You are here: Home The Sustainable Cities & Counties Blog Topics 30-Second Guidance
Personal tools

30-Second Guidance

Identifying Seed Money for Your Revolving Energy Fund

by Missy Stults Jul 20, 2009

30-Second Guidance IconRevolving energy funds REFs provide a unique opportunity for municipalities to guarantee a continual stream of funds for energy efficiency, conservation, and clean energy work without tapping into existing capital cycles. REFs utilize a sum of money that is loaned out to qualified applicants and replenished via loan and interest (if relevant) repayments.

While the idea of a self-perpetuating energy fund may be appealing, initial financing for the fund can prove to be a significant hurdle. Experience has shown, however, that this hurdle can be overcome through a combination of both creative and traditional financing structures. From existing REFs, we know that unique financial opportunities in municipalities are one of the most common ways REF capital is obtained.

Many existing REFs have capitalized on opportunities such as a budget surplus, cost reductions from competitive bidding on energy-related products or services, or already achieved energy savings from existing efficiency projects as the initial seed capital for their REFs. Other REFs are funded through direct allocation of internal municipal funds thanks to a prioritization of sustainability within the municipality. We also know that most existing REFs use a combination of funding sources and grow the fund through annual investments over a period of time.

It is also important to remember that the success of your REF is not directly proportional to your initial seed money. This is epitomized in the REF currently in operation in Phoenix, Arizona, which was established with a small pot of start-up capital, and now achieves annual energy savings of over $1 million.

To learn more about REFs, view ICLEI’s Revolving Energy Fund Guide (members only).

Read more »

How to Avoid Double-Counting in Your Greenhouse Gas Inventory

by Xico Manarolla Jul 19, 2009

30-Second Guidance IconLocal governments conducting a greenhouse gas inventory frequently raise the issue of double-counting their emissions. For example, if your jurisdiction owns its own municipal power plant, you could easily double-count by including in your inventory the emissions associated with the power generation (at the source) and the power consumption (e.g., by buildings).

The Local Government Operations Protocol provides a straightforward solution to avoid double-counting: Itemize your emissions sources into one of three scopes or as an information item.

Scope 1: Direct Emissions
Direct GHG emissions are emissions from sources within the local government's organizational boundary that the local government owns or controls.  These emissions are divided into stationary combustion mobile combustion, process emissions from physical or chemical processing and other fuel combustion and fugitive emissions from refrigerants, fire suppressants, transportation and distribution losses and storage of fuels and other substances.

Scope 2: Indirect Emissions
Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the consumption of purchased or acquired electricity, steam, heating or cooling.

Scope 3: Other Indirect Emissions
Scope 3 emissions are emissions of potential policy relevance to local government operations that can be measured and reported but do not qualify as Scope 1 or 2.  This includes, but is not limited to, municipally generated solid waste, outsourced operations and employee commute.

Information Items
Information items are emissions sources that do not fall into Scope 1, 2 or 3 but that are relevant to report even though they are not typically rolled-up into numbers representing total local government emissions.  Information Items include:

  • Carbon Offsets Retired (CO2e)
  • Carbon Offsets Generated or Sold (CO2e)
  • Renewable Energy Certificates Retired (MWh)
  • Percentage of Total Electricity Use Offset by green Power (%)
  • Renewable Energy Certificates Generated or Sold (MWh)
  • CO2 from Biogenic Sources (CO2)

For more details on emissions scopes, view the Protocol or ICLEI’s CACP 2009 User Guide (members only).

For information on how to avoid double-counting in an aggregate sum of your emissions (rollup number), see ICLEI’s guidance in Appendix C of the Protocol.

Read more »

Assessing Local Green Jobs Opportunities

by Don Knapp Jul 15, 2009

30-Second Guidance IconBefore a local government charges ahead to develop a green jobs plan, it’s important to get a sense of the local potential for green job growth and development. Understanding the scope of green job opportunities will determine the scale of your green jobs effort.

  • Understand the broader political context. Make sure to review state and federal legislation to understand how policies focusing on green initiatives, energy use or climate change might impact your local green economy and the ease of implementing green jobs programs.
  • Obtain local green jobs forecasting data. Work with your local MPO or COG, economic development agency and state department of labor to find out if any reports have been performed that assess the green jobs development potential in your com­munity. If not, consider working with these entities to fund such a study.
  • Inventory existing training and education programs. Work with your educational andGuide to Green Jobs Development thumb workforce training organizations to identify the education and job training programs that already exist within the locality. Determine their capacity to develop skills in particular job sectors. In addition to investigating programs at educational and vocational institutions, also be sure to survey an apprenticeship programs run by local governments, local utilities, and unions. Use this exercise to help determine whether existing instructional programs can be modified to fit green jobs requirements and note which might need to be retooled.

Want to read two more tips for assessing local green jobs opportunities? View page 10 of ICLEI’s Guide to Green Jobs Development.

Read more »