its initial phase, Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) designed and deployed the first underwater turbine in July in Cobscook Bay, off the coast of Eastport, Maine. It is the largest ocean energy device in the United States, capable of generating up to 180 kWh of power, and its construction and installation have been a boon the surrounding coastal communities.

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Energy 101: Fracking for Hydrogen

Much has been said about the potential benefits and consequences of the industrial process known as fracking, discussed previously in this section. Although highly controversial, fracking is already widespread and is having significant effects on energy production in the United States. By not only opening up shale gas reserves but increasing production in the oil sector, fracking has dramatically increased the availability of natural gas and reversed the decades-long decline in U.S. oil production.

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