Newsletter: House Passes Package Allowing Local Governments to Use Lease-Purchase Agreements for Energy Conservation

This newsletter was originally published on December 11, 2015.

House Passes Package Allowing Local Governments to Use Lease-Purchase Agreements for Energy Conservation

While no outcome is yet known on a possible energy overhaul package dealing with the Renewable Portfolio and Energy Optimization Standards, a package just passed the House this week allowing local units of government to use new financing towards efficiency projects.

House Bills 4990 to 4994 make changes to several existing state laws, allowing local units of government to use lease-purchase agreements to towards “energy conservation” efforts. Unlike traditional lease contracts, lease-purchase agreements allow the local unit of government to own to the improvements when the lease is signed. Therefore, the interest paid is not taxed, allowing for lower interest costs than traditional financing methods. The payment obligations are limited to the current operating budget and are therefore not deemed a long-term debt obligation of the local unit.

The legislation expands local governments abilities to conserve energy to include improvements to ventilation, information technology and municipal utility structure. The legislation is now in the Senate Local Government Committee.


Michigan Energy News

Mlive has a piece on the utility-backed group, Citizens for Michigan’s Energy Future, and the ads they have been running on HB 4298 and SB 497, the proposed bills changing retail open access.

Midwest Energy News has a piece on the economic effects of clean energy policies, featuring Michigan EIBC member OU Inc’s Director, Amy Butler.

Second Wave Media has a story on three successful Michigan advanced energy companies, including member company Toggled.

The Ann Arbor News has a story on Ann Arbor City Council adopting a resolution that calls for the increase of the renewable portfolio standard to 30 percent by 2030.

Utility Dive has a story about the Michigan Agency for Energy continuing to develop a state implementation plan for the Clean Power Plan while Attorney General Bill Schuette sues the EPA.

Crain’s Detroit Business has a piece on DTE getting their 5.3 percent rate increase approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

WKAR has a story about Lansing Board of Water and Light’s plans to build the largest solar array in the state.

Electric Co-Ops Today has a story about a deal between Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative and Exelon Generation, tripping their renewable portfolio to 30 percent.

Second Wave Media also has a story about the success of energy management and efficiency businesses.


National/Global Energy News

The Paris Climate Summit is being extended with the hopes of passing a resolution that will make serious efforts to move towards a more advanced energy future.

The Charlotte Business Journal has a piece on the business presence within the Paris Climate talks, showing corporate leadership in the purchase of advanced energy.

The Hill has a piece on a possible congressional compromise, lifting the oil export ban with the extension of the PTC and ITC.

The Christian Science Monitor has a story about the virtuous cycle of carbon reduction pledges, and how it leads to increased use of advanced energy.

Utility Dive has a feature on the factors that make renewables cost-competitive with conventional, including the ITC and PTC.

Standford released a study comparing California, Texas and Germany’s energy markets as it relates to advanced energy.

Michigan Energy Events
Save the Date: Michigan EIBC is partnering with a number of other organizations for a Corporate Pathways to Renewable Energy conference on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 in Detroit. Additional details and speakers will be released soon

Additional Resources 
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is home to PowerSuite, a suite of tools that allows companies a one-stop on-line portal to search, track, and collaborate on state legislation and regulatory proceedings from around the country.
PowerSuite includes both BillBoard, the AEE dashboard for managing state legislation, and DocketDash, the AEE dashboard for managing state public utility commission proceedings. Subscription required. is a national solar permitting database that provides information on permitting for solar in jurisdictions across the country. The database includes a variety of information, from average permit turnaround times, to information required to be included in the permit, to contact information for individual jurisdictions. You can browse the requirements for the Michigan cities included in the database here.
The U.S. Department of Energy is offering A Guide to Federal Finance Facilities Available for Energy Efficiency Upgrades and Clean Energy Deployment. The downloadable guide provides information about the various federal financing programs available for energy efficiency and renewable energy — making it easier for state, local and tribal leaders, along with their partners in the private sector, to find capital for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
The Department of Energy has offers free public access to accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts or published scientific journal articles from projects funded by the DOE within 12 months of publication.