Stacey Isaac Berahzer is a Senior Project Director for the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina, and works from a satellite office in Georgia.
We recently facilitated the first “Peer2Peer Exchange” where utility officials from ten of our partner water utilities on a Water Research Foundation project shared stories about their financial policies. To get discussions kicked off, we asked folks which came first, the “well-managed, financially sound utility” (the chicken) or the “financial policy” (the egg).
Dayne Batten is a Research Assistant for the EFC and second year MPA student at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Government.
NC Local governments surveyed indicated a diversity in policies, ranging from financial incentives for green building projects to regulations affecting alternative energy installations.
Alternative energy facilities, green site design features, and green building techniques (such as those required for LEED certification) are a promising way for citizens, businesses, and governments to minimize the environmental impacts of construction projects. Seizing on these opportunities for environmental responsibility, many local governments have provided incentive programs for green construction in their zoning ordinances. Other governments, seeking to walk a fine line between environmental friendliness and aesthetics, have regulated various features of alternative energy installations. But how many local governments are doing this? And what, specifically, are they doing?
Matt Harris is the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for the Environmental Finance Center. Adam Parker and Jeff Hughes wrote the paper referenced below, which is available on the Environmental Finance Center website at: http://efc.unc.edu/publications.html#PACE
While watching the presidential debate last night I was particularly struck by one contentious issue that surfaced as a sharp disconnect between the two candidates: the age-old debate between the role of federal government versus the role of state and local governments. Although not entirely surprising to see in a presidential race, the plea by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for states’ autonomy and President Barack Obama’s fierce defense of federal oversight sounded like two men on soap boxes at the turn of the nineteenth century, perhaps with anti-federalist and federalist papers respectively in hand. So it’s fitting to post today about a financial tool for clean energy that remains beholden to the variance in policy landscapes across states.
Guest author Peiffer Brandt is Chief Operating Officer at Raftelis Financial Consultants.
“With our concerted conservation efforts, our focus on local water supply development, and the recession . . . we’re selling a lot less water than we originally anticipated,” said Maureen Stapleton, General Manager of the San Diego County Water Authority on July 26th. This is by no means a challenge unique to San Diego County—trying economic times and declining per capita usage have required utilities across the country to take a number of steps to maintain financial sufficiency.
The Water Works Board of the City of Birmingham (Board) has been particularly successful in combatting these challenges through the use of financial goals and policies, which guide the financial operations of the utility. As noted in a previous post, there are a number of different approaches available to utilities. Implementing and following the policies described below has helped the Board to not only maintain financial sufficiency, but to improve its financial situation such that it received a ratings upgrade from Moody’s during nationally and regionally challenging financial times.