Speak Up for Local Clean Energy

Here is another opportunity to remove barriers to local and democratic clean energy, so get ready to fire off an e-mail to Uncle Sam no later than 26 March.  Instructions below.

What is PACE?
So far, 27 states have approved Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, which allow homeowners to improve energy efficiency or install rooftop solar panels and pay the costs over time through their own property tax assessment.  PACE is similar to other "special assessment" programs that have been used by municipalities for decades to finance public or private property improvements that benefit the community.  Since energy efficiency and distributed generation reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create local jobs,  and are better alternatives than building expensive new power plants and transmission lines that destroy wildlands, PACE is certainly in the public's interest.

Who is Blocking PACE?
Despite Washington's rhetorical support for clean energy, it is a Federal agency that is standing in the way of PACE.  In 2010 the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued an order to banks that prevented the implementation of PACE programs, seeking to protect big banks from exaggerated financial risks.  FHFA has never challenged any other special assessment programs, and arguably it does not have the authority to do so. In January 2012, the courts ordered FHFA to reconsider its position on PACE and solicit public comments.

How Can I Support PACE?
The FHFA is accepting public comments by e-mail through 26 March.  Feel free to use the talking points below to craft your personal comments.

E-mail comments to RegComments@fhfa.gov and include "RIN 2590–AA53, Mortgage Assets Affected by PACE Programs" in the subject line.
  • I request that the FHFA rescind its opposition to PACE programs that are necessary tools for communities to pursue more sustainable energy use and generation.
  • PACE programs help us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, promote clean air, and lower our utility costs over time. Energy efficiency and rooftop solar installations also improve property values.
  • PACE programs are also in the public's interest because energy efficiency and distributed generation are cheaper than building expensive new power plants and transmission lines that require the destruction of natural resources and cherished wildlands.
  • Municipalities have a well-established history of using special assessments similar to PACE to finance community benefits, including improvements to personal property. FHFA has not challenged these other special assessment programs, nor does it have authority to do so. 
  • A pilot PACE program in Colorado generated over one hundred jobs and nearly $20 million dollars in economic activity and over one hundred jobs in just one year, according to the Department of Energy.
  •  The White House has called for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and generating distributed clean energy.  The FHFA's position against PACE programs is inconsistent with national and local policy goals.
More information?

Federal Register entry soliciting public comments

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