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Longhorn State Eyes Energy Efficiency

We usually equate Texas with Big Oil, but soon we may be equating with clean energy because not only is Texas the biggest oil producer in the US, its main energy producer uses more energy than any other state.

So now, to meet growing demand, Texas is eyeing energy efficiency programs.

In mid-June, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed legislation that will allow local government entities across Texas to enact clean energy programs.

“We’re such a big energy user. That means our opportunity to be efficient is huge as well,” Kip Averitt, a former Republican state senator promoting the governor’s effort, told reporters.

The initiative--Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)--plans to increase energy and water efficiency upgrades which could improve state’s conservation record and render the Big Oil state a model for other states.

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Through the commercial program, local business owners can finance a permanent conservation improvement to an existing building—like installing solar panels--through a low-interest, voluntarily assumed assessment that it pays through a local governmental entity.

PACE allows commercial and industrial building owners to finance water conservation and energy-efficient upgrades to existing property with long-term loans repaid through local taxing districts under voluntary property taxes, according to the New York Times.

The Texas Association of Manufacturers is also backing the plan because it could spur investments that could help his group’s 450 businesses cut costs.

A PACE system that targeted residences was created in 2009, but federal lending authorities didn’t support the program for homes, so nothing much came of it. Now it’s got a new lease on life, with state authorities taking responsibility and signing off on the program officially.

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Texas has been ranked 8th among states in terms of clean energy and clean transportation jobs announced during the second quarter of this year.

The idea is taking shape across the US, with businesses and communities unveiling 58 such projects countrywide this quarter. The initiative could create over 38,000 jobs.

For now, Texas accounts for 2,000 of that job total, while California takes the top spot, with 12 clean energy and clean transportation projects that could generate close to 10,000 jobs.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com


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