Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Energy Committee Chair Kevin Cahill and Environmental Conservation Chair Robert K. Sweeney today announced the passage of a bill that would bolster New York's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting energy efficiency in homes and businesses throughout the state.
The legislation (Extraordinary Session Assembly Bill A.40004/Sweeney) would allow municipalities to establish the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program in order to apply for more than $400 million in federal funds to issue as loans to qualifying homeowners and businesses to install energy efficient retrofits and renewable energy systems.
Energy efficiency improvements contained in the legislation include window and door replacements, insulation and heating and cooling system upgrades. Renewable energy systems covered in the bill include solar, thermal, geothermal, wind and fuel cell technologies.
"Today's passage of the Municipal Sustainable Energy Loan Program will help New York meet its ambitious greenhouse emission reduction goals," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "By authorizing counties, cities, towns and villages to tap into this source of federal funds we can encourage increased participation of homeowners and businesses and further develop a green economy."
The legislation would streamline the repayment of the loans by authorizing municipalities to include the loans on annual property tax bills.
"The PACE loans are a significant further incentive for municipalities to get involved in encouraging energy efficiency for homeowners and businesses," said Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst). "It is important that New York tap into these important federal resources to continue its important goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This program will build on the new state law that allows towns to include the operation of a home energy efficiency program within their refuse and garbage districts. Energy efficiency programs help decrease electricity and heating fuel demand. This program will help homeowners to go green while saving green. Improving energy efficiency will not only reduce an energy bill, but it will reduce emissions that contribute to global warming. This is a win for the pocketbook, the environment and job creation."
"The PACE program provides the perfect compliment to the leadership already shown in the Green Jobs/Green Homes initiative," said Cahill (D-Kingston). "PACE provides another means for New York to take the lead in encouraging energy efficient homes and has the added benefit of tapping into an important source of federal funds."
"The passage of the municipal sustainable loan program bill will enable the state of New York to receive millions of dollars in federal funds for renewable energy projects, energy efficiency retrofits and promote a new green economy," said Assemblyman Andrew B. Hevesi (D-Queens), a sponsor of the bill. "Speaker Silver, Assemblyman Sweeney, Congressman Israel and the governor should be commended for their work and swift action on this legislation."
The legislation directs the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to develop standards for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems efficiency improvements. Under the bill, municipalities would be permitted to certify contractors for the performance of energy audits and renewable energy system feasibility studies based on the NYSERDA criteria.
Silver also noted, "The Assembly continues to work with Governor Paterson and the Senate to agree on a deficit reduction plan to close this year's $3 billion budget gap."