Good news-- Co. Leg.'s Bill McCabe, Pete Wassell, and Tom Mansfield all co-signed a letter I drafted/circulated Thurs. night at our last County Legislature mtg. for Dutchess to be part of PACE!...
Email all 25 of us at firstname.lastname@example.org-- and email@example.com too!..
[second e-address is for County Executive; Dutchess must apply THIS month for PACE stimulus funds!]
Remember these bracing numbers from the Dec. 11th Poughkeepsie Journal on our local economy?...
"...unemployment in Dutchess was 7.9 percent in October, down from 8.2 percent in September, 11,600 people still continued to look for work, even as jobs existing within the Hudson Valley region remained scarcer than a year ago; that rate was 5.3 percent last year..."
There's something we can do about this, folks...
Did you know that several weeks ago Gov. Paterson signed into law PACE-- the Property Assessed Clean Energy loan program-- which allows municipalities all across NYS (even counties) to opt in?...
[...read on below-- and send a message to all 25 of us NOW at firstname.lastname@example.org!...]
Specifically, PACE allows counties, towns, cities, towns, and villages to "leverage federal funds and provide loans to commercial and residential property owners; property owners can than opt into these programs, finance energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy systems and reap an immediate savings on their energy costs; they will be able to repay their loans via an annual charge on their property tax bill"(!)...[see http://www.r8ny.com/node/150010 for much more on this; also this link:
This is exactly the type of program I've been raving about since early 2008, when I first learned of the similar miracle program put into place vis-a-vis http://www.CambridgeEnergyAlliance.org in Mass...
[Berkeley, Babylon, Boulder, many other communities have moved far ahead of us in Dutchess; join 31 other Dutchess folks signed on for this here-- at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/SOLAR ...and check out
http://www.LIGreenHomes.com for the miracle the Town of Babylon has been putting in place there.]
...And here in our county, put together Independent Dutchess Energy Alliance (IDEA), working with Lucy Johnson of Vassar's Sustainability Committee, Allison Morrill Chatrchyan of CCEDC, David Dell of Sustainable Hudson Valley, Stuart Findley of the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, Larry Steel of the Dutchess County EMC, county legislators Marge Horton, Pete Wassell, Tom Mansfield, Bill McCabe--
http://dutchessdemocracy.blogspot.com/2009/03/our-bright-idea-growin-brighter-and.html ...IDEA needs to be FUNDED tho...(I tried w/amendment to county budget last week; didn't pass tho)...
[recall-- the Town of Bedford's Mark Thiele spoke recently in Millbrook at Simon Gruber's Fifth Annual Green Buildings & Energy Conference at Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies re: energy loan program:
So-- again-- tomorrow night I'll be doing my bit to get my colleagues in Co. Leg. signed on for PACE...
[word has it that this coming Mon. night (my b-day; i turn 46!) will be last Co. Leg. mtg. for the year]
...but I need y'all to send as many letters as possible to email@example.com on this!...
[...or...even better-- come out and speak up on this Monday 6:30 pm: 6th floor of 22 Market St. in Pok...]
Pass it on...(if you care about creating green jobs to resurrect Dutchess out of economic doldrums!)...
(...and if you care about making this fool-proof way to cut carbon emissions, save on electric bills real)...
Fact: There's literally one billion dollars in savings on electric bills possible over the next decade for Dutchess County homeowners and businesses if we get energy-efficiency retrofits out to all who need them locally, according to Sustainable Hudson Valley Chair David Dell of Poughkeepsie.
[my best b-day wish-- for you all to flood letters in on this now-- to firstname.lastname@example.org!]
Pass it on...
p.s. More reason for Dutchess to opt into PACE-- see http://www.350.org ; think globally, act locally!...
[see: "Truths Copenhagen Ignored" by Johann Hari-- http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/12/19 ;
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[this should have hit the front page of all the papers-- but was summarily ignored by just about all]
From http://www.r8ny.com/node/150010 ...
State of New York | Executive Chamber
David A. Paterson | Governor
For Immediate Release: November 20, 2009
Contact: Marissa Shorenstein | email@example.com | 518.474.8418 | 212.681.4640GOVERNOR PATERSON JOINS CONGRESSMAN ISRAEL TO HIGHLIGHT PACE LEGISLATION
New Law Positions State to Access $454 Million in Federal Funds for Clean Energy Retrofits
Supports Governor's '45 by 15' Clean Energy Goal
Governor David A. Paterson, Congressman Steve Israel and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney joined labor and energy leaders for a ceremonial signing of the municipal clean energy program bill. The legislation will empower communities to launch Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan programs, allowing them to leverage federal funds and provide loans to commercial and residential property owners. Property owners could then opt into these programs, finance energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy systems and reap an immediate savings on their energy costs. They will be able to repay their loans via an annual charge on their property tax bill.
"The PACE loan program will provide more than access to critical federal funds, it will enable us to pursue the clean energy goals that are better for our environment and a boost to our economy," Governor Paterson said. "New York has significantly expanded energy efficiency incentive programs, like my '45 by 15' clean energy initiative, that help residents and businesses reduce their energy costs. Now, thanks to the leadership of the Obama administration and Congressman Israel, the federal government is supporting such measures through the PACE loan program. To ensure that New York's ability to tap into this federal funding, we needed to pass this legislation, which authorizes municipalities to administer PACE loan programs. I am pleased to sign this bill into law and thank my partners in government for their work on this issue."
"PACE bonds are the fastest way to do two things: create new jobs and reduce Long Islander's utility bills," Congressman Israel said. "Until now, Long Islanders have been unable to afford the front-end costs to purchase energy efficiency technologies for their homes. PACE bonds will enable local governments to finance those improvements. I want to thank the Governor and the State Legislature for taking a major step in creating new jobs for New York and reducing utility bills for New Yorkers."
Senator Antoine Thompson said: "As Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, I am happy to see that the Governor has moved forward on this bill. This legislation supports job creation and saving money and is another stepping stone on the way to a greener New York."
Assemblyman Bob Sweeney, Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, said: "The PACE loans are a significant further incentive for municipalities to get involved in encouraging energy efficiency for homeowners and businesses. It is important that New York tap into these important federal resources to continue its important goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This program will build on the new state law that allows towns to include the operation of a home energy efficiency program within their refuse and garbage districts. Energy efficiency programs help decrease electricity and heating fuel demand. This program will help homeowners to go green while saving green. Improving energy efficiency will not only reduce an energy bill, but it will reduce emissions that contribute to global warming. This is a win for the pocketbook, the environment and job creation."
Last month, Vice President Joe Biden announced $454 million in Recovery Act funding from the Department of Energy to support PACE pilot programs as part of his "Recovery through Retrofit" plan. Applications for the funding are due in December and awarded on a competitive basis. Up until now, New York State law did not allow municipalities to add the additional property tax charge to owners' property tax bills, which is the mechanism used to pay back PACE loans. The bill passed by the New York State Legislature gives communities the ability to add this charge, making New York municipalities competitive in the bidding process for federal funds.
According to PACE Now, an independent coalition of PACE bond supporters, it is estimated that the potential for PACE bonds could exceed $500 billion nationally. For most energy retrofit projects, property owners can expect to see an immediate energy savings of 20 to 40 percent. PACE bonds finance energy efficiency upgrades, such as double insulated windows, as well as the installation of clean energy technologies, such as solar panels or geothermal heat pumps.
Because of high energy prices and a vast amount of infrastructure, New York is uniquely positioned to benefit from the expansion of local PACE programs. A similar program launched in Babylon last year has shown great success and a high level of participation. This summer, the Governor signed bipartisan legislation granting Binghamton and Bedford the authority to implement such a program.
PACE programs are endorsed by the Alliance to Save Energy, Climate Communities, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Real Estate Roundtable, Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), Stewards for Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF), California Energy Commission, the American Institute of Architects, National Association of Home Builders and Polyiso Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA).
There are more than 150 energy efficiency financing programs in the United States, but many have limitations that include short repayment periods, high interest rates, credit requirements that do not account for energy savings, a lack of options for recent homebuyers and limited availability for households most in need. PACE loans have several advantages for participants over other financing options, including a longer repayment period, a lien attached to the property - not the owner, reduced transaction costs, tax benefits and low interest rates.
The Governor's '45 by 15' initiative, a goal of meeting 45 percent of the State's electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2015, is among the most ambitious clean energy programs in the country. It is estimated that the expanded use of clean energy technologies will create some 50,000 new jobs in New York.
Congressman Israel has also introduced federal legislation to support and expand PACE bond programs (H.R.3836), which would change the Department of Energy indirect loan guarantee program to provide 100 percent guarantees for PACE bond programs. In addition, a version of H.R. 3836 was included in the climate change bill - the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454) - which passed Congress earlier this year.
The following statements were given in support of the municipal clean energy loan program legislation:
Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson said: "I am pleased that the Legislature, along with Governor Paterson, has reached an agreement to position New York for statewide job growth through passage of the PACE loan program. Working in partnership with the federal government, we will help homeowners and small business owners save energy costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating new jobs all across the state. It's a win-win-win that will ultimately lead to job creation, significant household and business savings and the reduction of New York's carbon footprint."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: "The Municipal Sustainable Energy Loan Program legislation will allow counties, cities, towns and villages throughout our state to offer loans using federal funding to homeowners and businesses who install energy efficiency improvements or renewable energy systems in their houses and buildings. This agreement encourages participation to meet clean energy goals and offers a streamlined system for repaying loans. In order to make significant progress in protecting our environment we must encourage effect initiatives such as PACE loan programs. I thank Governor Paterson and Congressman Steve Israel for their leadership in fulfilling New York's clean energy goals."
Senate President Malcolm A. Smith said: "Empowering homeowners and businesses to increase energy efficiency saves money by reducing energy costs, creates green jobs and incentivizes clean energy companies to come to New York State. PACE programs are another example of utilizing federal dollars to boost New York's economy, and I would like to thank Governor Paterson for his efforts in securing this valuable funding."
Senator Darrel J. Aubertine, Chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, said: "The sustainable energy loan, or PACE program, will give municipalities across the state the ability to help homeowners reduce their energy bills without having to front the cost of retrofitting. When that barrier of paying upfront is removed, homeowners have proven that they are eager to make capital improvements for energy efficiency and renewable energy systems. Much like Green Jobs/Green NY, this will create jobs by increasing demand, especially Upstate, where keeping homes warmer every winter is a priority. I certainly applaud Congressman Israel and the Governor for their work to make sure New York can access this funding and I look forward to continuing to work with them to save money for consumers and conserve energy."
Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi said: "The passage of the municipal sustainable energy loan program bill will enable the State of New York to receive millions of dollars in Federal funds for renewable energy projects, energy efficiency retrofits, and promote a new green economy. Governor Paterson, Congressman Israel and Speaker Silver should be commended for their work and swift action on this legislation."
Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee, said: "The PACE program provides the perfect compliment to the leadership already shown in the Green Jobs/Green Homes initiative. PACE provides another means for New York to take the lead in encouraging energy efficient homes and has the added benefit of tapping into an important source of federal funds."
Donald Fiore, Business Manager for IBEW Local 25, said: "IBEW families have been hit hard by the recession. The legislation Governor Paterson, Congressman Israel and the State Legislature passed this week will help put our people back to work."
New York Region Campaign Director for Environmental Defense Fund Mary Barber said: "Thank you to Governor Paterson, the Legislature and Congressman Israel for this forward-looking legislation. This law will be an economic shot in the arm that also pays environmental benefits. Now the state is well-positioned to get its fair share of federal stimulus funds to enable New York's households and businesses to save money on electric bills."
Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment Adrienne Esposito said: "This new program will allow so many segments of society to join the green energy efficiency movement. It provides a common sense solution to help homeowners and businesses reduce energy costs and meet our growing energy challenges. It's a terrific accomplishment."