April 2010

30 April 2010

The International News

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Pakistan government on Thursday signed an agreement to invest $40 million in the energy efficient and cost-effective compact fluorescent lamps.

The investment is part of $1.18 billion Energy Efficiency Investment Programme that underpins Pakistans efforts to address the energy security and efficiency.

Last year, the ADB approved a multi-tranche financing facility of $780 million to invest in the energy efficiency projects that will help the country overcome energy needs.

The facility, which will release funds in tranches, will finance short- to medium-term projects, including thermal power plant rehabilitation, industrial energy efficiency credit line, public and commercial building energy efficiency retrofits and residential lighting and appliance replacement.

“Energy efficiency is a strategic priority and is the quickest way to bridge the energy gap. The compact fluorescent lamps project alone will reduce peak demand by 1,100MW. This means that it will defer the need for a new power plant, which will cost around $1 billion and would take years to complete. More importantly, this eases the burden of power outages,” said Rune Stroem, ADB’s Country Director in Pakistan.

The national compact fluorescent lamps project aims to distribute 30 million high quality energy savers to the residential customers across the country. The government will invest $65 million and the power distribution companies $20 million in the project.

The consumers will receive compact fluorescent lamps (energy savers) free-of-charge. The world has already turned to compact fluorescent lamps, and the governments in America, Europe and regional countries in Asia are phasing out the use of incandescent bulbs.

“This national compact fluorescent lamps project will save money for each family, as they have to pay less in their electricity bill, in addition to reducing public expenditure and subsidy requirements,” said Stroem.

The ADB will extend $760 million in loans from its ordinary capital resources. It will provide a further $20 million from its concessional Asian Development Fund. Co-financing equivalent to Ä150 million will be provided by Agence FranÁaise de DÈvelopement, with the government and utility companies financing $200 million.

The Energy Efficiency Investment Programme will help the government reduce public expenditures and subsidy needs, easing the debt problem in the power sector, which has adversely impacted the energy development initiatives in the past.
It also provides openings for increased private sector involvement with the bank and other development partners, helping to leverage commercial financing support.

Under the programme, projects are expected to be eligible for earning carbon revenues under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.

The ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and Pacific region through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members, including 48 from the region.

During 2009, it had approved a total of $16.1 billion in financing operations through loans, grants, guarantees, a trade finance facilitation programme, equity investments, and technical assistance projects. The ADB also mobilised co-financing amounting to $3.2 billion. 

30 April 2010

The Age

Victori's largest residential developer has joined the push for greener suburbs with Australia's first carbon-neutral display homes open in new estates.

Developer Delfin Lend Lease yesterday launched a zero-emission demonstration home, designed with the CSIRO, which is powered by renewable energy.

The home at its Laurimar estate in the north-eastern suburbs, near Whittlesea, has energy-saving technologies and solar panels that use up to 70 per cent less energy than a traditional home of similar size.

It is hoped to serve as inspiration to the 500 householders building on the estate.

Real estate group Mirvac last week won a Premier's Award for its display home, which has a 9.2-star energy rating and also claims to be carbon neutral, erected at its Waverley Park village at Mulgrave.

Mirvac Design's national housing director, John Eckert, said the company wanted to see how green it could go using its local suppliers and contractors, and recycling local materials such as old timber from stadium seating at Waverley Park.

''We didn't want the house to look like a spaceship or out of place with the estate,'' he said. ''It still had to have a residential quality, even though you can run it like a machine with the shutters, panels and levers.''

The houses have grey-water recycling systems, underground rainwater storage, reverse brick veneer walls to improve insulation, low-toxin materials and north-facing windows.

Last year, state and federal governments agreed to lift the national residential standard from five to six stars by May 2011, at the latest.

It sparked concern from industry groups including the Master Builders Association of Victoria, which estimated it would add $10,000 to the cost of building an average home.

Mr Eckert said the Mirvac prototype house cost three times that of an average house to build but much of that was because it was a first attempt.

He said ideas such as a computer meter for energy usage and a single switch to kill power to appliances when leaving the house would be incorporated to all new homes on the estate.

However, he said the take-up by Waverley Park buyers had been slow because of the cost.

Research leader Dr Greg Foliente of the CSIRO said the organisation initiated the Laurimar display house two years ago because it wanted to get the housing industry and individual households involved in reducing the nation's carbon footprint. ''The housing sector is responsible for about 13 per cent of national greenhouse gas emissions,'' he said.

28 April 2010

Melbourne Football Club Media Release

Today, the Melbourne Football Club visited Lynbrook Primary School to congratulate them on the fantastic effort of winning the 2009 Szencorp Greenest Schools Competition.

The Greenest Schools initiative, conducted in conjunction with Australian Alliance to Save Energy Founding Associate, Szencorp, is aimed at schools using effective ways to reduce their energy usage each year.

Lynbrook Primary School was the school that reduced its energy usage the most between Terms 2 and 3 in 2009.

They today received a visit from Szencorp representatives, who spoke about the importance of saving energy, and also announced that they will be sending along a expert to put in place methods of saving energy at the school.

Melbourne stars Colin Garland and Ricky Petterd also visited the school and spoke about how they save energy at the Club, the importance of leadership and teamwork, and their careers.

The school was also presented with a colourful Greenest Schools Winner Certificate, which will be hung proudly at the school.

Congratulations to all schools who took part - and don’t forget to save as much energy as possible to help our environment.

30 April 2010
The Age

A $60 million program to make government buildings across Victoria ''green'' will be a key part of Tuesday's big-spending pre-election budget.

Treasurer John Lenders will also create a $16 million fund to focus on jobs in small export businesses struggling to recover from the global financial crisis.

Premier John Brumby, eager to use the budget to rejuvenate the government's fortunes in the lead-up to November's election, will today unveil a ''green jobs'' action plan designed to transform the Victorian economy for a low-carbon future.

The Age understands that under the plan, new homes will be required to meet a stricter, ''six-star'' energy-efficiency rating, and the government will promise to speed up planning approvals for so-called clean energy projects and environmentally friendly buildings.

The biggest spending commitment in the plan is $60 million to have a major retrofit of government buildings, such as hospitals and schools and department headquarters with energy-efficient lighting, air-conditioning and heating.

Government modelling suggests the program will create 250 jobs over the next 18 months and result in savings of $7 million a year through lower electricity and water bills.

The ''greener government buildings'' program, developed with help from former US president Bill Clinton's climate foundation, is expected to cut Victoria's greenhouse gas emissions by 130,000 tonnes a year.



28 April 2010

Alliance to Save Energy, USA

Property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing supports energy efficiency and renewable energy projects by providing up-front capital that is subsequently paid back through an addition to participants’ property taxes. Despite demonstrated economic and environmental benefits from energy efficiency, the initial costs to buy new equipment or renovate buildings are often a major barrier to greater implementation. PACE financing allows property owners to benefit from energy savings immediately while spreading the cost of improvements over a number of years. The PACE model addresses and overcomes challenges that both borrowers and lenders have identified in seeking to use traditional finance mechanisms to fund efficiency improvements.

Loans from a PACE financing program are repaid though an assessment added to property taxes. Unlike charges levied by utilities or localities on all ratepayers, a PACE financing program is only paid for by those who actually receive efficiency upgrades or renewable energy equipment. Thus, there is no cost to those who do not participate in the program.

A notable feature of PACE financing is that the loan is tied to the property itself, not the property owner. If the property is sold, payments stay with those receiving the cost-saving benefits of energy efficiency. This repayment structure encourages energy improvements even by those who think they may sell before the cost is paid back, a major disincentive to energy efficiency projects.

PACE loans also provide structural advantages for lenders. PACE loans take precedence over existing mortgages so that in the event of a default, PACE lenders would recover funds before a mortgage lender. Thus, the risk for PACE lenders is minimized. Existing mortgage lenders also may benefit, as reduced energy costs improve property owners’ financial position, making them better able to make payments. However, some mortgage lenders are concerned the PACE loans' precedence could harm them in case of default on their loans, and thus have opposed PACE financing.

Establishing a PACE financing mechanism requires action on the part of states and localities, but may be helped by ancillary support from the federal government. States must first pass legislation allowing the creation of local lending agencies. The agency then sets the terms for the loans and capitalizes the fund through municipal bonds, state and federal grants, or other means. Once the program is in place, a local property owner may borrow from the fund, make efficiency upgrades, and repay the loan through a property tax addendum. Because local authorities set the specifics of each program, loan terms and funding sources will vary across the country.

Although PACE programs are developed and administered at a local level and based on state-granted authority, certain federal government policies can further reduce the risk of default or support programs directly.

The February 2009 “Stimulus Bill” included funding for state energy offices that could be used to create clean energy revolving loan funds that could employ mechanisms like PACE.

Federal credit support could reduce interest rates for municipal bonds by reducing lenders’ risks, making the program more cost-effective for property owners. In the House of Representatives, a bill by Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), H.R. 3836, would provide such guarantees for financing programs like PACE. Comparable, though broader, legislation has been introduced in the Senate as S. 1574 by Senators Lugar (R-IN) and Merkley (D-OR).

The Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA), proposed in both the House and Senate energy bills currently pending in Congress, is not specifically directed to support PACE bonds, but could be used to provide credit support or even, plausibly, to issue such loans itself.