July 15, 2011 2:19 pm

Renewable Energy is Homeland Security


Renewable Energy is Homeland Security in more ways than the slogan suggests.

In addition to one day freeing ourselves from an over dependence on foreign oil, renewables provide job and environmental security as well.

In 2008 Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition C, Clean Energy Initiative, with a 66% “Yes” vote.  Last year the Missouri State Legislature passed and Governor Jay Nixon signed Missouri PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) enabling legislation.

Both measures are now under attack.  Our friends at Renew Missouri ask for our help in the appeal below.

Please take action.  Renewable Energy=Less Coal Ash.

Renewable Energy Activists,

There are three very hot issues right now we’d like you to act on: Missouri’s solar rebate program is in jeopardy, the PACE program has a chance to be freed of its federal muzzle, and a call for volunteers to help with a signature-gathering effort this fall to go back to the ballot with a new Renewable Energy Initiative.

Prop C Solar Rebates:

On June 29th, Cole County Circuit Court ruled that the $2 per watt solar rebate which investor-owned utilities are required to administer as a result of the Prop C ballot initiative in 2008 is “unlawful and unconstitutional”.

We disagree with this ruling and are currently rallying to overturn the decision. The Public Service Commission voted on Wednesday to appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court, and Attorney General Chris Koster decided this week that he will intervene in the case.  His decision is an extremely important one and a brave political move.  Standing up for Missouri citizens and renewable energy against the powerful utility companies is the right thing to do, and we applaud both the PSC and the Attorney General for fighting to protect the law Missouri voters created.

The Prop C solar rebate jumpstarted Missouri’s solar energy industry and has created jobs and solar installations in homes and businesses across the state.  If the solar rebates go away it could cost our state jobs in one of the few growing industries and be a huge step backwards in our goal of clean energy.

Call to Action: Please email Attorney General Koster’s office today at: attorney.general@ago.mo.gov

And thank him for intervening on behalf of Missouri citizens in the solar rebate case 10AC-CC00528.  Ask his office for a “stay” on the judgment so the solar rebates remain in place during the appeal process.  If this doesn’t occur – if the rebates are instead “put on hold” while the PSC and AG’s office fights to appeal the court’s poor ruling – it would deal a devastating blow to the 35+ solar companies operating in Missouri, and the over 150 employees and their families working in the solar industry in Missouri today.

Tell him that a strong solar industry, clean air, and a diverse energy portfolio benefit all Missourians.

PACE Action in Washington DC:

Remember PACE, the innovative local energy financing program that allows municipalities to issue bonds to pay all the up-front costs of renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades for homes and businesses?  Well, it ran into a roadblock last year when Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac announced that they wouldn’t approve home loans for houses participating in PACE programs.

Renewable energy and energy efficiency advocates have been working for the last year to iron out this roadblock.  And now, Federal legislation is being introduced in Congress to fix the situation and allow PACE programs to move forward.

Will you send a quick email or make a phone call to the office of your U.S. Congressperson?

Call to Action: Please click this link to send an email to your US Congressperson asking them to co-sponsor this critical PACE saving legislation.

The “PACE Assessment Protection Act of 2011” addresses potential concerns by establishing strict underwriting criteria and lender protections.  It guarantees that PACE assessments will only be allowed for credit-worthy participants, and that improvements must be revenue positive.  Missouri’s PACE law already has these protections essentially in place, so the effect of the federal law will be to address Freddy Mae and Fannie Mac’s concerns, and allow Missouri’s PACE law to work.  Details here.     

We know that the PACE program works: jurisdictions with PACE programs report higher construction and green job activity (Links here, here (pdf), and here).

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