CEEM recognizes Sen. Pratt for critical leadership and support of clean energy financing options
SHAKOPEE, MINN. – Clean Energy Economy MN (CEEM) presented its 2019 Clean Energy Legislative Champion Award to Senator Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake) on Tuesday at the My Place Hotel in Shakopee.
CEEM has worked closely with Senator Pratt over several legislative cycles and appreciates his dedication to growing clean energy jobs as well as his effectiveness in collaborating with his counterparts across the aisle to secure smart policy advances for Minnesota’s rapidly growing clean energy sector. That work is exemplified by his role in significantly improving Minnesota’s successful Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program.
“Sen. Pratt has been a key champion for advancing energy policies that spur innovation, accelerate business investment, and create good-paying jobs. We appreciate Sen. Pratt’s commitment to working across the aisle to make positive change for all Minnesotans and bolstering our vision for a clean energy economy,” said CEEM Executive Director Gregg Mast.
In 2019, Sen. Pratt chief authored the CEEM-supported Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) legislation in the Minnesota Senate. The legislation removes barriers to using PACE funds for new commercial construction and improves options for assessing project value critical for making projects work. The passage of the bill has already unlocked significant economic activity. Since the legislation went into effect on August 1, 2019, the Saint Paul Port Authority which manages one of the state’s two PACE programs, has funded $11.4 million in new construction projects – nearly half of the $22.5 million in total projects funded this year.
The My Place Hotel in Shakopee was one of the first local projects to take advantage of the new financing program. The developers of the hotel were able to secure $1.2 million in PACE financing in order to install a full suite of energy efficiency measures including high-efficiency windows, furnace, water heaters and more.
“I am honored to receive CEEM’s 2019 Clean Energy Legislative Champion Award for my work on passing reform to the state’s Commercial PACE program. This piece of energy policy is a perfect example of how a small, practical legislative change can have a huge impact by removing barriers which allows local clean energy companies to compete for projects and positively impact the construction sector. I’ve had the pleasure of working with CEEM over several legislative sessions and find their non-partisan voice refreshing and important in the broad conversation of the state’s energy policies,” said Sen. Pratt.
This financing mechanism is estimated to unlock some $333 million in new commercial construction projects and $30 million in PACE financing. PACE offers low-cost, long-term financing that is repaid as a property tax assessment for a specified period. By allowing more customers and developers to access PACE financing, building owners in Minnesota will construct buildings more efficiently, reducing energy use and saving money while creating local jobs.
“We have found that Commercial PACE policy has made a lot of developers more willing to spend additional dollars to make the very best, most efficient buildings possible. That could mean anything from LED lighting, high-efficiency heating and air conditioning equipment to better-than-code building envelopes. Ultimately, we find that policy excellent for our business, and for the development of better, more high-quality buildings in the years to come,” said Rafi Golberstein, CEO of Minneapolis-based PACE Loan Group.
Pictured in photo from L to R: Lynn Eller, Matt Eller (Developer/owner of My Place Hotel), Pete Klein (Saint Paul Port Authority), Gregg Mast (CEEM), Senator Eric Pratt, Rafi Golberstein (PACE Loan Group), Lily Osborne (CEEM), Benjamin Stafford (CEEM).
About Clean Energy Economy MN (CEEM): CEEM is an industry-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit representing the business case for clean energy in Minnesota. CEEM provides a unified voice for clean energy business across the state. Our mission is to provide educational leadership, collaboration, and policy analysis that accelerates clean energy market growth and smart energy policies.