COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) Grant Update
Update on the Status of the SEEA Grant
Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Shadman, Ms. Lyttle, Ms. Temple
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
August 5, 2009
ACTION: INFORMATION: X
The following is relevant background information for an update on the status of the SEEA Grant:
Goal 1 - Enhance the Quality of Life for all Citizens
Goal 2 – Protect the County’s Natural Resources
The entire SEEA Grant Proposal is included as Attachment D (linked electronically, but hard copy not attached because of the length of the document). In summary, the proposal requests funding from SEEA to support the administrative elements of implementing a local energy alliance program (LEAP) that, as envisioned, would be a community-based partnership between the County, City, State and other public and private organizations. The main purpose of LEAP would be to help property owners significantly lower their energy usage and reduce energy costs by coordinating energy audits, follow-up improvement work, and managing a loan fund. LEAP would make loan money available to property owners to cover the upfront costs of implementing improvements, and then the money would be paid back by property owners with interest from the money saved through lower energy bills. Job creation estimates in the proposal include between 915-1,271 new jobs created over seven years in the residential sector alone. This range corresponds with the 30%-50% market penetration goals set forth in the proposal and the calculations are based on EPA’s statistic of 18–25 jobs created for every $1 million spent in home energy performance. Greenhouse gas reduction estimates, updated after the proposal was submitted, are between 20,902 and 69,685 metric tons for the seven year period. SEEA has cited the Letters of Support in the proposal as a very compelling case for community support. Letters were received from Governor Tim Kaine, Congressman Tom Perriello, Dominion Power, UVa, and many other local organizations and stakeholders. See Appendix N in Attachment D for all of the letters of support.
Va. Code § 15.2-958.3
Although it is not discussed in detail in the proposal, Va. Code § 15.2-958.3, adopted by SB 1212 in the 2009 General Assembly, effective July 1 2009, enables local governments in Virginia to adopt an ordinance to “authorize contracts to provide loans for the initial acquisition and installation of clean energy improvements with free and willing property owners of both existing properties and new construction.” See Attachment E for Va. Code § 15.2-958.3 language. The details for implementing such a loan program and how it would function or fit into LEAP, as LEAP is envisioned in the proposal, will need to be further researched by staff.
Potential legal barriers to establishing LEAP as an “operating company” as set forth in the SEEA RFP have been identified and are currently being evaluated by County and City legal staff. In addition, County and City legal staff are currently reviewing the grant contract provided by SEEA. One possible solution provided in the draft contract is for SEEA to act as the temporary fiscal and operating agent until LEAP has become a legal entity under Virginia law. This option is being evaluated. It is anticipated that a recommendation on how to form an “operating company” will be presented in September or October.
In a parallel effort, County and City staff have begun working with the original SEEA Proposal team [David Slutzky (County), Dave Norris (City), David Brown (City), Bill Dunnington (State consultant), Steve Walz (State)], now called the “Transition Team,” to work through the financial and administrative logistics of the program in an effort to implement LEAP.
1) The County has submitted its Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) application and strategy for use of funds to the Department of Energy (DOE) for approval. Included in the strategy is a designation of $60,000 to support LEAP through monies used towards energy efficiency-related education and outreach. The City intends to designate all $195,300 of its EECBG funds to support the LEAP initiative.
2) County and City environmental staff are currently working on a cooperative proposal for a City Grant application to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Climate Showcase Communities grant, which is a $500,000 competitive grant that seeks to award funds to a community that has designed a replicable community program focused on energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. City staff is proposing to use the SEEA Grant funds as the required 50% match if such use of SEEA Grant funds is allowed per the SEEA Grant contract, and would use the EPA funds if awarded to further support LEAP.
The budget impact of the SEEA Grant and related program is dependent upon how LEAP is created and funded. It is not anticipated that additional direct County funding beyond Grant funding would be required.
This update is presented for the Board’s information only.
A – January 14, 2009 Resolution to Request Enabling Legislation
B – January 14, 2009 Resolution to Support Collaborative Efforts
C – May 6, 2009 Resolution to Support SEEA Grant Application
D - SEEA Grant Proposal
E – Va. Code § 15.2-958.3
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