1) Mar 29 -- Notice of Request for Information (RFI) on Designing Equitable, Sustainable, and Effective Revolving Loan Fund Programs
This request for information is intended to inform the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on promising, innovative, and best practices for designing revolving loan funds (RLFs). DOE is seeking to create program guidance that will assist States, as well as potentially other entities, in designing, managing, and improving RLFs. The goal is to collect information that will ultimately support creation of RLFs that effectively serve a wide array of borrowers with beneficial energy efficiency products and services and enable private sector capital to scale access to energy efficiency financing. Responses to the RFI must be received by no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on May 6th, 2022.
On November 15, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA; Public Law 117-58), which appropriated $250 million to DOE to make funds available to States to implement energy efficiency revolving loan fund capitalization grant programs (Sec. 40502, or 42 U.S.C. 18792). These capitalization grants enable States to establish a RLF to provide loans and provide grants for commercial and residential energy audits, energy upgrades, and retrofits among other activities. Many States have experience running RLFs, such as through use of funds made available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law No. 111-5). The IIJA offers a new opportunity to support establishment of new RLFs where they do not currently exist, or to augment and diversify offerings of existing RLFs. Section 40502 of the IIJA offers States flexibility in designing and implementing these RLFs, within limits set by the statute and the Secretary of Energy.
DOE's Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office, in coordination with DOE's Building Technologies Office, seeks input on promising, innovative, and best practices for designing RLFs from private lenders, investors, labor groups, community development organizations, environmental justice organizations, disadvantaged communities, States, local governments, and other energy system stakeholders. Pursuant to the implementation of section 40502 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Public Law 117-58, DOE is seeking to create program guidance that will assist States, as well as potentially other entities, in designing, managing, and improving RLFs. (42 U.S.C. 18792)
Responses from this RFI will be used to inform DOE's program support documentation to help States in creating, augmenting, or refining their RLFs to drive successful and equitable outcomes. This documentation may also be used to support States in drafting their applications to DOE or their own program design documentation.
In addition to providing written responses to this RFI, respondents may request a 30-minute individual discussion with an EERE staff member regarding the content of their written responses to the RFI questions. Similarly, if a respondent is unable to submit written responses, or would otherwise prefer to do so, they may request a 30-minute individual discussion with an EERE staff member to verbally provide responses to the RFI questions. If a respondent wishes to participate in an individual discussion for either of these reasons, please submit your request to EERevolvingLoanFund@ee.doe.gov and you will be contacted by an EERE staff member to schedule a time for the discussion. Requests for an individual discussion must be requested no later than 8:00pm (ET) on April 22, 2022.
2) Mar 31 -- Long-Term Performance of Energy Efficiency Loan Portfolios, produced by the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network, DOE, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a first-of-its kind study that confirms energy efficiency loans are generally low risk, have historically been repaid at a high rate, and perform well compared to other asset classes. The study also highlights the opportunities for financial institutions to support the transition to a cleaner, more efficient building stock. With states and local governments set to receive billions of dollars in funding for clean energy deployment under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this study reinforces the impact financial institutions will have as partners in retrofitting America’s building stock and the crucial role energy efficiency loans will play in cutting costs for American families and reaching President Biden’s net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
“Energy efficiency is the lowest cost clean energy resource we have,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “The findings in this study are a compelling invitation to financial institutions to invest with homeowners, states, and local governments to maximize clean energy deployment under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and beyond.”
The study, titled Long-Term Performance of Energy Efficiency Loan Portfolios, produced by the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network, DOE, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows energy efficiency loan performance compares favorably to other asset classes, like prime auto loans. The study also informs a long-standing barrier of access to credit for energy efficiency improvements among low-income and underserved communities. Specifically, the study finds that high-credit borrowers repay loans at a strong rate. The findings should signal to financial institutions that they can benefit from investments in energy efficiency and help to increase access to low-cost capital for disadvantaged communities.
While the performance of energy efficiency lending has generally been understood to be strong, the data from this study significantly expands the volume and sophistication of public evidence. The report analyzed over 50,000 residential energy efficiency loans from four large programs in Connecticut, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. Notably, three of these programs have track records of more than a decade.
3) Energy Efficiency Loan Performance Roundtable Discussion on April 7, 2022. The Roundtable will highlight opportunities for continued growth of energy efficiency lending to stimulate the transition to a cleaner, more efficient building stock, expand access to capital for disadvantaged communities, and maximize the impacts of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.