Environmental Defense Fund and Citi Team Up to Host Major Energy Conference

Former CO Gov. Bill Ritter, CA State Sen. Kevin de León Headline Conference, Efforts to Develop Financing Solutions for Energy Efficiency Projects in California

February 28, 2013
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Media Contacts:
Joaquin McPeek, 916-492-7173, jmcpeek@edf.org
Tyler Daluz, 212-793-5234, tyler.b.daluz@citi.com 

(San Francisco, CA – February 28, 2013) Today, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) partnered with Citi to host “Innovations in Energy Efficiency and Distributed Generation Finance II,” a conference convening some of the utmost experts in the country to explore innovative ways to fund energy efficiency projects in California.

The capacity crowd saw keynote addresses from former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and California State Senator Kevin de León, and was further evidence of California’s leadership and commitment to energy efficiency from both the public and private sectors.

“California continues to take bold steps toward clean energy and provide the private sector with clear opportunities to invest in energy efficiency and renewables, a critical part to growing our nation’s economy. A key part of achieving our clean energy potential, and creating jobs in America, is ensuring access to quality financing for homes and businesses that want to participate in the new energy economy,” Mr. Ritter said.

Mr. Ritter served as Governor of Colorado from 2007 to 2011, and is currently the director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University. Their mission is to incorporate best practices from around the world to help guide our country to a more secure, sustainable and affordable energy future.

Sen. de León focused on SB 37, a key bill he currently authors that would establish a first-in-the nation On-Bill Repayment (OBR) program allowing consumers a creative way to save money and energy by financing energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy projects through their utility bills. “We need to continue with the bold action that has made California a leader in energy efficiency,” Sen. De León said. “This is a priority because it helps build an economy that is forward thinking.”

Using data from a 2009 McKinsey study, EDF estimates that there are at least $40 billion of investment opportunities for energy efficiency projects in commercial buildings in the U.S. alone that will provide annual returns in excess of 20 percent.

Despite this attractive potential, few of these projects are being funded. Today’s conference was designed to facilitate discussion of current and emerging innovative solutions, new partnerships, lessons from recent transactions and remaining obstacles to developing and scaling the market.

“Today marked an unprecedented opportunity to bring the energy efficiency and renewable energy industry together to build momentum and spur our economy. Judging by the broad coalition of private sector companies and public policy experts that participated in the conference, I’m confident we succeeded. Thanks to these efforts, California will continue to move forward on major energy efficiency projects and prove that sound environmental and economic policies go hand-in-hand,” said Brad Copithorne, Director of Clean Energy Financing Solutions for EDF.

Commissioner Mark Ferron of the California Public Utilities Commission discussed his hopes for the upcoming OBR program for commercial properties, for which EDF has been advocating. Numerous lenders, solar project developers and energy efficiency vendors discussed how they will use the OBR program to expand their businesses in California, which will create a robust marketplace for clean energy lending and save Californians money in the process.

"Energy efficiency projects are essential for boosting our nation's energy security, successfully combating climate change, reducing building operating costs for public and private entities and creating thousands of new green jobs," said Marshal Salant, Managing Director, Global Head of Alternative Energy Finance for Citi.

"Citi has been working diligently to broaden financing options for energy efficiency projects with our clients, local and federal government, and stakeholders such as Environmental Defense Fund. It's fitting to share some of the latest innovative solutions and ideas in San Francisco, California, a city and state committed to leading a sustainable, green U.S. economy."

Citi began pursuing efficiency nearly 10 years ago when it undertook an assessment of its own global energy usage and measures it could take to become more efficient. Today, Citi has set a goal to decrease absolute emissions globally 25 percent by 2015 from a 2005 baseline, and was the only bank to be named a ‘2011 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year’ by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

EDF continues its work to develop regulatory reforms and business models that make efficiency profitable and market-driven. This includes building a broad coalition to support and participation in OBR programs and exploring how organizations can overcome the challenges to clean energy financing and maximize the opportunities that are available for the economy, public health and our environment.

A full list of today’s speakers and activities can be found here.

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