Greetings Network Member!
We did not have a conference call last week, but we did have a very productive call the previous week (October 8). David Bennett, Team Lead for Transportation and Energy Contracts in the Division of State Purchasing at the Department of Management Services, was able to provide really good information regarding the use of the State Energy Savings contracts by local governments. (Click this link to access the statewide contract) David suggested that local governments look at model contracts, financing agreements and investment grade energy audits to get an idea of how to build their own performance contracts from these templates. (See link: right-hand column, second box down). Questions about ESCOs (Energy Service Companies) were raised. Some of the questions posed pertained to the expectations involved with engaging an ESCO in a free industrial grade energy audit and whether the engagement creates any obligations to further contract with that ESCO. The answer is, it does not.
The US DOE, through their (EECBG) funding, is working with local governments to move toward national goals of energy independence primarily through energy conservation. The EECBG funds are intended to facilitate and build momentum among local governments so that they will be properly positioned to continue making strides toward energy sustainability after the funds have been disbursed.
To this end, Mark Johnson of the U.S. DOE has been working closely with us to provide information about financing these types of procurements. Energy conversant banks, even local community banks, will fund your contractors and ESCOs to do your energy efficiency retrofits on buildings, HVAC, street lighting, water/wastewater plants, etc. Financing will consist of up to $20 million for governments, hospitals and/or schools for a period of up to 10 years at 4 to 7 percent interest paid entirely by utility cost-savings. There is no budget, no capital, no cash or out-of-pocket costs to governments. Although we do not endorse any particular consultants, one provider we have found with a website is Governmental Funding's Website.
We have also scheduled a couple of upcoming events. We will be holding our first regional workshop on November 18th and 19th in Palm Beach County, Florida. Through this workshop we hope to gain some insight into the obstacles local governments face in moving toward energy sustainability especially in regard to utilizing EECBG funds. Once we are able to identify some of the hurdles, we will be able to develop solutions that can be exported to other regions around Florida to facilitate collaborative purchasing among local governments.
In addition to our first regional workshop, we will be hosting a symposium with the Florida City and County Management Association on December 10th in Tallahassee. We will have panel discussions on topics including barriers to EECBG implementation, implications for economic development and generating cost savings through green procurement. We will send out additional details about this exciting event as we get closer to the date.