Senator Lawrence, Representative Berry, and distinguished members of the Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee. My name is David Costello. I am the Climate and Clean Energy Program Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), and I am testifying today in support of LD 340, An Act to Allow for the Establishment of Commercial Property Assessed Programs.
Reducing Building Sector Carbon Emissions Essential
Reducing Maine’s second largest source of carbon pollution, residential and commercial buildings, will require the continued tightening of appliance, lighting, and space-and water-heating systems standards and the implementation of stricter building codes. It will also require the State to dramatically scale up its incentives and funding for clean energy and energy efficiency improvements and facilitate a significant increase in the availability of private sector financing.
C-PACE: An Innovative Private Sector Financing Tool
The establishment of a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program would support a marked increase in the implementation of commercial clean energy and energy efficiency projects and improvements in Maine.
C-PACE would enable commercially owned properties to overcome the steep, upfront costs for such projects and improvements by utilizing private sector financing. This would be done through a property-assessed lien on the property. C-PACE would offer long-term financing that could cover 100 percent of the project cost and be repaid over a period from 15 to 30 years. Businesses would save more on their monthly utility bills than the costs of the financed improvements.
C-PACE payments would be structured as a regular line item on the property tax bill. When a property is sold, the C-PACE assessment can stay with the property and transfer to the new owner, who would enjoy the ongoing utility cost savings associated with the clean energy and energy efficiency improvements. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 30 states have adopted C-PACE-enabling legislation.
Vast Benefits for Maine Businesses and Communities
C-PACE Maine would help in reducing business costs, stimulating local economies, supporting hundreds of jobs, promoting business retention and expansion, upgrading building stock, improving property values, promoting energy conservation, strengthening resiliency, and aid the State in achieving Maine’s vital climate and clean energy goals.
Moreover, C-PACE would be entirely voluntary and would not rely on taxpayer funding, making it a great way to promote more sustainable economic development in Maine and making it a win-win program for all Maine businesses, communities, and residents.
For these reasons we urge the Committee to join NRCM in supporting this innovative clean energy financing mechanism. Thank you for your consideration, and I welcome any questions.