Counties Seek State Partnership to Fund Transition of School Energy to Renewable Sources

On February 8, 2022, Associate Policy Director Brianna January testified before the House Appropriations Committee in support with amendments of HB 365 – Public School Construction – Fossil Fuel-Based Energy System Costs – Prohibition (Green School Construction Act of 2022). This bill prohibits the Interagency Commission on School Construction from considering a new or replacement fossil fuel-based energy system as a construction or capital improvement cost.

MACo urged the committee to consider amendments to HB 365 that would address some concerns counties have with the bill as drafted, including:

  • An amendment to HB 365 to require the State to include additional financial support in the baseline square footage share of the funding formula would help counties meet the increased capital and operational costs associated with renewable energy systems would fairly split the fiscal burden of pursuing such systems; and
  • An amendment to provide a waiver for projects that cannot practicably support renewable energy systems, such as because of various geographic constraints that inhibit the accessibly and use of renewable sources.

From the MACo testimony

Counties share the general goal of HB 365 to pursue more environmentally-sound capital projects ─ and many already take measures to install renewable resources in capital projects. However, under HB 365, counties would be forced to pursue such projects in all school construction, regardless of feasibility and practicality, or they would have to support the full financial burden of a project that uses nonrenewable sources.

There are situations in which a local jurisdiction may need to use fossil fuel-based energy systems at no fault of their own. These include the ongoing challenges and disruptions to the supply chain and the scarcity of certain materials, as well as various geographical issues that make it virtually impossible to use geothermal, solar, or wind sources. Additionally, it may not be reasonable or fiscally sound policy to convert aging school facilities that use nonrenewable sources to renewable systems when the lifecycle of those facilitates is ending.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2022 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.Learn more about MACo’s 2022 Legislative Initiatives.Read more General Assembly News on MACo’s Conduit Street blog.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2022 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.Learn more about MACo’s 2022 Legislative Initiatives.Read more General Assembly News on MACo’s Conduit Street blog.

Close Menu
%d bloggers like this: