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Long term vision, planning, and financial support key to successful energy efficiency/renewable energy projects for municipalities

Earlier this month, the Sustainable Community Development Network (SCDN) hosted a forum for local government officials featuring funding opportunities and resources for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvement projects.  SCDN is a professional network facilitated by Sustainable Pittsburgh for those working to foster sustainable communities.

Presenters included energy efficiency advocates, representatives from state government agencies, industrial energy auditors, and municipal leaders on the vanguard of the energy efficiency movement.

The key takeaways for municipalities?

  • Set large goals
  • Develop short and long-term plans for phase implementation
  • Utilize the financing and public funds best suited for the community’s needs

Creating a “big picture” provides municipal leadership and community members with a vision they can get excited about, encouraging community support and buy-in.  Enlisting the assistance of financial and energy advisors during this process ensures the early phases of the plan will net significant and immediate paybacks that might be utilized in subsequent phases.  A well drafted vision also prepares a community to leverage creative funding schemes and/or public financial assistance programs (see resources page).

Other key takeaways:

  • The Pennsylvania Sustainable Energy Fund (PennSEF) is a resource for communities to fund large-scale energy efficiency projects. PennSEF is an energy efficiency funding program that leverages a combination of technical and legal assistance and an energy savings contract (ESCO) to fund large scale projects.
  • Renewable Energy for the Power of 32 invites large energy consumers to invest directly in renewable energy generation thereby securing energy rates and carbon offsets for the long-term.

Videos of the presentations are available online for viewing.  Thanks to all who presented during this forum.

Photo credit: Hayden Sloan

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