Transforming Energy Communities

We recently attended the Kentucky County Judge Association and Kentucky Magistrate Summer Conference, where we had the privilege of attending a session all about Energy Communities. The knowledge we gathered has reinforced our belief in the power of collaboration and the immense benefits that counties designated as energy communities can reap by partnering with Energy Services Companies (ESCOs). Let’s go over some of the key takeaways from the session and shed light on why ESCOs are the perfect allies if you want to leverage funds and take advantage of investment tax credits.

Marion County courthouse viewed from across the Monongahela River and Million Dollar Bridge in Fairmont, West Virginia.
Marion County courthouse viewed from across the Monongahela River and Million Dollar Bridge in Fairmont, West Virginia.

What is an Energy Community?

First, let’s talk about energy communities and what they are. Since the Biden-Harris administration took office, one of their goals has been to rebuild the economy “from the bottom up and the middle out.” As part of this initiative, Biden signed an executive order creating the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, which focuses on prioritizing grantmaking, federal loan programs, financing, and more to support and revitalize the economies of coal and power plant communities or “energy communities.”

An initial report was developed to highlight which areas these initiatives would support, which includes those highlighted on this map.

Economic development in these communities is vitally important to these communities as many were hit hard by coal mind and coal power plant closures leaving these communities grappling with economic challenges and job losses. By focusing on economic development and revitalization, these energy communities can attract new companies and industries, create jobs, and rebuild their economic foundation. Revitalization will bring community members improved living standards, enhance local business and bring an overall sense of well-being.  

So, What Did We Take Away?

Now that we’ve covered what an energy community is, let’s get into some of the benefits and takeaways from the recent session we sat in on. One of the biggest things we took away is that working with an ESCO like Energy Systems Group is going to be key to getting your projects done and here is why…

Expertise and Resource

ESCOs specialize in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and related technologies. They possess the expertise, experience, and resources necessary to identify and implement energy-saving measures and renewable energy projects. By collaborating with ESCOs, counties can tap into this wealth of knowledge and benefit from their comprehensive approach to energy management.

Funding Opportunities

One of the most significant advantages of partnering with ESCOs is their access to diverse funding sources. ESCOs are well-versed in grants, loans, and private financing options, making them invaluable in securing the necessary funding for energy projects. Their familiarity with funding programs and expertise in navigating complex application processes increase the likelihood of successful funding acquisition.

Investment Tax Credits

Investment tax credits (ITCs) present a compelling financial incentive for investing in renewable energy projects, such as solar or wind installations. By working with ESCOs, counties can identify eligible projects, evaluate their financial viability, and optimize the benefits of ITCs to make projects more financially attractive. This support significantly reduces the upfront costs associated with implementing renewable energy systems. And the ITC isn’t the only available tax credit through the Inflation Reduction Act. There are 22 other funding opportunities right now that our team can help you navigate no matter what the economic development project might be. You can see the full list here.

Energy Cost Savings

Partnerships with ESCOs can yield substantial energy cost savings for counties over time. Through comprehensive energy audits and tailored energy efficiency measures, ESCOs optimize lighting systems, HVAC systems, insulation, and smart energy management solutions. These measures not only offset project costs but also provide long-term financial benefits through reduced energy consumption.

Environmental Impact

Collaborating with ESCOs allows counties to actively contribute to sustainability goals and environmental stewardship. By implementing energy efficiency measures and investing in renewable energy projects, counties can reduce their carbon footprint and support the transition to a clean energy future. ESCOs play a vital role in empowering counties to make a meaningful impact on their local environment.

By embracing partnerships with ESCOs, counties designated as energy communities can unlock expert knowledge, secure funding, maximize investment tax credits, achieve energy cost savings, and make a positive environmental impact. At Energy Systems Group, we are proud to be an ESCO, uniquely positioned to assist communities in capitalizing on these incentives. Together, we can pave the way for sustainable energy solutions and create a brighter, greener future for all. Get in touch with us to discuss a tailored solution that works for YOUR project(s)!