Topic: Economic Opportunity

Economic Opportunity Articles

Financing Climate Resilience for Affordable Housing

Climate resilience retrofits for affordable multifamily housing are critical to the survival of apartment residents. Jim Newman, principal of Linnean Solutions, said in a workshop at BuildingEnergy 15 on March 4 in Boston that “a lot of people are going to be sheltering in place.”

ICP Responds to Need for Energy Efficiency Standardization

The United States energy efficiency industry will have to standardize projects before it can receive large-scale private financing, according to our recent Q&A with a senior manager at Citigroup. Meanwhile, commercial building owners are skeptical that energy efficiency retrofits will be financially worthwhile.

Clean Energy Bond Investors Want a Full Buffet of Options

For the first time, researchers have examined what potential investors want from the United States clean energy bond market. The December 2014 report “What Investors Want: How to Scale-Up Demand for U.S. Clean Energy and Green Bonds” shows investors’ tastes vary widely. Offering a broad menu of options is the best response, the authors recommend.

The Struggle to Combine Energy Efficiency and Solar Power

How can programs motivate homeowners to make their homes energy-efficient before installing solar panels? And how can incentives support a whole-house retrofit approach that will optimize energy savings and prevent solar systems from being oversized? California, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Austin Energy have been grappling with this challenge for years. Their experiences show well-designed incentives may drive the joint adoption of solar power and energy efficiency. Simply introducing energy efficiency requirements into the solar installation process may not be successful without adding financial motivation.

Alternative Market Solutions Could Ignite Renewable Energy Finance

How can alternative financing solutions help expand clean energy through capital markets? Industry experts convened at this year’s Asset-Backed Securities (ABS) East conference in Miami on Sept. 20-23 to discuss these possibilities. Yieldcos, crowdfunding or peer-to-peer (p2p) markets, and property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing could supplement the role of securitization and may deliver the capital the renewable energy industry demands.

Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance Starts Financing Network

Building relationships is one of the essential ingredients of developing a nationwide framework of energy efficiency programs. On May 13, the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) and the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced the beginning of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Finance Network (SEEFN), which will aid this traditionally underserved region in creating financing programs.

On-Bill Financing Report Shows Strong Performance

On-bill financing can be a powerful tool for offering attractive energy efficiency options to a broad range of utility customers, according to a new report by State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action). Utility customers often fail to invest in energy efficiency because of its upfront costs, the report said. On-bill financing allows customers to pay for energy efficiency measures gradually over time through charges included on their utility bills. This approach makes it much easier for some customers to access energy efficiency financing.

USDA Plants Seed Funding for Rural Clean Energy

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on May 5 it has earmarked up to $12.3 million in grants and $57.8 million in loan guarantees for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). This followed a Dec. 2013 statement that the USDA will distribute $250 million to rural electric cooperatives through the Energy Efficiency Conservation Loan Program (EECLP).