Green-financing suspension hits SF programs 

The suspension of green financing programs across the nation is truly having a ripple effect. The California Energy Commission has dumped its plans to award local cities and counties money to support Property-Assessed Clean Energy programs, known as PACE. The commission just canceled a request for $30 million that would have gone toward supporting PACE programs in 23 counties and 184 cities, including San Francisco.

It’s not that the commission doesn’t support these programs, which help residents and businesses pay for “greening” their property; it is simply responding to the recent “roadblocks” initiated by the Federal Housing and Financing Authority. The commission noted that the money could be better spent on other energy-efficient programs right now.

“This action is necessary to expand the financial options available to local governments to achieve residential energy efficiency retrofits,” said Karen Douglas, chair of the California Energy Commission.

PACE financing has been recognized throughout the nation as a potential breakthrough financing option that allows building owners to fund permanent energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy improvements through voluntary assessments paid with their property taxes.

However, on July 6, the FHFA directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to take punitive actions against homeowners who live in communities that participate in PACE financing programs. California Attorney General Jerry Brown has since sued.

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Erin Sherbert

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