State and Local Climate and Energy Program
Assisting Local Governments
State and local governments throughout the country are expanding their climate change and clean energy initiatives in an effort to grow the economy, reap financial savings, and protect the environment.
State agencies are finding that assisting municipalities with efficiency and renewable energy strategies can increase cost-effective savings at the local level, as well as achieve goals at lower cost.
Benefits to States
For state agencies, launching partnerships and programs that target local governments can help to:
- Meet state greenhouse gas (GHG) goals and targets
- Expand clean energy market share
- Reach key sectors
- Identify local businesses
- Connect with local residents
- Initiate pilot projects
- Engage in on-the-ground public education
- Tap the clean energy potential that exists in local government facilities and operations
Benefits to Local Governments
Local governments can likewise benefit from partnering with state agencies. Areas for assistance include:
- Planning, implementing, and evaluating climate change and clean energy programs
- Identifying savings opportunities
- Leveraging resources and technical assistance
- Taking advantage of the technical and policy expertise of state staff and contractors
- Coordinating program delivery with other administrators (e.g., SEOs, utilities, other municipalities)
- Providing a stable funding source
State Actions to Assist Locals
States are taking numerous actions to assist local governments on climate change and clean energy. The examples listed here can be tailored to local circumstances and objectives:
- Create a statewide liaison to assist local governments in key areas (e.g., energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainability, and climate change programs).
- Provide resources to help locals develop financing strategies, including support for the expansion of property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs that fund energy efficiency through local bonds, and are repaid through property taxes.
- Establish a direct technical assistance program to help local governments develop and implement model climate change and clean energy programs and policies.
- Develop leadership recognition programs and other strategies for showcasing and rewarding success.
- Provide a bridge for local governments to gain access to the resources and support offered by utilities and other program administrators.
- Assist in policy areas where local governments have unique authority (e.g., land use planning) and where there is a natural partnership between states and municipalities (e.g., building codes (PDF) (17 pp, 1.2MB, About PDF)).
- Develop model ordinances and programs that local governments can modify as needed, adopt, and implement.
- Showcase innovative policies and initiatives to integrate actions addressing energy efficiency, climate change and sustainability.
- Provide outreach materials that take advantage of local governments' unique ability to influence the energy attitudes and actions of citizens and businesses.