Tag: Infrastructure

Paying for Water: The 83rd Legislative Session and the $2 Billion Water Infrastructure Bank

Among Texas leaders, there is a general consensus that the state must act now to ensure its long-term water security, and as the legislature convened for its 2013 session, many observers predicted water would emerge as a marquee issue.  And it did, with lawmakers introducing numerous water-related bills.

Three of these bills are aimed at financing enough water infrastructure projects to assure long-term water supplies for the state: H.B. 4, H.B. 1025 and S.J.R. 1. These bills could have a profound and long-lasting impact on Texas water law and water resources.

In anticipation of the November 5 special election, when voters will whether to approve through a proposition certain key legislative provisions, and of the extensive rulemaking processes that will follow if the proposition succeeds, the Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration and Environmental Law has prepared this white paper. It explains the key provisions in H.B. 4 and explores the contours and inflection points in complex legislation that –aside from a salient few details – remains relatively unfamiliar to the general public and even to those who work regularly on water policy issues.

Related Downloads

PACE in Texas: The Future of Contractual Assessment Financing for Conservation Improvements

Twenty-eight states have passed Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) enabling legislation but most – including Texas – do not have fully operational PACE programs. In some instances, this failure of PACE law to translate into concrete action may be due to drafting defects or to evolving PACE best practices that have rendered early-adopted laws obsolescent. In other instances, it may stem from the chilling effect of actions by mortgage regulators.

In March 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals resolved the last of a series of legal challenges against mortgage regulators, establishing a period of at least temporary regulatory stability. Meanwhile, PACE supporters have continued to trumpet the investment and environmental opportunities in commercial, industrial and multifamily real estate retrofits. Several states have tried to capture these tailwinds by adopting or amending PACE statutes in ways that facilitate non-residential PACE and incorporate lessons learned from pilot programs and recent policy debates.

Texas is such a state. Bills introduced this legislative session – S.B. 385 and H.B. 1094 – would reconfigure PACE statutes first enacted in 2009 by expanding PACE to encompass water conservation and steering financing toward commercial, industrial and multifamily properties. If they pass, the bills could serve as a blueprint for other states that either have not passed PACE legislation or have PACE laws on the books that have yet to spawn actual PACE programs.

Related Downloads

Electricity Transmission in the U.S. – Legal Issues and Trends

The U.S. electricity transmission infrastructure is undergoing historic change; a short, upfront look at current and projected investment activity provides a sense of the scale and impact. Under the auspice of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the Department of Energy is authorized to award nearly $38 billion in grants – and make or guarantee $127 billion in loans – over the next few years to modernize the United States’ energy infrastructure and pursue a more independent national energy policy. Roughly 14% of the authorized grant money, or $4.5 billion, is specifically directed towards Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, a category focused on upgrading the U.S. electricity transmission grid. In practice, many of those grants are to be matched, dollar for dollar, by private investment. Similar priorities are reflected in the regular budget process as illustrated by the 2011 fiscal budget which features a 6.8 percent increase for the Department of Energy’s budget, to $28.4 billion, and a 5 percent increase for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, to $2.36 billion.

Related Downloads