The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority (TLCPA) began working with AEG and Neighborhood Funding Resources (NFR) to plan its Advanced Energy District in late 2009. NFR wrote a grant proposal to US DOE to start the program and develop a long-term sustainable financing model. TLCPA was awarded $15 Million; $2 Million of which was used to start up its Advanced Energy Program, now called its Better Buildings Program. $10 Million was put into the Northwest Ohio Better Buildings Bond Fund, which will leverage the money for up to $80 Million in project financing over the next several years. The remaining $3 Million was used to start a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) to finance initial costs for buildings, short-term, which will be paid back later once a project is financed by the Bond Fund.
The program is designed to provide each building taking part in the program with an Energy Audit, Weatherization, Energy Efficient Lighting, and Geothermal (or other high efficiency) HVAC; as well as solar, wind, cogeneration, or other cost effective energy conservation technology. It has already serviced many of Toledo’s public buildings (owned by the City, County and Port) – over $15 Million financed to date – and as much as $10 Million more that will occur by the end of 2012. As the Bond Fund can be used anywhere in Ohio, the Port has already begun discussions with one major city outside its 27 county area to duplicate its financing program in partnership with their local Port Authority.
In implementing this program, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority got a new bill passed by the State Legislature and signed by the Governor, to establish voluntary Energy Special Improvement Districts, anywhere in the state. An ESID is established by a city passing a package of ordinances Port Authority makes available. Once established, any building owner – public or private – can have a lien voluntarily placed on their property to help guarantee the Port’s financing. This gives the Bond package that provides the financing, the level of guarantee necessary to make the Bond “sellable” in the marketplace.