The EEFA state coalitions have been busy throughout the past few months. Take a look at some exciting state coalition updates:
Louisiana – New Power Plant in Low-Income Neighborhood Re-Examined
Entergy requested the New Orleans City Council approve a plan to build a new gas-fired power plant, slated to cost $225 million, and used fears of impending blackouts to try to pressure the Council to quickly approve the plan. Our EEFA Louisiana coalition (including Green Coast Enterprises, Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance and the Alliance for Affordable Energy) immediately engaged to assure the proposal is examined carefully – Is this new power capacity needed? If it is, could we obtain additional capacity with efficiency and other means? If a new power plant is part of the mix needed, is the proposed location (a historically disadvantaged neighborhood) the best place for it? Our intervention halted the rush to approve the new power plant and triggered a new proceeding to consider the matter, including a process for competitive acquisition of capacity. (Contact Philip Henderson at [email protected]).
Georgia – First Dedicated Funding for Affordable Multifamily Housing
Working through both the Southern Company/AGL Resources Merger and the 2016 Integrated Resource Plan dockets, the EEFA-GA coalition (Southface, Georgia Watch, Enterprise Community Partners and Partnership for Southern Equity) along with key partners Southern Environmental Law Center, the National Consumer Law Center, and Columbia Residential made significant progress to ensuring better programming for low-income residents. As a result, Georgia Power Company’s approved 2016 Integrated Resource Plan dedicates $1.5 million annually for the next three years to a low-income multifamily energy efficiency program. Georgia Power also agreed to provide access to energy usage data for commercial and residential buildings to help owners measure and manage energy performance. The EEFA Georgia coalition will be working closely with Georgia Power to design both the multifamily and single-family energy efficiency programs in the coming months. (Contact Dana Bartolomei at [email protected]).
California – CPUC Adopts Major Improvements to Low Income Efficiency Program; Allocates $80 Million to Low-Income Multifamily
The California Public Utilities Commission adopted major improvements to its longstanding low income energy efficiency program, expanding it to rent-assisted multifamily buildings. For the first time in the history of the Energy Savings Assistance program’s (ESA) history, the commission adopted an energy savings goal and allocated $80 million in new funds to residents living in rent-assisted multifamily apartments—all without increasing the budget. These funds will go towards major new energy-saving measures that had previously been left untreated by the program, including central water heaters and common area lighting. (Contact Maria Stamas at [email protected])
Pennsylvania – Utilities and Multifamily Stakeholders Meet
EEFA PA coalition members the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project (PULP), organized stakeholder meetings with the state’s 4 electric utilities and approximately 150 PA housing developers and property managers. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency also co-sponsored the meetings. The purposes of the meetings were for the utilities to unveil new multifamily energy efficiency programs and receive feedback from stakeholders to help ensure the programs will actually work for affordable housing. (Contact Todd Nedwick at [email protected]).
Maryland – Broad Support for Energy Efficiency Showcased
EEFA delivered a letter of support for energy efficiency to the Maryland Governor with 49 signees, including 20 affordable housing groups. There have been increasing signals that Maryland Governor Hogan intends to scale back the EmPOWER EE programs which would jeopardize $30 million annually in funding to the state housing finance agency for the administration of the Limited Income Energy Efficiency Program and the Multifamily Energy Efficiency and Housing Affordability Program. (Contact Deron Lovaas at [email protected])
Minnesota and Missouri – Healthy Housing on the Agenda
To explore the health-energy efficiency nexus in affordable multifamily housing, NHT, NRDC, the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, and local EEFA partners Fresh Energy, Minnesota Housing, Renew Missouri, and Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation to host convenings in Minneapolis, MN and Jefferson City, MO attended by 45 and 47 stakeholders, respectively. Participants included housing owners and advocates, energy organizations, utilities, community action agencies, state energy offices, state health departments, nonprofit hospitals, health insurance providers, county health departments, and public health organizations. As follow-up, the Minnesota EEFA network (MMAHEN) is trying to figure out how to encourage new partnerships between Health and Energy/Wx agencies, leverage nonprofit hospitals’ required community benefits spending, and launch on-the-ground healthy EE rehab projects. The Missouri EEFA network is currently assessing participants’ highest priorities for moving forward. (Contact Annika Brink at [email protected]).
Illinois- Sweeping Clean Energy Reforms Include Significant Benefits for Low-Income Families
The state of Illinois has taken a huge leap forward for climate and clean energy policy with the enactment of the Future Energy Jobs Bill. Illinois Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) Coalition members Elevate Energy, Citizens Utility Board (CUB), the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), Community Investment Corporation (CIC), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) worked closely with energy groups, housing groups, environmental justice leaders, faith groups, labor leaders, business leaders, and the nearly 200 plus members that belong to the Clean Jobs Coalition in advancing policy reforms that will benefit owners and residents of affordable housing.
Included in the reform package are significant increases in low-income energy efficiency funding. ComEd must spend at least $25 million per year and Ameren must spend at least $8.3 million per year on efficiency programs that target low-income households. Based on 2015 spending, that amounts to an increase of $16.5 million per year over the 13-year period in which programs will be active. This would not have been possible without Elevate Energy and other coalition members originally proposing and advancing the low-income carve out.
In addition, our partners helped improve the expansion of on-bill financing options for both single family and multifamily buildings to allow utility customers to pay back costs of home upgrades on their electric bill, giving greater optionality for anyone looking to make home efficiency improvement.
Overall, the policy reforms will result in more than $750 million in low-income programs. This includes a new Illinois Solar for All Program to prioritize new solar development and job training in economically disadvantaged communities. The IL EEFA Coalition looks forward to ensuring that low-income multifamily gets its fair share of this win as we move forward into implementation planning in 2017. To learn more about these developments (including the state’s first ever community solar program) read this NRDC blog. (Contact Laura Goldberg at [email protected])