Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chance: Senate Passes Energy Savings Performance Contracts

Today the Georgia Senate voted in favor of a Constitutional Amendment that would allow multiyear performance contracts for energy efficient or conservation improvement projects. Sen. Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone) sponsored Senate Resolution 1231 allowing Energy Saving Performance Contracts (ESPC) if approved by Georgia citizens on the November 2010 ballot.

“Key areas of job creation are in engineering, electrical, construction and HVAC – all areas that have been hit hard by the recession. If we authorize ESPCs via a Constitutional Amendment, then we could see a substantial amount of economic activity beginning in early 2011, with total numbers easily reaching the hundreds of millions,” said Chance.

Performance contracts would allow state agencies to divert funds that would normally be spent on utility bills into building improvements that lower energy consumptions. This would create jobs and lower energy costs at the same time. Some provisions in the Georgia Constitution ban multiyear contracts and prevent the state from partnering with private companies. Georgia is one of the few states in the nation that have these restrictions.

ESPCs allow the state to fast track energy saving improvements to buildings it already owns. Without ESPCs, building improvements must be made using cash or general obligation debt, which slows down the process, wastes energy and diverts funds from other critical needs. ESPCs help install such technologies as efficient HVAC, low consumption lighting, geothermal energy systems, solar energy systems, and other energy conservation innovations.

The bill passed by a vote of 47-3. Because this is a Constitutional Amendment, the bill must now pass the Georgia House by a two-thirds vote before going on the November 2010 ballot.

Sen. Ronnie Chance serves as Chairman of the Finance Committee. He represents the 16th Senate District which includes Lamar and Pike counties and portions of Fayette, Monroe and Spalding counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.651.7738 or via e-mail at ronnie.chance@senate.ga.gov.
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