As promised, the Efficiency Maine Trust has released its first proposed rules that will govern Maine's Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program (previously). There are actually two sets of rules. The first set (Chapter 1) lays out the process by which the Trust will select service providers and grant recipients. Though this rule applies to all of the Trust's programs and grants, it is a necessary prerequisite for the newly created Trust to enter into the agreements with loan servicers, vendors and energy auditors the PACE program will require. The second set (Chapter 110) is what many have been waiting for: the comprehensive regulations for the PACE program itself.
Though much of the new rules restate the governing statute, it also provides some much-needed detail on the procedures for property owners looking to obtain PACE funding, and the responsibilities of the entities who will be serving those loans. In what appears to be a change from previous statements by the Trust, commercial and industrial properties are explicitly eligible for loans under the new rules. Some parts remain incomplete: for example, there's no information on how the Trust will collect data to quantify the carbon savings from PACE-funded upgrades (Maine has been exploring potential carbon market-based revenue sources for its efficiency-related programs, for which quantification is a necessary first step).
The rules are part of a process with many moving parts: Maine towns must also approve special ordinances before PACE loans can be issued for property in the town: at least one town will send such an ordinance to voters for approval this fall. The Trust must also sit down with a stakeholder group to hash out the underwriting standards for PACE Loans.
A public hearing on the Chapter 110 is scheduled for August 31, 2010, in Room 211 of the Cross Office Building in Augusta, Maine. Written comments must be submitted by September 10th.