Matheson Introduces Renewable Energy Project Aid for Schools
Up to $60 million in Zero-Interest Bonds Could be Distributed to Utah School Districts
Washington DC-Congressman Jim Matheson says he is introducing legislation that would give Utah public school districts the financial means to purchase renewable energy products. The Renewable Schools Energy Act of 2006 is identical to legislation introduced in the Senate by Nevada Senator Harry Reid.
"Schools are vulnerable to the sky-rocketing costs of energy. When their energy budgets take a hit, kids' education suffers," said Matheson. "This legislation will help public school districts save money, increase educational opportunities and take advantage of advances in renewable energy technology."
Matheson said the bill is largely based on a successful measure incorporated in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 that enabled school districts to apply for zero-interest bonds to pay for capital improvements. The Renewable Schools Energy Act would provide zero interest bonds to public school districts seeking to invest in renewables such as solar panels, geothermal heat pumps or small wind turbines. Repayment would be 20 years from the issuance of the bond. Total bonding authority would be $50 million in 2007 and increase to $150 million in 2009.
Matheson said the eligible states-Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Idaho-are selected because of their rapid growth and their significant renewable energy resource potential. He cited the Lemon Grove School District in San Diego as a successful model, where power at two dozen schools is being generated by solar panels.