Publishers’ Letter

This is an exciting time in state energy finance. New programs are emerging and existing programs are becoming more established. States are leading the way in developing and implementing finance programs that leverage resources in ways that differ from the more traditional grant model.

This is the second year that the Energy Program Consortium (EPC) has produced the State & Local Energy Report’s finance issue, a special report of our finance project. First we would like to thank the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) for collaborating with us to produce this issue, and also Casey Bell, Senior Economist with ACEEE, who served as the issue’s guest editor. In addition, we would recognize Cass Lovejoy at EPC for organizing the overall production of the issue, and Adrienne Cohen at Project Energy Savers for the layout and design. Last, we would like to express our gratitude to the Surdna Foundation for providing financial support to EPC’s finance project.

This issue kicks off with Jeff Genzer’s Washington Roundup, providing a summary and analysis of key energy issues facing Congress and the administration as 2015 gets under way,. Other articles address key topics in energy efficiency, including financing of microgrids, multifamily housing, commercial loans, and California’s ambitious program to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels by aiming to increase the portion of the state’s electricity derived from renewable sources.

We asked three key thought leaders—Richard Kaufman, Chairman of Energy and Finance, Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York; Cisco DeVreis, CEO of Renewable Funding; and Greg Katz, President of Capital E—to write opinion pieces addressing finance issues we’ll be facing in the coming year.

Elizabeth Bellis, Director of Finance Programs for EPC, reports on the continuing progress being made in developing our Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loan (WHEEL) program. WHEEL represents the first time states have worked together to implement a common finance platform for energy efficiency residential loans. Elizabeth also reports on the status of Qualified Energy Conservation Bond issuances and new developments in program rules and regulations.

The State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action) is an important effort facilitated by the DOE and EPA to bring energy efficiency to scale through state and local action. Johanna Zetterberg, Coordinator of SEE Action’s Financing Solutions Working Group, describes the group’s current activities and discusses how energy efficiency program administrators can aggregate and securitize loan portfolios for sale to the secondary markets.

One of our key partners, the National Association of State Energy Officials, submitted two articles: Dave Terry talks about the importance of energy performance data in supporting energy efficiency performance data, and Sandy Fazeli reports on the challenges in developing the alternative fuels market (along with Matt Frades and Nick Nigro from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions).

We also explore multifamily housing and issues relating to implementation of energy finance solutions with articles by Sandy Fazeli and Lauren Ross (ACEEE) as well as by Phil Henderson from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Chris Kramer of the Energy Futures Group discusses the importance of developing effective evaluation, measurement, and verification methods for determining the true potential of financing in the current market. Suzanne Shelton of the Shelton Group provides cutting-edge insight into marketing energy efficiency effectively. And Elisabeth Johnson, with the Credit Builders Alliance, looks at the potential for energy efficiency lending to play a role in the financial inclusion movement.

The continuing development of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs is of considerable interest. Kristina Klimovic of PACE Now provides an update on the status of PACE programs across the country.

Finally, the magazine welcomes Jenae Bjelland, the new Executive Director of the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP), and Board President Bill Brand, Administrator for the Division of Community Action Agencies at the Iowa Department of Human Rights. Their article discusses their outlook for the coming year for the Weatherization Assistance Program and the Community Services Block Grant. NASCSP has long been a sponsor of the State & Local Energy Report, and we welcome their continued involvement.

We hope you enjoy this issue, and we look forward to receiving your comments and feedback on this important topic.

Sincerely,

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