The jobs bill passed by the US House of Representatives last week includes a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) bonds program allowing federal loan guarantees to be applied to energy efficiency projects.
The PACE bonds provision–advocated by Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), an honorary vice-chair on the Alliance’s Board of Directors – is part of the $75 billion Jobs for Main Street Act.
PACE bonds allow property owners to finance energy efficiency retrofits
through a loan voluntarily attached to the borrower’s property tax
bill. These long-term loans could be transferred along with the sale
of the property in order to accelerate investment in energy efficiency
retrofits. Fifteen states have enacted bills that would allow this
type of municipal financing, while several more are considering such
bills or running pilot projects.
The loan guarantee authority contained in the jobs bill is based on an
amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that was included in the
February 2009 stimulus law; and it is subject to the stimulus law’s
sunset date of September 30, 2011.
Other key energy efficiency provisions in the bill include:
Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program
This provision funds an additional $2 billion to DOE for the Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program; the provision amends the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus law) to allow DOE to make loan guarantees for the rapid deployment of energy efficiency projects that commence construction prior to September 30, 2011.
Training and Employment Services
Provides $1.25 billion for training and employment services under the Workforce Investment Act, of which $750 million is to be used for a program of competitive grants for worker training and placement in high growth and emerging industry sectors, with $275 million to be used for job training projects that prepare workers for careers in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Federal Transit Administration
Provides $6.15 billion for transit capital assistance grants, distributed by formula to urban and non urbanized areas. $100 million is to be distributed as discretionary grants to public transit agencies for capital investments that will help reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of their public transportation system; priority is to be given to projects based on total energy savings projected from the investment.
Fixed Guideway Infrastructure Investment
Provides $1.75 billion in state and local government grants for “fixed guideway” systems, including heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, monorail, trolleybus, aerial tramway, inclined plane, cable car, automated guideway transit, ferryboats, that portion of motor bus service operated on exclusive or controlled rights-of-way and high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes.
“These important provisions will help to immediately create clean energy jobs, and we anticipate a further jobs bill in January that we hope will include a residential retrofit initiative such as President Obama has endorsed,” Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan said.
“An initiative to lower the cost of installing energy-efficient products and systems would not only create home-grown jobs for product manufacturers, retailers and installers, it also would benefit homeowners’ pocketbooks, national security and the effort to curb global climate change,” she said.