By Grey Lee
We gathered to hear about Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. John Dalzell of the Boston Redevelopment Authority MC'd the event.
National Grid sponsored the event and it was great to see Mark Stafford, who manages the Architects & Engineers Program, chime in on the benefits of PACE finance. Thank you again, National Grid!
Senator Brian A. Joyce kicked off the program describing to us his Bill S.177 – Fueling Jobs through Energy Efficiency – which is essentially PACE enabling legislation for Massachusetts. We all have to get behind this bill to help move it through the Statehouse and help make more clean energy (and associated jobs) grow in Massachusetts. Thank you Senator, and your staff, for attending and helping MA stay a leader in cleantech, renewables, and energy efficiency.
Our Keynote speaker was Genevieve Sherman from Connecticut's Commercial and Industrial PACE at the state's Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA). She had a brilliant presentation describing the ins and outs of setting up a PACE financing entity or authority, as they have in CT, and what it means for investment parties and municipalities. PACE finance enables a property owner to create a debt instrument for an affixed asset or capital improvement, which will enhance the energy performance of the building. The debt of which will reside in a place subordinate to municipal property leins, but superior to traditional commercial mortgage debt. The financing authority in CT enables projects that we will be posting in the presentation here soon.
We were at Atlantic Wharf – the Fort Point Room – with about 57 attendees from all ends of the green & clean energy sector. Many of our members such as John DiModica (NORESCO), Matt Shortsleeve (Mercury Solar), Suzanne Abbott (Chapter Sponsoring Partner: Vidaris), Martine Dion (Chapter Sponsoring Partner: SMMA), and Jennifer Taranto (Chapter Sponsoring Partner: Structure Tone). Many future members and sponsoring partners were also in attendance!
After Genvieve's great presentation, we turned to a panel of experts from the field. Ward Strosser from ConEdison Solutions moderated the group, which included Shawn Hesse (emersionDesign), Nalin Kulatilaka (BU School of Mgmt), Jeffery Lessard (Cushman & Wakefield) and Genevieve Sherman. Shawn described the opportunity to fund large projects as the instrument that enables long-term thinking, which could lead to aggressive Net Zero projects. Nalin described how PACE enables owners to spread out the risk in a project, which should be much more exciting to institutional investors. Jeff Lessard wanted us to make sure we promote this to large property management companies, like his and his competitors, who have millions of square feet under their responsibility. This would help PACE financing create many new opportunities for cleantech and efficiency plays related to the business model and not just the real estate. Ward Strosser chimed in to stress the potential for these investments to help attract & retain younger talent who want to see their employers walking the talk on going green and sustainability in general.
This was a very informative program and we expect to follow up with more programming related to existing buildings and the economics of green buildings in the months to come.
The program was produced by Dennis Walsh in association with the Chapter and the City of Boston – BRA & Greenovate Boston – and couldn't have been possible without the participation of the many excellent speakers in attendance. See you next time!
Below: Grey Lee (USGBC MA), Brad Swing (City of Boston), Brian A. Joyce (MA State Senate – Avon), and John Dalzell (Boston Redevelopment Authority)
Travis Sheehan (Ecodistricts Fellow, City of Boston), Genevieve Sherman (CT CEFIA), John DiModica (NORESCO), and Ward Strosser (ConEdison Solutions)