Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) Grant Update




SEEA Grant Update and Approval of Memorandum of Understanding




Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, and Shadman, and Ms. Temple






November 4, 2009


  ACTION:     X          INFORMATION:   



  ACTION:              INFORMATION:   










The following is relevant background information for this update:



Goal 1 – Enhance the Quality of Life for all Citizens

Goal 2 – Protect the County’s Natural Resources



In July 2009 the Virginia Energy Project secured a $60,000 grant from the Blue Moon Fund in order to retain outside legal counsel to assist the County and City attorneys’ offices in evaluating legal issues related to establishing a local energy alliance as a legal entity in Virginia. Conclusions from this analysis include, but are not limited to, the following: 1) Virginia localities do not have the enabling authority to create an “operating company” as described in the SEEA RFP; 2) the County and City can only donate funds to organizations that are registered as charitable, non-profit organizations; 3) in the interest of minimizing risk and maximizing simplicity and expediency, the recommended option going forward is for SEEA to provide the grant funds directly to a private, non-profit, tax-exempt, charitable organization that SEEA deems to be qualified to carry out the goals set forth in the County/City proposal submitted to SEEA.  To that end, County and City staff, with the assistance of outside legal counsel, drafted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) (Attachment A) that, when approved, will establish that: 1) SEEA will redirect the grant funds to a local operating company as it sees fit, as long as SEEA determines that such company meets the criteria outlined in Section 3 of the MOU and the County/City proposal; and 2) SEEA will agree to perform all due diligence to ensure that the local operating company meets that criteria.


Once the MOU is in place, SEEA will redirect the grant funds to a qualified operating company. Examples of the qualifying criteria as included in the MOU include: 1) a company whose purposes encompass the activities contemplated by the SEEA RFP and the County/City proposal; 2) a company whose governance includes individuals who are broadly representative of the local community; and 3) a company that has a commitment to facilitating substantial reductions in non-renewable energy use in our community as defined by 20%-40% efficiency gain per structure and 30%-50% market penetration in 5–7 years.  


Once a company is selected by SEEA, the County, City and the company could enter into a MOU that would detail the scope of work and collaboration moving forward in delivering energy efficiency and renewable programs for County and City residents and property owners as set forth in the proposal.


As the announced recipients of the grant, the County and City have continued to evaluate and work on components of a community-based program with significant involvement from a range of community stakeholders, including UVa, PVCC, Dominion Power, and SEEA. This work includes financial, marketing, and IT program development and training components. The tentative schedule is for SEEA to select a qualified operating company to direct the grant funds before the end of November 2009 so that a program may be launched by January 2010.


A group of community stakeholders currently exists who have been involved throughout this process, both in proposal and program support and development, and who have recently come together as an initial three-member Board of Directors of an organization with the name “Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP).” This group has successfully filed articles of incorporation for a Virginia non-stock corporation with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC), and it is in the process of filing for tax exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). At the time of writing this summary, the organization has indicated plans to convene an initial meeting of its Board of Directors at the end of October and to discuss near-term expansion of that Board to include additional community stakeholders. This organization has been in contact with SEEA to identify itself as an independent, community-based organization focused on delivering the energy efficiency-related programs and services described in the SEEA RFP and the attached MOU.


The City Council is expected to consider the attached MOU at its November 2, 2009 meeting.



It is not anticipated that any direct funding from the County will be required to fund the local energy alliance.



Staff recommends that the Board authorize the County Executive to sign the attached Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).



A - Memorandum of Understanding

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