Communities ONLY 

Community Energy Financing

Budget reductions, resource constraints, and other restrictions often make financing energy efficiency projects a challenge for municipalities. The information below outlines some financing approaches that your community might investigate. 

 

Performance contracting is an approach that allows local governments to obtain energy- efficiency improvements without any upfront capital. In this type of arrangement, a third party, often an energy services company (ESCO), develops an energy-efficiency package for a targeted building or group of buildings. The package generally includes financing, installation, and maintenance over a certain period of time. The customer then repays the cost of the improvements through the energy cost savings. In many cases, the level of energy savings is guaranteed and thus the level of financial risk for municipalities is low. For more information on acquiring energy-efficiency measures through ESCOs, see "Energy Retrofits: History and Future of ESCOs in the Age of Deregulation." 

State energy offices can be a source of funding for energy-efficiency projects. For example, state energy offices administer programs such as the Institutional Conservation Program (ICP) and the State Energy Conservation Program (SECP), which are funded with oil overcharge monies. These programs vary by state, but may represent a source of funding for energy-conservation projects in your community. The National Association of State Energy Offices (NASEO) offers a State Energy Office Directory, which includes links to state energy office Web sites. 

Utility companies often offer rebates, low-interest loans, and other incentives for energy-efficiency improvements. For more information, contact your utility company. 

Comunities also are encouraging the use of renewable energy through funding opportunities and other incentives. For example, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in February 2001 approved a proposal to fund new energy efficiency and renewable energy programs with $358 million over the next three years. The funds will be raised through a surcharge of less than 1 percent for most New Jersey electricity customers. Three quarters of the funds will go toward energy efficiency programs and one quarter will go toward renewable energy programs. The renewable energy programs will include rebates directly to customers who install "clean technologies such as fuel cells, solar electric systems and wind generators in their homes and businesses." Read more.

Minnesota's State Energy Office is offering a rebate program that pays up to 25 percent of installation costs for a photovoltaic system. The program provides a rebate of $2,000 per kilowatt for 1 to 4 kilowatts of grid-connected solar-electric installations. During the four-year program, approximately $1 million will be spent to install 400 kilowatts of grid-connected solar-electric systems. Additionally, solar panels purchased before August 1, 2005, are exempt from state sales tax. Learn more.

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) also announced in February 2001 the launch of a $200-million program to save energy and develop renewable energy resources. Over the next five years, regional utilities that buy power from BPA and choose to participate will get a discount on their wholesale power bill if they agree to invest in energy efficiency measures or renewable resources. Each utility will decide how to spend its discount funds to achieve the desired results for its service area. BPA's principal service territory includes the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and the portion of Montana west of the Continental Divide. BPA also directly serves small portions of California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Read more.

For more information on financing mechanisms, read "Financing Local Energy Efficiency Projects." 

The Urban Consortium Energy Task Force (UCETF), through funding from DOE’s Municipal Energy Management Program, has funded some 250 projects that demonstrate innovative technologies and energy management tools in cities and counties throughout the United States. To learn more about UCETF’s program and how to apply for funds, and to read about some of the projects funded, see DOE’s fact sheet titled Blazing the Energy Trail: The Municipal Energy Management Program

 

Links

Green Energy Finance Web Site
A database of energy efficiency financing resources for homeowners, building managers, architects, lending institutions, or other users interested in clean energy financing.

Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE)
A searchable database that identifies financial incentives for renewable energy projects.

 

Publications 

Clean Energy Finance Newsletter
Presents news about renewable energy and energy efficiency financing and investments. 

 

High Performance, Low Cost: A Guide to Energy Services Performance Contracting for Local and State Governments, 1996, Public Technology, Inc.
Helps government officials secure energy performance contracting to achieve energy efficiency improvements in public facilities. Discusses the benefits of this type of funding, barriers and solutions to implementation of energy efficiency projects, and how to assess whether performance contracting is right for you. Available from: Public Technology, Inc., Urban Consortium Energy Task Force, Publications and Distribution, 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004. Phone: (202) 626-2400. 

 

Model Request for Proposals for an Energy Services Performance Contract, 1996, Public Technology, Inc. 
Helps local and state government officials understand and evaluate energy performance contracting as a method of acquiring energy-efficiency improvements in the buildings they operate. Includes a model Request for Proposals. Available from: Public Technology, Inc., Urban Consortium Energy Task Force, Publications and Distribution, 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004. Phone: (202) 626-2400. 

 

Developing Sources and Techniques for Alternative Financing of Energy Conservation Projects for Local Government, 1985, Public Technology, Inc. 
Identifies funding mechanisms municipalities can use to finance energy efficiency improvements in public buildings. Includes guidelines that help determine which financing tool will best meet a particular community’s needs. Available from: Public Technology, Inc., Urban Consortium Energy Task Force, Publications and Distribution, 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004. Phone: (202) 626-2400.

 

Financing Energy Conservation, 1986, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. ISBN 0-918249-03-1 
Describes innovative methods for financing energy efficiency projects and the design and implementation of an energy program. Available from: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 2140 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704. Phone: (415) 549-9914. 

 

Establishing a Green Lights Revolving Fund, Public Technology, Inc. (PTI). 
Based on the City of Houston’s program, this report reviews the steps required to develop a self-sustaining, revolving fund to finance energy projects. Available from: Public Technology Inc., Urban Consortium Energy Task Force, Publications and Distribution, 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004. Phone: (202) 626-2400. Publication 93-303. 

 

Financing Local Energy Efficiency Projects

 

Wondering how you can afford the energy-related projects that could save your government money? Here are some tips on getting energy efficiency projects financed for your constituency.

Local governments today, no matter what their size, abundance of resources, or location, are experiencing demands for services beyond their shrinking budgets. The immediate and long-term benefits of energy-related projects can get lost in the shuffle of demands for other services. The substantial budgetary relief (cost savings) that local governments can achieve by implementing energy-saving measures is often difficult to discern because energy costs are not usually a discrete budget item. Aggregation of total energy costs helps cities and counties identify major savings opportunity. As a result, all across the nation, cities and counties have found ways, customized with a local twist, to deal with the budget crunch.

Here are several different financial techniques&endash;without a lot of risk&endash;that are working in various regions. Some are conventional tools, such as matching grants and revolving loan funds, modified to work for energy projects; others, such as performance contracts, are rather innovative. Your municipality or county might be able to use the techniques presented here or adapt them to local needs.

 

Performance Contracting

It sounds too good to be true. A local government can increase energy efficiency without making any initial capital investment. A city or county can decrease energy costs and simultaneously reserve available capital for other projects.

This is called performance contracting, and it's a growing trend because it's a win-win situation. Everyone comes out ahead&endash;business, government, and the taxpayer. Under such an agreement, a third party provides a city or county with a service package that typically includes the financing, installation, and maintenance of energy-saving capital improvements. The customer uses resulting energy savings to pay for the improvements. Performance contracts are often structured as a lease, but with a guarantee that payments will not exceed energy savings. This minimizes financial risk.

According to Ron Mutter, Director of Public Works for Redlands, California, that's exactly the type of arrangement that has worked for the city of Redlands. Honeywell, Inc., approached a city council member about replacing and updating the city's heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment, wastewater pumps, lighting systems, irrigation systems, and sensors. When everything's completed, improvements will have been made to 12 buildings and various park irrigation systems.

Says Mutter, "This is an old city, about 105 years old, with very old buildings. City Hall is 50 years old, the Fire Department building is 60 to 70 years old, and the police building is more than 30 years old. Many of our public buildings still had the original mechanical units in them! The equipment needed replacing anyway, so we were very interested in the idea. Especially because it wouldn't cost us anything. The city council concurred."

In March of 1992, the city and Honeywell signed an agreement projected to save the city at least $462,683 in energy and $143,455 in labor and maintenance costs for the first year of operation. The equipment replacement project is financed with a municipal lease and a maintenance contract; costs are covered by the energy savings and a Honeywell guarantee. "We expect to exceed our first-year program savings projection," says John Buckingham, Home and Building Controls Group, Honeywell, Inc.

The city is already saving substantial amounts of money. "The city's energy use is about half what it was 2 years ago," says Mutter. In utility rebates alone, Redlands has received more than $100,000 from Southern California Edison. "The wastewater treatment plant will be able to increase throughput without increased energy costs, while saving more than $20,000 a year," Buckingham says.

For financing, a 7-year lease was structured; once it expires, savings will revert to either a city general fund or a utility fund. "There were no risks, because Honeywell guaranteed that there would be no risk," Mutter explains. "Honeywell pays the difference if energy savings are not enough to cover the costs of the upgrades. We're very pleased."

Although Honeywell guarantees the city that its savings will at least meet the sum of its lease payments and maintenance payments, the company anticipates that savings will exceed payments. If savings do exceed payments, the city keeps the extra money.

 

Matching Grants and Low-Interest Loans

Another option for financing energy efficiency projects is grants and loans. One local government program that combined grants and loans (in a revolving fund) was Project Rebound in Ellensburg, Washington. Rebound, a pilot project created by the Washington State Energy Office (WSEO) in 1988, studied how implementing energy conservation measures in a selected community fosters economic development.

Using oil overcharge funds, WSEO acted as the lead agency to help the city obtain additional conservation funding from other state, federal, and utility programs. Key goals were to reduce energy demand and stimulate local economic activity. WSEO's grant to the city was $322,000. Ellensburg's combined gas and electric utility matched that amount for a total of $644,000. WSEO's portion of the funding covered project and administrative costs and rebates.

According to Gary Nystedt, Energy Analyst for Ellensburg, several financing options were available. Any business that was interested could apply for either a 50/50 grant or a zero-interest loan. "For a standard matching funds grant, the applicant could receive up to $5,000 or 1 year's worth of utility bills. Standard projects were selected from a pre-approved list the city had compiled. The project had to have a simple payback of 20 years or less."

The list of pre-approved projects included roof, wall, and floor insulation; high-efficiency lighting fixtures, systems, and controls; economizer controls for air conditioning; high-efficiency furnaces and air-conditioning systems; automatic setback thermostats; insulation of hot water pipes; and heat recovery for HVAC systems.

Limiting rebates to 1 year's utility bills or $5,000 was essential, Nystedt says, because "we didn't want to spend a lot of money retrofitting small businesses that used only a little energy." For large projects that would exceed the $5,000 limit, businesses could receive special authorization from the city council for funds up to $25,000 for projects with a payback of 10 years or less.

Zero-interest loans were also available. For standard projects on the city's pre-approved list, applicants could borrow up to $20,000; repayment was based on the project's payback. For special projects, the loan limit was $40,000. In addition, a 5%, one-time loan fee, not to exceed $1,000, was charged.

Financing was also categorized by whether an applicant intended to retrofit a building or install equipment in a new building. "If an applicant was building a new facility, we would pay the full, incremental cost of the more expensive energy-efficient equipment over that of the less expensive standard equipment," Nystedt explains.

For example, if an applicant's new construction project involved installing a new, 90%-efficient furnace at a cost of $3,000, when the standard $2,500 furnace that would normally be installed was only 80% efficient, Project Rebound would pay the cost difference, or $500. "When incremental costs were paid, the owner's total cost did not change," Nystedt explains.

For a retrofit, Project Rebound paid 50%. For example, if an old 60%-efficient furnace were replaced with a 90%-efficient furnace that cost $3,000, the applicant received $1,500.

"Our challenge with Project Rebound was to make it work on small projects in a small community of 14,000," Nystedt says. "Because most of our projects were just a few thousand dollars, we had to look not only at the project's cost and energy savings, but the administrative costs of running the program. The city doesn't spend $2,000 to save $50. You have to turn a project over quickly without a lot of administrative time." Local governments and utilities are the logical entities to take on such projects, because traditional financial institutions typically don't take on small projects.

And Project Rebound has demonstrated that it can save energy. Projected annual energy savings from Rebound were 5651 million British thermal units (Btu), valued at $52,694 (1992 dollars). And, according to Nystedt, "The customers were very pleased with the outcomes."

"Part of the program's success was due to the free energy audit the city offered. Often, businesses didn't really know what to do, nor did they have time to go out and get bids. We spent a lot of time educating local businesses both in how they use energy in their HVAC and lighting systems and in what technologies are available to them. They didn't know what kinds of products are out there for them."

As for risk, the city experienced no complications. "We used a signed agreement with disclaimers, so that if something went bad, owners were liable," Nystedt explains.

According to Mike Grady, Senior Planner, Washington State Department of Community Trade and Economic Development, "Project Rebound was a creative project. State money was used to kick it off, but the state's responsibility ended after 3 years. Typically, after the allocated federal or state money is gone, programs like this die. Project Rebound was sustainable because of its revolving loan fund and commitment by local business and government leaders."

And that kind of commitment is essential, given the competing demands confronting cities and counties. No one needs to be convinced of the desirability of energy efficiency&endash;everyone agrees it makes sense. But in today's economy, the question facing cities and counties is how to go about financing energy efficiency projects. The ideas presented here have proven successful and can work for your local government, too.

 

 

For More Information

  • National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO)
    1200 G Street, NW
    Suite 760
    Washington, DC 20005
    (202) 347-0419

     

    Urban Consortium Energy Task Force
    Public Technology, Inc.
    1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20004
    (202) 626-2400
    Development of an Energy Services Corporation&endash;report no. 92-302

     

    Gary Nystedt
    Energy Analyst, City of Ellensburg
    420 North Pearl
    Ellensburg, WA 98926
    (509) 962-7245

     

    Mike Grady
    Washington State Department of Community Trade and Economic Development
    906 Columbia Street, SW
    P.O. Box 48300
    Olympia, WA 98504
    (206) 586-8412

     

    John Buckingham
    Honeywell, Inc.
    1159 Iowa Avenue, Suite A
    Riverside, CA 92507
    (909) 274-4354

     

    Ron Mutter
    Director of Public Works
    City of Redlands
    P.O. Box 3005
    Redlands, CA 92373
    (909) 798-7655

     

  •  

    DOE Regional Support Offices

     

    The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy reaches out to the states and private industry through a network of regional support offices. Contact your DOE regional support office for information on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

    This document was produced for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a DOE national laboratory. The document was produced by the Technical Information Program, under the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

    DOE/CH10093-346
    DE94011803
    June 1994

     

    Blazing the Energy Trail:
    The Municipal Energy Management Program

     

    The Urban Consortium Energy Task Force pioneers energy and environmental solutions for U.S. cities and counties. When local officials participate in the task force, they open the door to many resources for their communities.

    The United States is entering a period of renewed interest in energy management. Improvements in municipal energy management allow communities to free up energy operating funds to meet other needs. These improvements can even keep energy dollars in the community through the purchase of services and products used to save energy.

    With this idea in mind, the U.S. Department of Energy Municipal Energy Management Program has funded more than 250 projects that demonstrate innovative energy technologies and management tools in cities and counties through the Urban Consortium Energy Task Force (UCETF). UCETF helps the U.S. Department of Energy foster municipal energy management through networks with cities and urbanized counties and through links with three national associations of local governments&endash;the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, and the International City/County Management Association.

    UCETF provides funding for projects that demonstrate innovative and realistic technologies, strategies, and methods that help urban America become more energy efficient and environmentally responsible. The task force provides technical support to local jurisdictions selected for projects (for information on the selection process.

    UCETF also shares information about successful energy management projects with cities and counties throughout the country via technical reports and project papers. The following descriptions capsulize a sample of UCETF's demonstration projects around the country.

     

    Building on a Recycled Foundation in Austin, Texas

    From the 40% fly ash concrete slab to the recycled-content roof, the Green Builder Model Home in Austin, Texas, is an example of what could be the future of home building in America. Each nuance of the design, which the city calls "green building," indicates the environmental friendliness of this house. Among the features are:

  •  

    A brick facade that is 20% coal bottom ash (residue left from burning coal)

     

    Doors made of reconstituted wood

     

    100% recycled-content carpet in the bedrooms

     

    Natural linoleum (made from cork and other natural materials) instead of vinyl linoleum on the kitchen and bathroom floors and countertops

     

    Recycling centers built into the pantry

     

    Cotton for attic insulation

     

    Exposed concrete in the living area for passive solar heat storage

     

    Several south-facing windows

     

    A large porch on the western side to protect the home from the intense summer sun

     

    High-efficiency fluorescent lighting throughout.

  • The model home is part of the Green Builder Program, which is coordinated through Austin's Environmental and Conservation Services Department. The Green Builder Program seeks to shift home building practices to approaches that not only use energy, water, and other natural resources more efficiently, but also preserve the environment, strengthen the local economy, and enhance the quality of life for Austin citizens. This program also demonstrates sustainability concepts for the building community.

    The 1100-square-foot (102-square-meter) home, which is located in an existing subdivision, took 6 months to build, "partly because of the learning curve of dealing with new materials," said Laurence Doxsey, Coordinator of Austin's Green Builder Program, "and partly because of untrained workers." Those workers consisted of at-risk youth, all on parole, from the American Institute for Learning, one of the project partners. Several private firms also donated some materials.

    UCETF supplied $25,000 of the money needed for this endeavor. Austin's Habitat for Humanity picked up the rest, which came to $42,500. That's about $5,000 more than Habitat for Humanity would normally put into a house. Doxsey says the increase can be attributed to a budget overrun on the house's foundation. Otherwise, the home would have been less costly to build than a comparable home using traditional materials (e.g., lumber). In addition, projections indicate that the home will require 30% less electrical energy than a traditional home of the same size at the same location.

    Part of this project will include an analysis of the economic development potential of using the regional waste stream as a source for building materials. Builders will be able to learn more about building green homes from a video that's being produced about the Green Builder Model Home, Doxsey says. The video will be available from the city of Austin (see For More Information).

     

    Proposing IDEAS in San Jose, California

    The city of San Jose, California, supports construction of energy-efficient commercial and industrial buildings through the Innovative Design & Energy Analysis Service (IDEAS). IDEAS was established in 1988 with a $75,000 award from UCETF. The program provides general information on energy efficiency alternatives for design, lighting, and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning to builders and developers. IDEAS uses computer simulation to determine which technologies are most appropriate for a building given the building's size, location, and purpose.

    IDEAS staff members learn of construction projects through the city's planning department. After reviewing plans, they approach the project design team early in the process with recommendations for specific technologies that can improve energy performance. The hope is to become involved as early as possible with construction projects and recommend changes that can increase a building's energy efficiency.

    And that's exactly what happened during construction of an arena for the San Jose Sharks, the local professional ice hockey team. "We were able, through computer analysis, to convince the architects and engineers to put in high-efficiency chillers and efficient lighting that were not part of the original design," says Rita Norton, Division Head in San Jose's Conservation and Resource Management Program.

    Norton says the biggest obstacle was the initial cost&endash;$60,000&endash;of the energy efficiency measures. However, through a rebate from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), IDEAS staff worked out the financing and convinced designers to modify the original plans. City officials estimate an annual savings of approximately $320,000, largely the result of the PG&E rebates.

     

    Running Out of Greenhouse Gas in Metro-Dade County, Florida

    The cornerstone of President Clinton's Global Climate Change Action Plan is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. Although many chemicals contribute to the greenhouse gas effect, carbon dioxide is one of the most prevalent. But long before the President announced his plan, Metro-Dade County in southern Florida was taking steps necessary to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions.

    With money supplied by UCETF, Metro-Dade participates in the Urban CO2 Reduction Program of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. Twelve other cities around the world are part of this international effort to mitigate the potential for global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. As a low-lying coastal community, the county is particularly vulnerable to some potential effects of global warming&endash;flooding, saltwater intrusion, population shifts, water shortages, and agricultural damage. And as the only subtropical city in the project, Metro-Dade is a potential model for similar metropolitan areas around the world. UCETF initially awarded $50,000 for the project in 1992, then awarded another $50,000 in 1993 for continuation of the project.

    After 2 years of gathering data, Metro-Dade has come up with a 35-point plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 1988 levels by 2005. Much of that plan addresses transportation, alone responsible for 45% of Metro-Dade's carbon dioxide emissions in 1988. Currently, more than 97% of the county's population travels via single-occupancy vehicles.

    Because vehicle emissions are a major contributor to carbon dioxide accumulation, the Metro-Dade Board of Commissioners sent a resolution to the President, and to the county's Congressional delegation, that advocates increasing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars from 27.5 miles per gallon (44 kilometers per gallon) to 45 miles per gallon (72 kilometers per gallon). CAFE standards are federal regulations that specify a minimum average fuel economy to be met by car and light-truck manufacturers.

    The county also plans to change transportation patterns by encouraging transit use, group travel, and telecommuting through a combination of employer incentives and county programs. The carbon dioxide reduction plan even calls for professional office buildings to add shower facilities to make cycling more attractive to commuters.

    The carbon dioxide reduction plan has precipitated several more changes for Metro-Dade. The county is revising its landscape ordinance to require strategic tree planting, street trees, and parking lot trees, which can provide shading and cooling to help reduce energy demands. Metro-Dade is also expanding the solid-waste recycling program and is planning to capture and use landfill gases such as methane.

     

    Conclusion

    UCETF provides a unique, creative forum to define and ameliorate common urban problems and to validate practical ways to enhance local government services. The Task Force's accomplishments have led the way in creating strategic energy programs that save scarce resources and create revenue for cities and counties. By working with UCETF, local governments gain tangible benefits such as peer networking and participating in priority energy research and development.

    Making Local Energy Issues Its Business

     

     

    For More Information

  • Mike Lindberg, Chairperson
    Urban Consortium Energy Task Force
    Portland, OR 97204
    (503) 823-4145

     

    Public Technology, Inc.
    1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20004-1793
    (202) 626-2400

     

    Linda Graves
    Municipal Energy Management Program
    U.S. Department of Energy, EE522
    1000 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20585
    (202) 586-1851

     

    John F. Deakin
    Bureau of Energy Conservation
    1155 Market Street, 4th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    (415) 554-3180

     

    Laurence Doxsey
    Green Builder Program Environmental Conservation and Services Department
    206 East 9th Street, Suite 17.102
    Austin, TX 78701
    (512) 499-3504

     

    Susan Berryman-Rodriguez
    Urban CO2Reduction Program
    Department of Environmental Resources
    33 SW 2nd Avenue
    Miami, FL 33130
    (305) 372-6758

     

    Rita Norton
    Conservation and Resource Management Program
    777 North 1st Street, Suite 450
    San Jose, CA 95112
    (408) 277-5533

     

    EREC
    P.O. Box 3048
    Merrifield, VA 22116
    (800) 363-3732
    The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC) is a service funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to provide information on renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

     

  •  

    DOE Regional Support Offices

     

    The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy reaches out to the states and private industry through a network of regional support offices. Contact your DOE regional support office for information on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

    This document was produced for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a DOE national laboratory. The document was produced by the Technical Information Program, under the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

    DOE/CH10093-273
    DE94000271
    December 1994

     

    Making Local Energy Issues Its Business

    The Energy Task Force (UCETF) has completed more than 250 demonstration and technology transfer projects in urban jurisdictions. These projects explore, test, and validate new energy management approaches, technologies, and policies.

    The task force shares information about its projects with cities and counties throughout the country via technical reports, project papers, video teleconferencing, videos, conferences, presentations to city and county governments, and news articles.

    And, through UCETF's peer-to-peer assistance teams, officials from cities and counties can sit down face to face and discuss the challenges they're experiencing. "This peer-to-peer exchange is one of the most important components of this task force," says John Deakin, Director of San Francisco's Bureau of Energy Conservation. "You can find somebody from a city who's facing the same kind of problems you are."

    The premise is simple: Why reinvent the wheel? UCETF arranges discussion among project participants so that all can benefit from another's experiences. Each year, cities and counties that receive UCETF project funds get together for a kickoff meeting. At this meeting, the individual projects are subdivided into "programmatic units" of similar projects. Then, during the following spring and fall, the programmatic units meet again "to hear what everyone else is doing and offer help," Deakin adds.

     

    Leading the Pack
    At the helm of UCETF is Michael Lindberg, also Commissioner of Public Utilities for the city of Portland, Oregon. Lindberg says the Task Force's activities actually demonstrate to cities and counties ways to save energy and dollars. "Communities are sitting on a gold mine of potential savings. One of the primary ways to save is to reduce the municipal government energy bill," he adds.

    Lindberg believes UCETF provides a needed forum that allows energy officials from America's cities and counties to exchange information and ideas. "And whatever level of government you're in, you'll find people like yourself," he says.

    The group directly responsible for UCETF activities comprises 20 management and technical professionals from urban cities and counties. These experienced energy professionals are committed to developing local strategies responsive to the national energy situation. Staff members from Public Technology, Inc., handle day-to-day operations and provide support services to the UCETF chairperson and Task Force members.

     

    Applying for UCETF Funds
    Each year, UCETF requests proposals from major urban jurisdictions. After a rigorous review process, UCETF funds those projects that best define and demonstrate innovative and realistic technologies, strategies, and methods that can facilitate urban America's attempts to become more energy efficient and environmentally responsible.

    Cities and counties with populations of more than 250,000 are eligible for the applied research and demonstration projects; those with populations of more than 100,000 are eligible for technology transfer projects. Smaller municipalities may join together to submit proposals. Local governments can receive up to $75,000 for UCETF applied research and development projects, which are designed to improve local government services and economic climate; they can receive up to $25,000 for technology transfer projects, which are designed to transfer information from previous projects to other cities and counties.

    For each year's program, projects are organized around a specific theme. For example, the 1994 demonstration projects are focused on sustainable communities (communities that preserve a livable environment for future generations) and economic development. Selected projects are funded for 1 year. If a project requires more than 1 year to complete, it should be phased to allow for tangible deliverables by the end of the first year. Second-year funding is not guaranteed, however, and depends on submission of a new proposal, satisfactory completion of the first phase, and the availability of funds.

    For all proposals, partnerships with other public- or private-sector entities are required and are intended to challenge participating cities and counties to form joint ventures to enhance project success and implementation. These partnerships encourage mutually developed solutions and creation of an infrastructure to effectively support projects and ensure their continuation beyond the funding period. Partners can contribute resources other than money. For more information about UCETF's request for proposals, contact Public Technology, Inc., at (202) 626-2400, or Mike Lindberg, UCETF Chairperson, at (503) 823-4890.

    Key Principles

     

    Communities and Demand-Side Management (DSM) Programs  

    Utility companies can play an important role in helping your community use energy more efficiently. By forming partnerships with community organizations, utilities can design and deliver energy-efficiency programs that address your community’s specific needs and goals. Demand-side management (DSM) programs, which focus on decreasing the demand for energy by promoting efficiency, conservation, and load management, represent an important tool to communities aiming to reduce energy consumption. In fact, experts predict that DSM programs could reduce electricity consumption in the U.S. by as much as 3 percent, saving the nation more than $6 billion annually. 

    There are a variety of programs utilities can undertake to reduce energy demand across all sectors of your community. Among them: energy audits for industrial operations, home energy rating services, home weatherization services, and financial incentives for homeowners and businesses to install energy-conserving upgrades. 

    For example, with tight energy supplies in California recently, the California Energy Commission (CEC) announced in February 2001 that its $50-million peak load reduction program is on course to save 161 megawatts of peak electricity load by June 1. Roughly half of the load reductions will come from energy efficiency projects, ranging from efficiency improvements in wastewater treatment and agriculture to improved lighting, heating, and air conditioning systems in state buildings and public universities. Read more.

    One example of a CEC grantee is Kmart Corporation, which will use a $2 million grant to retrofit inefficient lighting in 85 of its older stores in California. The energy savings will be enough to provide power to 11,500 residents, according to Kmart. Read more (see also the correction to this story).

    The CEC also is awarding $10 million to 44 public agencies to switch their traffic lights to energy-efficient, light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LED traffic lights have proven a popular way to save energy, and are now cropping up in cities throughout the United States. As one indication of this trend, the Energy Star program &endash; a joint program of DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency &endash; recently added LED traffic signals as a new Energy Star product category.

    Additionally, California Governor Gray Davis announced in February 2001 that the state will spend more than $800 million this year to encourage energy efficiency and electrical load reductions. A new program, funded at $404 million, will augment the $424 million in programs already being carried out through the California Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission. The new program includes an additional $75 million in rebates for consumers who replace inefficient appliances, $50 million to improve energy efficiency in state buildings, and $50 million for reflective lighting and roofs, improved shading, and other measures for commercial buildings. Read more.

    The Sacramento Municipal Utility District, is a progressive electric utility aiming to reduce energy demand by 550 to 600 megawatts by 2000. Toward this end, the utility has successfully implemented a variety of programs for both residential and commercial customers to reduce energy demand. These programs may serve as models for your community’s energy plan. 

     

    Links: 

    Association of Energy Services Professionals. Formerly the Association of Demand-Side Management Professionals, AESP is an association representing engineers, analysts, and economists dedicated to providing superior services to utility customers. The association conducts training courses, topical conferences, and workshops; and publishes reports, books, a quarterly newsletter, and a scholarly journal. 

    DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network (EREN) provides links to many utility-related resources

    Green Power is a comprehensive forum that covers green power resources, consumer issues, and green power marketing. You can participate in on-line discussions, read articles and news, or access a large list of links related to green power.

     

    On-line Publications: 

    "Demand-Side Management Fact Sheet: Part of the Mix in Hawaii's Energy Future"
    Provides a good discussion of DSM, including advantages and disadvantages, and provides information on DSM programs both in Hawaii and on the mainland.

    "Doing Business with Business: Municipal Utility Energy Audits" 
    Explains how municipal utilities can use energy audits to identify the energy efficiency measures that are most effective for themselves and their customers. 

    "DSM for Motors Popular with Utilities and Customers Alike" 
    Discusses DSM programs that target electric motors in an effort to reduce electricity consumption for both utilities and industrial customers. 

    "Controls to Reduce Electrical Peak Demands in Commercial Buildings" 
    This report analyzes 15 case studies of building sites to determine the economic and energy benefits of demand-control systems, which help reduce electricity loads during a utility’s peak demand hours. 

     

    Publications: 

     

    The Role of Community-Based Organizations in Demand Side Management, Center for Neighborhood Technology. 

  • A paper describing how utility companies can work together with community organizations to deliver energy efficiency programs and become more active in local economic development. Available from: Center for Neighborhood Technology, 2125 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647. Phone: (312) 278-4800. 
  • State of the Art of Energy Efficiency: Future Directions, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. 

  • Provides a useful and practical compilation of the state-of-the-art in energy efficiency technologies and programs, resource planning and policy making, and data collection and analysis methodologies. Several chapters specifically address utility technologies and programs. Available from: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 2140 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704. Phone: (415) 549-9914. ACEEE also has a variety of other publications related to utility energy efficiency programs. 

    Rocky Mountain Institute has a variety of energy-related publications, some of which focus on the utility industry, including Efficient Use of Electricity, an EPRI/RMI article from Scientific American (Sept. 1990) that summarizes the most promising energy-saving technologies and their economics, showing how well-planned demand-side management programs can benefit both utilities and consumers. 

  • The Energy Center of Wisconsin offers many research reports focusing on programs that can help utilities control their peak load demands, including: 

    Evaluation of Residential Direct-Load Control Programs in Wisconsin.

    Commercial Direct-Load Control Savings Estimate for Wisconsin.

    The Centre for the Analysis and Dissemination of Demonstrated Energy Technologies (CADDET) has published a variety of analysis reports, technical brochures, and workshop proceedings focusing on energy efficiency in the utility sector. 

     

    Software: 

    ECO is an easy-to-use software package developed by Tellus Institute that helps identify cost-effective DSM measures and programs. The package provides a framework for analyzing utility conservation and energy efficiency programs from a variety of perspectives and can determine the impacts of multiple fuels, water consumption, and environmental externalities. For more information, see "ECO: Energy Conservation Options."  

     

    On-Line Case Studies: 

    Profiles in Renewable Energy: Case Studies of Successful Utility-Sector Projects 
    Describes successful renewable energy projects utilizing six renewable resources&endash;biomass, geothermal, hydropower, photovoltaics, solar thermal, and wind&endash;undertaken by U.S. utility companies. Discusses key factors to the success of each project, development issues, project cost, performance, and environmental impacts and benefits. 

    Energy Efficiency Program 
    Describes a program offered by Wahoo (Nebraska) Utilities, which provides incentives to all its electric customers to make energy-efficiency improvements in their homes and businesses. Also provides free energy audits and financial analyses of energy-efficiency options. 

    Environmental and Conservation Programs 
    Explains Seattle City Light’s conservation programs, which provide conservation information to customers and offers financial incentives to encourage customers to install energy-efficiency measures in their homes and businesses. 

    Midwest Wind Energy Program 
    Describes a joint effort between Waverly Power & Light and the University of Northern Iowa to install and operate an 80-kW wind turbine. The program has reduced carbon dioxide output by some 119 tons and generated more than 325,000 kWh of electricity. 

    Osage Municipal Utilities 
    Profiles a utility program that began in 1974 and uses giveaway programs, rebates, and energy audits to promote energy efficiency among its customers. The voluntary program has achieved nearly universal participation from customers in a variety of its initiatives. 

    Climate Challenge Participation Accord 
    Profiles the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) commitment to DOE’s Climate Challenge, including its DSM efforts, goals, and programs. 

    Espanola Power Savers Community-Based Conservation Project
    Describes a full-scale effort by Ontario Hydro to reduce electricity consumption to as great an extent as possible through DSM programs. An impressive 87 percent of residential and commercial customers are participating in the program. 

    Viroqua, Wisconsin, implemented a community-based energy efficiency program, called Viroqua Conserves, in 1993. The project successfully demonstrated a demand-side management strategy to maximize energy conservation by involving the community in the planning, design, and implementation of the program. Two-page and six-page evaluation summaries of the project are available from the Energy Center of Wisconsin.

     

    Key Principles

     

    Community Renewable Energy Programs 

    Communities with abundant renewable energy resources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal, can harness these resources to provide power to the community, thereby reducing the amount of nonrenewable energy that is purchased and hence the demand on power supplies. In addition, renewable energy systems are largely non-polluting. 

    One such community, Algona, Iowa, is host to a wind power plant that produces enough energy to power some 450 households in the community.  The $2.8 million project is a partnership between DOE, the Electric Power Research Institute, and seven municipal utilities.  For more information about this project, read DOE's project description.

    GE Power Systems, a General Electric company, announced in February 2002 that that it plans to buy Enron Wind from its parent company, the bankrupt Enron Corporation. GE Power Systems will take ownership of the Enron's wind turbine manufacturing and marketing operations, but not the wind facilities owned or operated by Enron. The news was a relief to the U.S. wind energy industry, which feared that one of the largest U.S. wind turbine manufacturers -- the seventh largest in the world -- would be sold to a company overseas. If approved by bankruptcy court, the deal should be finalized in April 2002. Read more.

    In another project, Davis, California, acquired ownership of the 15-year-old PVUSA solar photovoltaic power plant from the California Energy Commission in April 2001. Originally part of a research effort called Photovoltaics for Utility Scale Applications, or PVUSA, the 86-acre facility in Davis was bought by the CEC in 1996. The City of Davis will lease the facility to Nuon Renewable Ventures, a Dutch company, which will run and refurbish the facility to produce 800 kilowatts of electricity. Future plans are to expand the facility to 2.5 megawatts of solar energy capacity -- enough to power 2,500 average California homes.

    The Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources (DOER) released in February 2002 its final renewable energy portfolio regulation, which sets a minimum requirement for generating electricity from new renewable energy sources. The regulation requires all retail electricity providers in the state to draw on new renewable energy sources for at least one percent of their power supply in 2003, increasing to four percent by 2009. The state mandated the renewable energy regulation in its Electric Utility Industry Restructuring Act, enacted in 1997. Read more.

    The State of New York is also pressing ahead with plans to encourage renewable energy, as well as energy efficiency. The state's draft energy plan, now being reviewed in public hearings, includes plans to solicit long-term contracts for electricity from renewable energy sources, examine the feasibility of a requirement similar to Massachusetts' new regulation, help create a biofuels industry in the state, and encourage the use of distributed generation and combined heat and power technologies. The plan also proposes a statewide energy efficiency standard, voluntary energy-efficiency agreements with businesses, efforts to encourage alternative modes of transportation, and programs to promote energy efficiency in buildings. The plan specifically suggests a coordinated effort to include energy efficiency and other green building principles in rebuilding efforts in New York City. Learn more.

    The California Energy Commission (CEC) announced in late 2001 that nine new renewable-energy power plants will receive a total of up to $40 million through the state's financial incentives auction. The incentives were "auctioned" by requiring bidders to submit their preferred incentive in cents per kilowatt-hour, and the lowest bidders were selected. Winning bids ranged from 0.65 to 0.8 cents per kilowatt-hour and included a 30-megawatt waste tire plant, a 21-megawatt small hydropower plant, and seven wind plants totaling 249.2 megawatts. All of the projects are expected to start generating electricity in 2002. Of the 72 successful bidders from the CEC's first two auctions, 35 projects totaling more than 200 megawatts are now online. Read more.

    Comunities also are encouraging the use of renewable energy through funding opportunities and other incentives. For example, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in February 2001 approved a proposal to fund new energy efficiency and renewable energy programs with $358 million over the next three years. The funds will be raised through a surcharge of less than 1 percent for most New Jersey electricity customers. Three quarters of the funds will go toward energy efficiency programs and one quarter will go toward renewable energy programs. The renewable energy programs will include rebates directly to customers who install "clean technologies such as fuel cells, solar electric systems and wind generators in their homes and businesses." Read more.

    Minnesota's State Energy Office is offering a rebate program that pays up to 25 percent of installation costs for a photovoltaic system. The program provides a rebate of $2,000 per kilowatt for 1 to 4 kilowatts of grid-connected solar-electric installations. During the four-year program, approximately $1 million will be spent to install 400 kilowatts of grid-connected solar-electric systems. Additionally, solar panels purchased before August 1, 2005 are exempt from state sales tax. Learn more.

    The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) also announced in February 2001 the launch of a $200-million program to save energy and develop renewable energy resources. Over the next five years, regional utilities that buy power from BPA and choose to participate will get a discount on their wholesale power bill if they agree to invest in energy efficiency measures or renewable resources. Each utility will decide how to spend its discount funds to achieve the desired results for its service area. BPA's principal service territory includes the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and the portion of Montana west of the Continental Divide. BPA also directly serves small portions of California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Read more.

    Los Angeles, California, has began a new 5-year program, called Green LA, that focuses on solar energy. The program will provide financial incentives to encourage customers to install PV systems to generate clean electricity. These incentives will offset customer costs for the systems by an average of 50 percent.

    A number of states are undertaking solar schools programs to use solar systems as educational tools.

    In Montana, for example, Sun4Schools, a project of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), has installed 2-kW photovoltaic systems on 17 middle and high schools in the state. The systems include a curriculum unit for use in the classrooms, as well as a data-monitoring system that allows students to monitor their system's energy output via the Internet. Read more.

    Elmira High School in Eugene, Oregon, received a PV system in February 2002 from the Emerald People's Utility District with assistance from the Bonneville Power Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy's Million Solar Roofs Initiative and the UO solar lab. Read more.

    In Massachusetts, state officials announced in February 2002 that they have awarded $776,900 to seven school districts throughout the state to fund the design of energy- and resource-efficient projects in new and renovated schools. Renewable and energy efficient technologies, including fuel cells, wind, solar, geothermal and biomass, will be incorporated into the school design and renovations throughout the seven districts. Read more.

    For more information on the many solar schools project across the country, see the Schools Going Solar website.

    Wind Powering America is an initiative created by the Clinton Administration to increase the use of wind energy in the U.S. The initiative sets a goal of providing 5 percent of the nation's electricity from wind power by 2020, with the federal government leading the way by buying 5 percent of its electricity from wind power by 2010. The initiative also aims to expand the number of states in which wind power is being generated.

    CREST’s ReInState program offers a comprehensive, on-line review of state-by-state renewable energy and sustainable development resources. Case studies, products and services, utility information, programs and policies, energy usage and design data are included for each state. 

    The Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (SEED) project is a community-based renewable energy campaign started in 1993. Four Minnesota organizations have joined forces to work with farmers, rural leaders, and energy advocates to build a stronger base of support for renewable energy development in the state. 

     

    Case Studies 

    Spire Corporation PV Systems -- Chicago, Illinois
    Spire Corporation announced in October 2001 the installation of three 50-kilowatt solar power systems in Chicago. Spire installed the systems on the roofs of three major Chicago museums -- the Art Institute of Chicago, the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, and the Chicago Historical Society -- as part of a commitment by a number of organizations to produce clean energy in Chicago. According to Spire, each system can produce enough electricity to power up to 30 homes.

    District Heating from Wood Waste 
    Describes a project in Langeac, France, in which wood and wood waste re used to supply some 13,000 residents with heating energy. 

    The City of Ashland, Oregon, Energy Conservation Division, operates a series of energy conservation programs to encourage residents on a community-wide scale to take advantage of energy-conservation and renewable energy technologies. These programs include "Solar Hot Water Rebate Program," which offers cash rebates to residential customers who install approved solar water-heating systems. The State of Oregon also offers residents with solar systems a renewable energy tax credit. 

    Midwest Wind Energy Program 
    Describes a joint effort between Waverly Power & Light and the University of Northern Iowa to install and operate an 80-kW wind turbine. The program has reduced carbon dioxide output by some 119 tons and generated more than 325,000 kWh of electricity. 

    New York Power Authority Fuel Cell Project
    New York Power Authority (NYPA) purchased in late 2001 eight fuel cell sytems for use at four wastewater treatment facilities in New York City. NYPA will use waste gas (primarily methane) from the water treatment process to power the fuel cells. Each of the units generates 200 kilowatts of electricity.

    The North Carolina Solar Center was established in 1988 as a state clearinghouse for solar energy information, education and technical assistance, and has since developed into one of the most comprehensive solar energy institutions in the country. It offers a variety of programs and services related to solar energy.

    Public Utilities Discover Power Blowing in the Wind 
    Profiles several municipal utilities that are benefiting from wind power. 

    Public Utilities Supply Solar Energy to Eager Customers 
    Explains how photovoltaic (PV) systems can save money for themselves and their customers, while reducing harmful emissions. Spotlights two successful utility PV programs. 

    Stateline Wind Generating Project
    Announced in January 2001, this project will build a new 300-megawatt wind facility along the Washington-Oregon border. FPL Energy, LLC, will build, own, and operate the wind facility, said to be the world's largest. The facility will draw on 450 wind turbines to produce enough power for 70,000 homes. PacifiCorp Power Marketing, Inc., a subsidiary of Pacificorp, will sell the power throughout the West.

    Traverse City Light and Power’s Wind Generator 
    Profiles a wind energy system in Traverse City, Michigan, that generates electricity at the same cost as power purchased by the utility at wholesale prices. The system produces enough electricity for 200 homes. 

    Wisconsin Solar Use Network (WisconSUN)
    Provides assistance to prospective owners of solar energy systems in an effort to increase the number of installed systems. Site includes information on solar energy systems, as well as case studies, useful links, and more.

     

    Articles 

    President's Budget Supports Efficiency, Renewable Energy
    In February 2002, President Bush released his administration's proposed $2.13 trillion federal budget for FY2003. Although the budget emphasis is on the war on terrorism and U.S. homeland security, the budget maintains funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, while providing new tax incentives to encourage the use of these technologies.

    U.S. Wind Industry Ends Most Productive Year, More Than Doubling Previous Record for New Installations
    U.S. wind power capacity increased by 66 percent in 2001, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The record growth of 1,694 megawatts boosted the total U.S. wind power capacity from 2,564 megawatts to 4,258 megawatts.

    New Solar Electric Systems Indicate a Growing U.S. Market
    Solar electric system installations have reached new heights in the United States in recent months, suggesting that there may finally be a sizable U.S. market for photovoltaic products. Read about a number of projects in California contributing to this market trend.

    "Public Utilities Supply Solar Energy" 
    Discusses solar energy, an alternate source of power that saves money and reduces harmful emissions. 

     

    Links 

    Consumer Guide to Renewable Energy for Your Home or Business
    This new Web site on EREN shows consumers how they can buy electricity made from renewable sources in their state, evaluate the environmental benefits of clean power, and learn how clean power is generated. In addition, the site helps visitors decide if owning a renewable energy system is right for them by helping to evaluate the available technologies, teaching about connecting to the grid and sizing a system, and presenting the available incentives. A special section on powering a home or small business with a small wind system is also included.

    Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE)
    A searchable database that identifies financial incentives for renewable energy projects.

    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, conducts research in energy efficiency and renewable energy. NREL’s Web site includes information on research areas, program activities, publications, and reference resources that your community can tap when designing an energy program. 

    National Center for Photovoltaics has the following as its mission: "To mobilize national [U.S.] resources in photovoltaics by performing world-class research and development, promoting partnering and growth opportunities, and serving as a forum and information source for the photovoltaics community." You can access a number of resources toward this end at the NCPV website.

    The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) is an energy research institute in Florida that is nationally recognized for comprehensive programs in solar energy and energy-efficiency. FSEC’s Web site includes a variety of information on renewable energy technologies that your community might investigate for inclusion in your energy program. 

    The Renewable Energy Policy Project supports the advancement of renewable energy technology through policy research, and seeks to define growth strategies for renewables that respond to competitive energy markets and environmental needs. Its website includes links to a number of REPP Issue Briefs, Research Reports, and Initiatives, many of which are downloadable.

    The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) works to accelerate the use of renewable energy resources and technologies in and through state and local government activities. Web site includes on-line reports, as well as information on membership, publications, and links to other resources. 

    Sandia National Laboratories' Photovoltaics Program seeks to ensure that PV systems perform to their potential by providing development and manufacturing assistance, and technical assistance. Web site includes information on Sandia's PV projects, as well as information on PV systems, components, design and installation, and economics. 

    The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is the trade association for the wind energy industry. AWEA advocates the use of small- to large-scale wind energy conversion systems for stand-alone and grid-connected applications as non-polluting, renewable energy sources. Web site contains a host of useful information, including questions and answers on residential wind systems, a list of manufacturers of small wind turbines, and more. 

    The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) produces a variety of publications related to research, design, and performance of solar components and systems, and other renewable energy systems, which can help your community develop a renewable energy program. 

    Minnesota Renewable Energy Society is a locally-based organization committed to developing awareness and use of renewable energy sources across Minnesota and beyond. It aims to establish the use of renewable energy technologies as common tools in the daily production of energy and, in doing so, generate awareness among citizens as to the potential of renewables in making energy more affordable and less destructive to society and the environment. 

    The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is the national trade group for commercial enterprises involved in solar energy. Its divisions include photovoltaics division, solar thermal buildings division, and solar thermal power division. Web site includes information on solar technologies and products, assistance with locating products and services, legislative information, and more. 

    Center for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technology (CREST) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting an ecologically sustainable economy that relies on renewable energy, resource- and energy-efficient technologies, and benign designs. The CREST site, called SOLSTICE, provides a bounty of information on topics related to energy efficiency and renewable energy.

    Colorado Governor's Office of Energy Management and Conservation has a number of publications available on renewable energy technologies. Titles include Colorado’s Energy Future: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technologies as an Economic Development Strategy and Photovoltaics for Municipal Planners. Many of these publications are available online.

    PowerPod Corporation has developed a complete, mobile, solar power system that generates and stores electricity for off-grid locations. The systems was developed as a result of work on Native American Indian reservations to meet remote power needs in the Rocky Mountains.

    DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network (EREN) provides links to many renewable energy resources

     

    Publications

    Dollars from Sense: The Economic Benefits of Renewable Energy, 1997, U.S. Department of Energy. 
    Illustrates the direct economic benefits, including job creation, of investing in renewable energy technologies.  Each of the most promising technologies is examined, emphasizing the impact that individual projects have had on the state and the local community.  

     

    Renewables are Ready, by Nancy P. Cole and P.J. Skerrett, the Union of Concerned Scientists. 
    Offers inspirational stories of Americans who have made renewable energy a reality in their own communities and documents the wide range of local renewable-energy efforts already underway. Available from: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 205 Gates-Briggs Building, P.O. Box 428, White River Junction, VT 05001; (800) 639-4099. 

     

    Renewable Energy Assessments: An Energy Planner’s Manual, East-West Center. ISBN 0-86638-065-5. 
    Provides development and energy planners in the Pacific Islands and Third World countries with a quick reference on the major elements of renewable energy planning, this manual allows comparisons of energy alternatives and suggests investigations to plan renewable energy projects. For more information, contact East-West Center, 1601 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96848-1601. Phone: (808) 944-7111. E-mail: ewcinfo@ewc.hawaii.edu 

     

    Renewable Energy Sourcebook: A Primer for Action, Critical Mass Energy Project. 
    Reviews DOE research and development programs for wind energy and ocean thermal energy technologies. Also examines government policies intended to bring renewable energy technologies to the utility grid. Item No. CM-L041. Available from: Public Citizen Publications, 1600 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009. Phone: (202) 588-1000. 

     

    Solar Living Sourcebook, published annually by Real Goods Trading Company. 
    Serves as a complete guide to renewable energy technologies and sustainable living. Available from: Real Goods Trading Company, 555 Leslie Street, Ukiah, CA 95482-5576. Phone: (800) 762-7325. E-mail: realgood@well.sf.ca.us 

     

    Photovoltaic Purchasing Guidebook for Local and State Governments, Public Technology, Inc. (PTI). 
    Promotes the use of photovoltaics for supplying energy needs in an urban environment. Also provides municipalities with information to help make wise purchasing decisions for these type of systems. Available from: PTI, Urban Consortium Energy Task Force, Publications and Distribution, 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004. Phone: (202) 626-2400. 

     

    Self-Reliant Cities, Sierra Club Books, ISBN 0-87156-309-6. 
    Examines the historic relationships of U.S. cities to energy and envisions a future where urban production and consumption are again closely linked. Describes cities that use their municipal authority to finance and regulate decentralized, renewable energy systems, and offers a blueprint for survival in a resource-conscious age. Available from: Sierra Club Books, 85 Second St., Second Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105-3441. Phone: (415) 977-5600. E-mail: online.store@sierraclub.org

     

    Key Principles

     

    Energy Use and Community Economic Development 

    Reducing energy consumption has economic benefits, as well. First, dollars that are not spent on energy can be directed toward other purposes, which helps stimulate economic activity and job creation. Businesses increase their profits and productivity, which can create jobs. Consumers pay less in energy costs, which makes more of their income available to spend in the local economy. 

    Consider Osage, Iowa: Some 20 years ago, the town implemented an energy conservation program which reduces energy costs by $1 million annually. As a result, the local economy is strong: Unemployment is half the national average, new businesses are locating in Osage, and the business climate is healthy. To read more about Osage’s program, see "Energy Efficiency Strengthens Local Economies" and Osage Municipal Utilities Demand-Side Management

    Secondly, energy efficiency programs create a demand for related products and services, creating jobs and new business markets. 

    Energy management programs also are an effective means of relieving budget pressures for local governments. The National Science Foundation estimates that cities can often reduce energy costs by 15 percent without affecting the services they provide to citizens. There are many measures that governments can take to reduce energy consumption; some are simple and inexpensive but effective. However, approaches such as energy tracking--monitoring the costs of energy--and budget incentives--which return savings to individual departments or to the general fund to pay for future energy efficiency projects--can provide the inspiration for departments to save money. And the money saved through these programs has widespread effects: it can reduce local taxes, allow municipalities to purchase equipment and other supplies, and to operate more efficiently. 

    Phoenix, Arizona, began a very successful municipal energy program in the late 1970s. The program, despite having started its first year with no funds, has saved the city several million dollars in energy costs. It eventually grew to include a fund that helps finance energy efficiency improvements or purchases. For more information on Phoenix’s program and its use of budget incentives, read "Energy Dollars Relieve Municipal Budget Pressures." 

     

    Publications

    The Jobs Connection: Energy Use and Local Economic Development
    Describes how "energy dollars" impact the health of local economies. 

    Financing Local Energy-Efficiency Projects
    Offers useful tips on getting your energy-efficiency project financed. 

    Energy Efficiency and Job Creation
    Examines the impacts on employment and income that could result from improving energy efficiency nationwide. The book illustrates that substantial energy efficiency improvements throughout the U.S. economy could lead to a net increase of 470,000 jobs by 2000 and more than one million jobs by 2010. Available from: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 2140 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704. Phone: (415) 549-9914. 

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