Policy Matters: Local

Energy Efficiency Policy for Local Governments and Communities

Local policies related to energy efficiency—those implemented at the scale of a municipality, county, or metropolitan region—can improve community self-reliance, save consumers and citizens money, create local “main street” jobs, catalyze local economic investment, and help protect the environment. The responsibilities of local governments give them large influence over energy use in their communities through land use and zoning, building requirements, property taxes and transfers, transportation investment decisions, economic and workforce development, and, in many cases, the provision of utility services such as water, natural gas, and electricity. Additionally, local governments can lead by example by improving the energy efficiency of their own facilities and operations. Regardless of the specific policies and strategies pursued, local energy-saving actions can result in considerable economic benefits and contribute to achieving many local objectives.

It may be helpful to think of the local government role in energy efficiency as influencing two kinds of decisions: (1) public investments & government operations and (2) private actions & investments.

Similarly, local efficiency opportunities fall into four general economic sectors: buildings, land use, transportation, and utilities. Policy and programmatic options in each of these sectors range from small changes in everyday government activities to requirements governing private sector activities. Other options include changes in how decisions about public infrastructure are made, regulations, government revenue and tax policies, financial and non-financial incentives, and many others.

A variety of actions can be taken by local governments to promote energy efficiency and to make community infrastructure improvements. Call MCEC, and we can help to guide your local municipality through the process by facilitating thoughtful discussions on the best option for your community.

See the following Grant Programs available to local governments:

Commercial Clean Energy Grant Program
Receive financial assistance to install solar photovoltaic, solar water heating, geothermal heat pump, and wind turbine systems.

EmPOWER Clean Energy Communities Grant
Maryland counties (or county equivalents) can receive grants to finance energy efficiency projects that benefit low-to-moderate income Marylanders.

EmPOWER Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG)
Maryland counties and municipalities can receive funds for energy efficiency improvements.

Game Changer Program: Energy Innovation Competitive Grants
MEA will provide grants to innovative clean energy projects that are in the early stages of commercialization.

Jane E. Lawton Conservation Loan Program
Apply for a loan to identify and install energy conservation improvements.

Public Schools Energy Efficiency Initiative Engineering Design Program
Through the Public Schools Energy Efficiency Initiative, Maryland schools planning to implement eligible energy efficiency projects can recover a percentage of the engineering design costs incurred.

State Agency Loan Program (SALP)
State agencies can apply for loans to fund cost-effective energy efficiency improvements in State facilities.

See the Financing & Incentives page for more information on loans, financing and grant programs.