Leon County, Florida (Tallahassee and vicinity), joined a gathering force of local and state government units and clean energy advocates in objecting to the Federal Housing Finance Agency ‘s mid-summer guidance to banks that effectively blocked PACE financing nationwide (PACE = “Property Assessed Clean Energy”).
The County filed suit charging the FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with violating the Florida and United States constitutions as well as state and federal laws, violating procedures for creating agency regulations and practicing unfair trade practices.
These regulatory actions affect the Leon Energy Assistance Program and similar efforts across the nation intended to assist property owners by fostering and funding energy efficiency and renewable energy system improvements on their homes and businesses through voluntary property assessments.
Florida placed a big bet on PACE when the sole energy fostering act that passed in its 2010 legislative session provided clear direction to its cities and counties to proceed with PACE. PACE has a good record in communities where it’s been implemented. FHFA’s concerns appear to be based on conjecture, but the federal agency knocked PACE off course.
Many are looking to Congress to revitalize the PACE movement by giving direction to the mortgage finance regulators and guarantors led by FHFA to lend support to PACE. However, until the matter is resolved in the courts or in the halls of Congress, clean energy progress in the United States faces yet another challenge.
Hopefully, the merits of PACE as a simple, reliable and equitable financing option will be impressed upon our legislative representatives and leaders in Washington when they return following the November 2010 elections. Clean energy progress needs this shot in the arm.