Renewable Energy: Are You Leading or Lagging Behind?

Ways local governments can encourage renewable energy development.

ARTICLE | Oct 25, 2017

“Local governments have a host of legislative levers available to them to promote the development of renewable energy,” write authors Chad Laurent, vice president and general counsel, Meister Consultants Group, Boston, Massachusetts, and Kalee Whitehouse, adviser, Meister Consultants Group, in their December PM magazine article “The Power of Renewable Energy.”

Here, the authors explain, is how governments can look to encourage renewable energy development:

Providing programs that encourage on-site renewable energy. Through mandates or development incentives, local governments can encourage the deployment of renewable energy. South Miami, Florida, for example, passed a law in July 2017 that requires solar panels be installed on all residential new construction.

Enacting a consumer choice aggregation program (CCA). Some states allow local governments to choose an electricity provider for their local government, residential, and business accounts through a CCA. CCAs are often pursued to obtain a lower cost of electricity than the current utility provider, include a higher percentage of renewable energy, and provide a long-term fixed price to avoid energy cost volatility.

Negotiating franchise agreements. Local governments with an investor-owned utility often will have franchise agreements with the utility. When contracts are due to expire, the utility provides the community with additional opportunities to readdress some terms of the contract and use the agreement to help transform the energy supply.

Providing financing for renewable energy projects. Local governments can enable financing at a local level for residents, businesses, and nonprofits. This can be done by establishing a revolving loan fund for renewable energy projects, loan loss reserves, or credit enhancements for local energy project development.

Find out more specifics and a resource list on renewable energy development and finance options for local governments, along with other management initiatives, in the November issue.


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