Governor McAuliffe signs Executive Order 36, creating Virginia’s first Green Community Program

Governor-McAuliffeGovernor McAuliffe today signed Executive Order 36, authorizing the creation of Virginia’s first Green Community Program to provide localities and the private sector with a low-cost financing tool to implement energy conservation projects in their communities and businesses.

Using the Commonwealth’s allocation of federal Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs), local governments and private businesses will be able to tap into low-interest rate bonds to finance conservation projects such as energy efficiency, energy performance contracting, alternative fuels measures, renewable generation, and environmental conservation measures.  In addition, EO36 re-allocates a portion of the QECBs directly to qualifying localities for use on energy conservation projects.

Speaking about Executive Order 36, Governor McAuliffe said, “QECBs are an attractive, low-cost financing tool for both the public and private sectors to increase energy efficiency in their facilities and realize energy savings on their bills. By providing technical assistance to localities and businesses through the Energy Division of the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Virginia can aggressively push for increased efficiency in all areas of the Commonwealth.”

The Executive Order was officially unveiled by Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones during the 2014 Governor’s Infrastructure Financing Conference in Roanoke.  In his remarks, Secretary Jones emphasized the Commonwealth’s role in ensuring that both the private and public sectors are actively reducing energy consumption and finding creative ways to upgrade aging infrastructure.

“In the tough economic times Virginia is currently facing, localities must find ways to maximize the efficiency of every dollar spent,” said Secretary of  Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “QECBs are a way to invest in needed infrastructure upgrades that can provide a return on investment in the form of lower energy costs and increased efficiency.”

Executive Order 36 takes three primary actions:

  • Instructs DMME to create a Green Community Program to provide the private sector and other interested public sector entities with the opportunity to utilize QECBs for energy conservation projects.
  • Reallocates to qualifying localities the locality portion of the QECBs.  Qualifying localities have a population at least 100,000, based on 2008 population data.
  • Creates a mechanism by which QECBs that are not used by qualifying localities within one year of issuance will revert to the state for issuance to any other locality in the Commonwealth that is interested in using them or has a need for additional allocation.

Additional information on Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds can be found here: http://energy.gov/eere/qualified-energy-conservation-bonds.