From a story by Lindsey Huster posted on the Web page of The Daily Reporter:
Sen. Mark Miller’s motion to issue $50 million in energy efficiency revenue bonds to Wisconsin school districts failed to be adopted by the Joint Finance Committee.
The effort was one of four priorities selected by a coalition of more than 50 conservation organizations and citizens around Wisconsin.
“We will continue working with the Legislature to find funding for school districts to increase efficiency and lower energy use, which improves Wisconsin’s environment and saves schools money,” said Jennifer Giegerich, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters energy advocate.
The motion made by the Democrat from Monona would have allowed revenue bonds to be issued to local school districts to fund energy improvements. Only projects that could pay back the bond through reduced energy costs would be funded, and priority would be given to projects with the shortest payback period. However, funds would not be distributed to projects that have failed to certify the approximate date when energy savings will equal the debt service on the bond. Funds issued from the bond, as well as resulting savings, would be kept outside local districts’ revenue cap.
In school districts, energy costs represent 16 percent of a district’s controllable costs. Some energy efficiency measures have been successful, the most recent example being Green Bay Public School District. There, the district spent $100,000 on a new chiller control strategy that paid for itself within a year.