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August 21, 2012, Webinar: Financing Renewable Energy Projects

This webinar, held Tuesday, August 21, 2012, provided information on the challenges and success of financing mechanisms for a solar project in Knoxville, Tennessee, and one of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District's (SMUD) CommRE projects. Download the presentations below. Find more CommRE webinars.

Renewables and Sector Partnerships: Leveraging Incentives to Work for You

In September 2009, the City of Knoxville was awarded more than $2 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funding. The City obtained approval to use $250,000 of that funding for initial investment to support the installation of a high-quality, 90 kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system using third-party of other innovative financing models. The City of Knoxville successfully used power purchase agreements to build the PV project and save the city money—all in an area of the country that isn't allowed to have power purchase agreements. Learn more about the initial steps in the project.

Presenter Susanna Sutherland holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Tennessee. She began her career with the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Environmental Policy and Planning division and later joined TVA's River Operations and Environment division. In 2007, Ms. Sutherland was recruited by the City of Knoxville as Project Manager for a market driven waterfront redevelopment effort. In 2009, she became the City's first Sustainability Program Manager, charged with using DOE funding to design and implement a program that met key community energy and waste needs. As Knoxville's Office of Sustainability builds a self-sustaining portfolio funded initiatives with measureable outcomes, Ms. Sutherland continues in an oversight role and contributes to broader sustainability efforts by co-chairing a nine-state southeastern city national levels.

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Challenges With SMUD's Community Renewable Energy Project

SMUD is tapping into multiple financing sources to successfully develop an anaerobic digester project as part of their overall CommRE project. The challenges and successes SMUD has experienced to date will be covered as well the banking sector's perspective on financing renewable energy projects and how to help communities understand and navigate financing complexities.

Presenter Elaine Sison-Lebrilla is a Senior Project Manager at SMUD with more than 23 years of experience in energy. She oversees the Renewable Energy Program in the Energy Research & Development department. Previous to SMUD, Ms. Sison-Lebrilla worked for the California Energy Commission as Manager of the Geothermal Program and the Energy Generation Research Office under the Public Interest Energy Research Program. Ms. Sison-Lebrilla has a Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from University of California at Berkeley and is a registered Professional Engineer.

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Presenter Rob Holden has a career that spans 25 years in banking and finance. Prior to joining New Resource Bank he was Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer at Pan Pacific Bank in Fremont, and before that he served as Senior Vice President at Bay Area Development Company in Walnut Creek. He has also held high-level executive positions at The Private Bank of the Peninsula, Bank of Los Alto, and Pacific Bank. Mr. Holden says being at New Resource Bank gives him the opportunity to do what he loves: get involved with the community, build relationships, and work with businesses that are transforming the economy.

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