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The Port of Cleveland Votes to Support Regional Energy Efficiency Program

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On December 17th, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Port of Cleveland voted to support the Retrofits for ENergy Efficiency Works (RENEW) program. This first-of-its-kind initiative provides tax-exempt lease financing and technical assistance for energy conservation measures (ECMs) within municipal buildings and operations for program participant communities throughout Cuyahoga County.

“The RENEW program is proof of how we can increase energy efficiency and draw investment to Cuyahoga through smart, forward-thinking planning,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. “I commend the Port Authority leadership, county officials, and Emerald Cities for creating this unique partnership and using it to benefit Cuyahoga County’s people and infrastructure, and I hope this model becomes a nationwide standard for energy-smart planning and financing.”

RENEW’s Cleveland-Cuyahoga County pilot program is a joint effort of Emerald Cities Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Government, the Port of Cleveland, and Public Finance & Energy Advisors, LLC. It ensures low cost and off-balance sheet financing options for energy upgrades, as well as increasing operating cash flow and contract transparency and accountability, using third-party monitoring and verification and contractor performance insurance.

“RENEW will provide hands-on technical assistance to Cuyahoga County municipalities and put county residents to work in the process,” said RENEW Program Director, Shanelle Smith. “A partnership of this kind is rare and will make communities more energy efficient.” 

Will Friedman, President & CEO of the Port of Cleveland, says it is a natural fit for the Port to support the RENEW pilot program because it complements the Port’s financing programs as well as the organization’s commitment to protecting the environment.

“We are a Green Port on a Great Lake, and we are committed to being an environmental steward of Cleveland Harbor and the Cuyahoga River. We see this partnership with RENEW to make county municipalities more energy efficient as an extension of what we’re doing on the lakefront and on the river,” Friedman said.

The Port’s staff has spoken to several municipalities that are interested in financing these energy improvements via the RENEW program and the Port.  “We are optimistic that we could have an initial pilot transaction in the first quarter of 2014,” Friedman added.

Those interested in applying for RENEW should contact Shanelle Smith at ssmith@emeraldcities.org. For more information, or to sign-up, please visit RENEW’s website at www.renewretrofits.com.

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