While it might seem rare these days for Republicans and Democrats cooperatively to work together on anything, two Republican members of the US House of Representatives recently joined with one of their Democratic colleagues to introduce an important new piece of renewable energy legislation.
On July 20, Rep. Nan Hayward (R, NY), Rep. Dan Lungren (R, CA), and Rep. Mike Thompson (D, CA), proposed a bill designed to protect local communities’ ability to adopt an innovative clean-energy financing strategy that itself has attracted bi-partisan support from coast to coast – and with good reason. This financing strategy, known as “property assessed clean energy,” or PACE, allows homeowners finance the up-front costs of installing residential clean-energy systems through city partnerships that spread out the payments as an add-on to their property taxes for as long as 20 years.
As a way to encourage homeowners to invest in cleaner energy without a high up-front cost, PACE programs have proven popular with cities working hard to stimulate their local economies and create green jobs. Since 2008, legislatures in 27 states have enabled cities to set up PACE assessments, no matter which party controlled the state house – Republicans in Virginia, Missouri, and Texas; or Democrats in Oregon, Minnesota, and New Hampshire.