SEA Clean Energy Alliance

What is an SEA Clean Energy Alliance?

An SEA Clean Energy Alliance is a village, city or township -sponsored non-profit organization that is created as a groundbreaking program to significantly reduce energy use. With the Clean Energy Alliance SEA is reaching out to residents, businesses, institutions, and other Long Island organizations with a host of programs to reduce the use of electricity, natural gas and heating oil. SEA is also promoting efforts to install clean alternative energy sources (such as solar panels, wind turbines and dual use heat and power units) at facilities within these geographic areas.

Alliance participants will pay for efficiency and clean energy projects either directly or through SEA-arranged financing for a pre-determined term such that loan repayments are matched or exceeded by annual energy bill savings. Participants will receive whatever utility provider rebates are available for electric and gas measures and the installation of alternative energy sources. These projects will be designed to complement and amplify the existing efficiency efforts of these providers. No upfront costs will be required for such installations, and there will be no cost to Alliance participants or NY state taxpayers.

What makes this program unique?

SEA seeks widespread participation from all energy users in villages, cities and townships across Long Island. We offer comprehensive energy efficiency measure coverage and one-stop customer service to achieve the high participation levels we anticipate. By working closely with these entities, SEA will achieve a greater participation rate for smaller customers than current efficiency programs, making this program the most comprehensive of its kind in the country. SEA offers independent expertise, project management, flexible financial assistance, centralized coordination of services, and other assistance that will keep program costs low. The SEA Clean Energy Aliance program is designed to maximize results and minimize hassle for participants.

Why do this now?

One of the most pressing issues of our time is global climate change and the ever- rising costs of energy consumption. Studies continue to show that investments to cut energy use are the most effective way to cut global warming emissions and reduce the price of energy. Villages, cities and townships are a natural place to achieve the greatest benefits from energy efficiency because they have high concentrations of homes, businesses, government facilities, and institutions.

What are the program's goals?

Through a combined effort of conservation, education and investment capital over the next five years, the Sound Energy Alternatives Clean Energy Alliance expects to save up to 10% of the kilowatt hours of electricity used annually and to cut the demand for electricity at peak use by 15%. The project will also cut demand for natural gas and heating oil. To achieve this, SEA seeks participation by a majority of participants in every sector: residents, businesses, institutions, and others.

What are the program's benefits?

The benefits of these village, city and township -wide aggregation of energy efficiency include:

The Sound Energy Alternatives Energy Alliance will track and aggregate the benefits to maximize the impacts of the program.

What is the role of energy service companies (ESCOs)?

SEA is working with Siemens and is actively seeking to work with other national and regional energy ESCOs that possess the knowledge and experience to help create a one-stop service to participants. The ESCOs will provide energy audits of your facility or home, recommend cost-effective energy efficiency and renewability measures, provide information about SEA's financing options, specify the work to be done, hire contractors and supervise their work. The ESCOs will also access Utility and energy provider rebates for eligible electric and natural gas measures. SEA will inspect many completed installations, approve ESCO fees, handle complaints, and monitor the savings associated with the improvements installed.

How will the results be measured and reported?

The Sound Energy Alternatives Energy Alliance will be tracking pre and post-installation electric and gas data in two ways:

We will report the results of the consumption trends for electricity and natural gas by utility class and for each class of participant on the SEA website on a quarterly basis. We are currently investigating a cost-effective strategy for tracking and reporting heating oil savings.

What are the long terms goals of the SEA Clean Energy Alliance?

Residents and business leaders have an opportunity to be part of a unique effort that will create significant economic benefits for the village, city or township while maximizing their efforts to address climate change. Looking beyond the boundaries of Long Island, it is our intention to create a model of community collaboration that other local organizations can use to develop their own energy efficiency programs.

How much will it cost to participate?

A key purpose of the program is to save residents and businesses money. How this happens will vary, depending on whether people are owners or renters, what kinds of efficiency opportunities their buildings offer, and whether it makes sense for them to pay outright for measures or finance them through a loan.

A homeowner investing in a cost-effective package of measures addressing heating, cooling, insulation and lighting can typically save 20-30% of his or her current utility bills. For a homeowner spending $3,000 annually for electricity, gas, oil and water, the annual savings would be $600-1,000. For businesses, the savings are comparable, although the mix of measures would be different.

The Clean Energy Alliance project incorporates innovative financing techniques that could be used to develop similar energy efficiency projects in other communities across the region. Some participants will have the ability to finance investments in efficiency themselves. Other projects may include measures that qualify for incentives through their utility provider's efficiency programs. But for many participants, efficiency investments will initially be paid for through simple, short-term loans. For small commercial and residential participants, SEA will arrange a simplified loan process with pre-selected banks. Large commercial participants will have several options, including arranging for a loan through a private investment company.

Loans can be structured so that the amount saved on electricity, heating, or water bills will cover the loan payments. Once the loans are repaid, people will pocket all the savings. Since energy costs are likely to continue to rise, the profits from taking action are likely to rise as well. We are working with local banks to make the loan process easy and keep rates low. We don't have the funds to provide any direct grants, as of yet, but we will be creating resources to make the program especially easy and affordable for homeowners with low incomes.

Small businesses will have a similar opportunity to use their own banking institution or participate through a loan program with SEA's business financing partners.

Are there participation benefits beyond a more efficient home or business?

Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy measures has many benefits, including: saving money, improving the value, safety, and comfort of homes and offices, cutting pollution, creating local jobs, reducing our reliance on foreign oil, and increasing real estate values.

How will SEA provide quality assurance to participants?

Quality assurance is a key element of the program. SEA will have competitively selected lenders and ESCOs to assure the lowest rates, best terms, and most comprehensive services from our financing and ESCO partners. SEA will assign account managers to oversee the marketing and delivery of services. SEA also manages the relationships between the utility provider, ESCOs, and participants.

We will closely monitor energy consumption data for all participants for gas and electricity before and after projects occur and provide regular updates on progress. Our independent engineers will inspect completed work of all large-scale projects and review a strong sample of small-scale projects. Where inspections or participant feedback reveals issues with the quality of workmanship or materials, SEA's program managers and independent engineers will ensure the ESCOs remedy the issues and help to satisfactorily resolve any outstanding concerns.