States also continued to focus on financing energy efficiency improvements and programs, with at least nine states enacting bills on the topic. A number of states, including Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia, enacted legislation amending their Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) laws, authorizing local governments to provide financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements that the building owner repays through property tax assessments.
- Illinois’ HB 3501 expands existing statutory definitions under the state’s PACE laws, including those related to energy efficiency improvements and alternative energy improvements, which include electric vehicle charging equipment. It also revises requirements for local government adoption of a PACE financing program and reporting.
- Nebraska enacted two bills related to its PACE laws. The first, Legislative Document 23, expands the definition of energy efficiency improvement under its PACE financing law to include cogeneration and trigeneration energy recovery systems and empowers local governments to waive certain third-party lender review requirements upon approval of a property owner’s request for waiver. The second, Legislative Document 124, creates new requirements for joint clean energy assessment districts formed by multiple municipalities.
- In Oklahoma, SB 1000 authorizes local governments to establish a PACE financing program and clarifies that exempt property under the state’s Energy Independence Act includes energy efficiency and building resiliency measures affixed to newly constructed or improved commercial buildings.
- Utah’s HB 433 extends the state's PACE laws to apply to the Utah Inland Port Authority.
- Virginia’s SB 1400 and SB 1559 make funding available under the state’s PACE financing laws for stormwater and water-management resiliency improvements respectively.
Additional funding-related efficiency bills enacted during the 2019 session include:
- Maine’s HB 307 removes restrictions on Maine Efficiency Trust’s use of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative funds for residential and commercial programs.
- Minnesota’s House File 2 establishes a new “Launch Minnesota” fund to support emerging tech businesses in a number of “high technology” areas including energy conservation and efficiency, renewable energy and environmental engineering among others.
- In New York, AB 1606 creates new tax exemptions for projects that incorporate energy efficiency, green technologies and resource conservation measures.
As states map out their energy future with a focus on reducing consumption and cutting carbon emissions, legislatures will continue to consider new laws that broadly support energy conservation, and target improving efficiency in high energy-demand systems, including buildings and appliances. State legislatures are also increasingly focused on ensuring that all residents have equal access to clean and efficient technologies, and we anticipate lawmakers will continue to consider such policies in the years to come.