One of the best ideas ever to come from the concept of government-corporate partnerships is the financing mechanism known as Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs).
Quite simply, it uses the power of innovative private-sector financing to underwrite retrofits to federally owned buildings at no cost to taxpayers. What is more, ESPCs are a triple win because these contracts create local jobs, and upgrade the buildings’ energy systems, in turn saving energy and future taxpayer spending!
It is such a powerfully good idea that it almost triggers the skeptics’ classic response: okay, so what’s the catch?
There isn’t one. The only down side is that too few federal agencies have taken advantage of the benefits of using these contracts administrated by the Department of Energy. Despite the administration’s call in 2011 to encourage more federal agencies to sign up for $2 billion in private-sector financings for energy efficiency projects by 2014 – less than $1 billion in ESPCs are on the books so far.
Enter the Gardner-Welch Energy Savings through Public-Private Partnerships Act of 2013, which would expand ESPCs to state- and municipal-owned facilities in the hope of accelerating this triple-win program. In this act, Representatives Cory Gardner and Peter Welch have shown themselves to be both forward-thinking and practical on the issue of energy efficiency, most notably by serving as founding members of the Energy Savings Performance Caucus.
Information on the Federal Energy Mangement Program (FEMP) is available here. This is energy efficiency we should all support.