Status: SENATE: INTERIM STUDY (Details)
Length: 2598 words.
Revisions of this bill in our system:
|Public hearing:||(unscheduled)||2010-02-18 00:00:00|
SB 393-FN-A – AS INTRODUCED
SENATE BILL 393-FN-A
This bill establishes a New Hampshire sustainable energy loan fund (SELF) financing program.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Ten
AN ACT establishing a New Hampshire sustainable energy loan fund (SELF) financing program.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Legislative Findings. The legislature finds and declares that promoting widespread dissemination of energy conservation and sustainable energy technologies represents a clear and cost-effective strategy for communities in New Hampshire to curtail the emission of greenhouse gases and harmful air contaminants, reduce dependence on fossil fuels that are imported from out of state, redirect the money spent on fossil fuels back into the local economy, lower housing costs, support community development, stimulate economic development in the growing energy services and sustainable energy industries, and create green jobs to sustain and enhance our economy. These jobs will provide meaningful employment opportunities for displaced workers, the long-term unemployed, and new workforce entrants. Installation of energy efficiency improvements to reduce the loss or waste of energy and the installation of demand-side, cost-effective sustainable energy generation systems can often generate sufficient energy savings to allow residential, commercial, and industrial consumers to pay for these improvements entirely through energy savings over a reasonable period of time. Lack of affordable and accessible financing for many property owners, however, has hindered progress in fully realizing the promise of these technologies and building improvements. Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature to enact a “New Hampshire sustainable energy loan fund (“SELF) financing” program to support cost-effective, energy-efficient, and sustainable energy retrofits, with potentially no initial cost to property owners, enabling the retrofit of thousands of structures in New Hampshire and creating thousands of new green jobs.
2 New Chapter; New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Loan Fund Financing Program. Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 374-G the following new chapter:
NEW HAMPSHIRE SUSTAINABLE ENERGY LOAN FUND
374-H:1 Short Title. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “New Hampshire SELF financing act of 2009.”
374-H:2 Definitions. In this chapter:
I. “Applicant” means a person who owns, leases, or manages a structure and who has the authority to contract for the provision of qualified energy efficiency improvements and/or sustainable energy generation systems to such structure.
II. “Commission” means the public utilities commission.
III. “Distribution utility” means any gas or electric corporation providing gas or electricity to end use consumers that is a public utility company, including a municipality.
IV. “Eligible project” means qualified energy efficiency improvements or qualified sustainable energy generation system installations for any New Hampshire structure.
V. “Energy assessment” means a formal evaluation, conducted pursuant to standards established by the program administrator, of:
(a) A structure’s energy consumption; and
(b) An evaluation of how much energy may be saved by making improvements to the structure through one or more methods, and/or the cost-effectiveness of the implementation of sustainable energy generation systems based on the energy savings that could be achieved.
VI. “New Hampshire SELF financing revolving loan fund” or “SELF financing fund” means
the revolving loan fund established in RSA 374-H:7.
VII. “Program” means the New Hampshire SELF financing program created by this chapter.
VIII. “Program administrator” means the sustainable energy division of the commission, or the government agency selected by the advisory council or its designee, responsible for administering the program’s implementation and operations.
IX. “Qualified energy efficiency improvements” means a modification to a structure, based on recommendations contained in an energy assessment performed under the program, or as otherwise approved by the program administrator, which is consistent with standards established by the program administrator, that will increase the energy efficiency and conservation of an existing structure, including but not limited to:
(a) Application of weatherstripping, caulking, sealant, and other materials around doors, windows, and other areas of a building for the purpose of insulating or sealing openings in the building envelope and within the building to mitigate energy loss;
(b) Testing, repairing, and replacing heating or cooling systems or components of such systems;
(c) Thermostat upgrades;
(d) Water heater repair and replacement;
(e) Roof, chimney, fireplace, and roof vent repair, insofar as such repairs are determined by an energy assessment to be necessary to mitigate energy loss or resolve energy-system related health and safety issues;
(f) Repair and replacement of storm windows, permanent (prime) windows, and exterior doors;
(g) Repair or replacement of major household appliances;
(h) Installation of thermal solar heat or hot water systems;
(i) Addition of insulation to exterior walls, ceilings, or floors;
(j) Replacement of inefficient light bulbs, lighting fixtures, and control systems;
(k) Minor repairs that are necessary to ensure maximum efficiency from the provision of qualified energy efficiency improvements;
(1) Installation of carbon monoxide detectors and indoor environmental testing and mitigation deemed necessary as a result of the provision of other qualified energy efficiency improvements; and
(m) Fuel switching to convert an electrically-heated building to a more efficient heating source, provided that significant energy cost-savings can be demonstrated pursuant to standards established by the program administrator.
X. “Qualified sustainable energy generation systems” means the installation of electric or thermal sustainable energy generation capacity on the applicant’s side of a utility meter for the purpose of producing energy for the applicant’s building. Qualified sustainable energy generation systems does not include any generation capacity that could produce energy in excess of the energy consumption of the applicant’s structure on an annual basis, although it may exceed the needs of the building on a monthly basis for some months.
XI. “Sustainable energy” means sustainable energy as defined by RSA 125:O-3, IX-a.
374-H:3 Purpose. There is hereby established a New Hampshire SELF financing program. The
purpose of the program is to:
I. Promote energy efficiency, energy conservation, and the installation of sustainable energy technologies;
II. Reduce energy consumption and energy costs;
III. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
IV. Support sustainable community development;
V. Create green job opportunities, including opportunities for new entrants into the state’s workforce, the long-term unemployed, and displaced workers; and
VI. Use innovative financing mechanisms to finance energy efficiency improvements and demand-side, sustainable energy generation systems through energy cost savings.
374-H:4 Administration by the Program Administrator.
I. Within 3 months of the effective date of this chapter, the program administrator shall establish and administer the New Hampshire SELF financing program. The program administrator shall implement the program in consultation with the office of energy and planning, the department of environmental services, the department of resources and economic development, and the office of the state treasurer.
II. The program administrator shall:
(a) Use moneys made available for the program pursuant to RSA 374-H:7 to achieve the purposes of the program;
(b) Enter into contracts with other entities through the competitive contracts process authorized in RSA 374-H:5;
(c) Enter into contracts with one or more program implementers to perform such functions as the program administrator deems appropriate; and
(d) Exercise such other powers as are necessary for the proper administration of the program.
374-H:5 Competitive Contracts.
I. The program administrator shall issue one or more requests for proposal to solicit applications from entities willing and able to promote the program to the different market segments the program is intended to serve.
II. The program administrator shall specifically solicit applications that propose to demonstrate the feasibility of innovative financing mechanisms, including but not limited to applications whereby the distribution utilities provide on-bill financing across all customer segments, where the loan is assigned to the meter, and not to the applicant, and the program provides a guaranty against losses on the loan backed by the funds in the SELF financing fund.
III. The program administrator may consult with other New Hampshire state agencies in making any determinations authorized by this section.
374-H:6 Energy Assessments.
I. The program shall make available to applicants who are eligible to apply for financial assistance under this chapter, energy assessments performed using tools and methods consistent with the standards approved by the program administrator.
II. The program administrator shall establish standards for energy assessments based on building type, improvements being evaluated, and standard forecast assumptions determined by the program administrator and approved by the advisory board.
III. If the applicant pursues eligible projects identified through the energy assessment, the program administrator shall offer an applicant the ability to finance the cost of an energy assessment to the degree that the total energy savings expected over lifetimes of the improvements exceed the cost of the energy assessment plus the cost of the improvements implemented.
374-H:7 New Hampshire SELF Financing Revolving Loan Fund; Loans.
I. There is hereby established in the office of the state treasurer a New Hampshire sustainable energy revolving loan fund. In addition to providing a source of financing for the program’s loans, the SELF financing fund may be used to establish a loan loss reserve to guaranty against losses of the revolving loan fund should demand for the program’s loans require the raising of additional funding through the capital markets. The fund shall be nonlapsing, continually appropriated to the program administrator, and consist of:
(a) All moneys made available for the purpose of the revolving loan fund pursuant to this chapter;
(b) Payments of principal and interest payments made pursuant to loan or financing agreements entered into with the program administrator or its designee pursuant to this section; and
(c) Any interest earned by the investment of the moneys in the revolving loan fund.
II. In administering the program, the program administrator shall:
(a) Use monies made available for the revolving loan fund to achieve the purposes of this chapter, including but not limited to making loans available for eligible projects;
(b) Enter into contracts with one or more program implementers to perform such functions as the program administrator deems appropriate; and
(c) Exercise such other powers as are necessary for the proper administration of the program.
III. The program administrator shall provide financial assistance in the form of loans for the performance of qualified energy efficiency improvements and the installation of qualified sustainable energy generation systems for eligible projects on terms and conditions established by the program administrator and approved by the advisory council. The loans made by the program administrator pursuant to this section shall be subject to the following limitations:
(a) Loan amounts shall not exceed the expected energy savings generated by the eligible projects over the expected useful lifetimes of the qualified energy efficiency improvements and/or of the qualified sustainable energy generation systems;
(b) Eligible projects shall meet cost effectiveness standards developed by the program administrator;
(c) Loans shall not be for less than $500; and
(d) Loans shall be at interest rates determined by the program administrator and approved by the advisory council to be no higher than necessary to make the provision of the program feasible and sustainable and shall not be based on the credit rating of the applicant.
IV. In determining whether to make a loan and the amount of any loan that is made, the program administrator may consider whether the applicant or borrower has received, or is eligible to receive, financial assistance and other incentives from any other source for the qualified energy improvements which would be the subject of the loan. The amount eligible to be financed through this program shall reflect the balance due after all such subsidies, rebates, credits, or other form of financial assistance have been taken into consideration.
V. Applications for financial assistance pursuant to this section shall be reviewed and evaluated by the program administrator or its designee pursuant to eligibility and qualification requirements and criteria established by this act and any additional criteria defined by the program administrator and approved by the advisory council. The program administrator shall establish standards for qualified energy improvements, sustainable energy generation systems and the measurement and verification of energy savings. Such standards shall meet or exceed the standards used by the program administrator or the commission for similar programs in existence on the effective date of this section.
VI. Upon approval of a loan, the program administrator may choose to reimburse the fee for any energy assessment to an applicant if the applicant can provide proof that the applicant has already paid for the energy assessment and it qualifies for financing authorized in 374-H:6.
374-H:8 Advisory Council.
I. There is established a New Hampshire SELF financing advisory council to advise the program administrator on the creation and implementation of the program. The council shall consist of:
(a) The chairman of the commission, the state treasurer, the commissioner of the department of resources and economic development, the commissioner of the department of environmental services, or the designees of such persons; and
(b) Representatives of the construction industry, the building systems and controls industries, the energy services industries, the sustainable energy generation industries, and municipal finance experts, designated by the governor.
(c) Representatives of the applicant communities and market segments, such as the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, the Office of Consumer Advocate, the Retail Merchants Association, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, the New Hampshire Community Action Agencies, the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, and the Community Development Finance Authority, designated by the governor.
II. The chairman of the advisory council shall be elected as the chair of the council at the first meeting, which will be called within 45 days of the passage of this legislation.
374-H:9 Annual Reporting.
I. No later than December 1, 2010 and December 1 of each year thereafter, the chairman of the advisory council shall issue an annual report to the governor, concerning the activities related to the New Hampshire SELF financing program established pursuant to this chapter.
II. Such report shall include, but not be limited to, the following information regarding the status of the activities and outcomes related to the program, including:
(a) The number and type of applications reviewed.
(b) Any contracts entered into relating to the program.
(c) The geographic areas served.
(d) The amount of financing provided to applicants.
(e) The expected energy savings financed.
(f) The amount and nature of the costs incurred by the program administrator for administering the program.
(g) The number of jobs created.
(h) The overall effectiveness of the program.
(i) Any recommendations for program improvements.
374-H:10 Funds: Administration, Evaluation and Coordination.
I. The program administrator may accept, as agent of the state, any gift, grant, devise, or bequest, whether conditional or unconditional, including but not limited to federal grants, and to use monies made available for the program from any public or private source, for the purpose of implementing the components of the program as set forth in this chapter.
II. The program administrator may recover from the moneys made available for the program its own necessary and documented costs incurred in administering the program and evaluating the effectiveness of the program, provided, however, the sum that may be recovered for the program administrator’s administrative costs shall not exceed, without prior approval of the New Hampshire SELF financing advisory council, 10 percent of the moneys made available for the program, and the sum that may be recovered for the program administrator’s evaluation costs shall not exceed 5 percent of the moneys made available for the program.
3 Funding through the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Fund. The public utilities commission shall deposit into the New Hampshire SELF financing fund, at a minimum, 50 percent of the moneys from the future regional greenhouse gas initiative auction proceeds that are deposited into the greenhouse gas emissions reduction fund, and at least $10 million in the first year after this act is effective.
4 New Subparagraph; Special Fund. Amend RSA 6:12, I(b) by inserting after subparagraph (299) the following new subparagraph:
(300) Moneys deposited in New Hampshire SELF financing revolving loan fund under RSA 374-H:7 21
5 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
SB 393-FN-A - FISCAL NOTE
AN ACT establishing a New Hampshire sustainable energy loan fund (SELF) financing program.
The Office of Legislative Budget Assistant is unable to complete a fiscal note for this bill as it is awaiting information from the Public Utilities Commission. When completed, the fiscal note will be forwarded to the Senate Clerk's Office.