Bond Financing & Eligible QEBC Projects - National Perspective from the Energy Programs Consortium
National View of QECBs
Elizabeth Bellis, Energy Programs Consortium
SE Sustainability Conference
August 21, 2013
Circular 230: This presentation was not intended or written
to be used, and it cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the
purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the
taxpayer under U.S. Federal tax law.
This presentation is intended to serve as a general
introduction to the use of qualified energy conservation
bonds. Nothing contained in this presentation should be
construed or relied upon as legal advice.
• QECBs are effectively a federal interest rate buydown program
for state and local bonds.
• Interest is taxable.
• Issuer elects: Cash payments to the issuer OR tax credits to the
• Cash payments = 100% of the interest OR, if lower, 70% of the
“qualified tax credit rate” set periodically and available at
Treasury Direct’s website.
• These payments are subject to sequestration (discussed below).
• Maturities are also set periodically and have ranged from 12 to
22 years (see Treasury Direct website)
• Reduction of energy consumption in publicly owned
buildings by at least 20%
• Implementing green community programs (PACE
financing, LED streetlights, etc.)
• Rural Development
• Renewable energy facilities
(wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, trash to
energy, hydropower facilities)
• Certain mass commuting projects
QECBs by Use
Graph 7: Use of QECBs
QECBs Known to be Issued for Energy
QECBs Known to be Issued for Renewable
QECBs Known to be Issued for Green
August 7, 2013
QECBs for School Projects
Graph 6: Known QECB Issuances
QECB Known to be Issued for School
QECBs Known to be Issued for Other Uses
August 7, 2013
Who got the allocations?
QECB Regional Allocation
Southeast Northeast Midwest Southwest Central Northwest
Graph 3: Percent of Total Allocation, By Region
How much is left?
• Up to 75% of the original $3.2b may be available.
• State utilization rates range from complete lack of known
utilization (22 states) to complete exhaustion of allocation
• A number of states are approaching exhaustion of
funds, including Colorado, Kentucky, and Montana.
• On the other hand, a few states, including
Hawaii, Mississippi, and Florida are not known to have
authorized QECBs at this time.
Amount Known Issued Amount of QECBs Allocated
Graph 1: QECBs Known to be Issued v. Allocated
August 7, 2013
QECB Issuances by
Southwest Midwest Northeast Central Southeast Northwest
Graph 4: Known QECB Issuances by Region
Known Amount Issued
QECB Utilization by Region
0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0%
Graph 5: Proportion of Allocations Utilized, by Region
% Known Issued of Allocated
$0 $50,000,000 $100,000,000 $150,000,000 $200,000,000 $250,000,000 $300,000,000
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120%
QECB Utilization by State
Volume of known issuances
• Of $776,381,000 in QECBs available to the region, only
$58,859,000 (7.6%) is known to have been issued.
• All of these issuances have been for EE retrofits in municipal
buildings and schools.
• In the southeastern
region, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North
Carolina and South Carolina have had no known issuances.
• Kentucky leads the way with 3 issuances, followed by
Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama with 1 issuance each.
• Kentucky’s 3 issuances account for 93% of available
funds, making it among the states with the highest utilization
• Louisiana’s 1 issuance (of $30M) accounts for 66% of the
Barriers to Use
• Initial legal uncertainty
• Notice 2012-44 clarified many of the FAQs regarding
“green community programs” and proper measurement of
• Admin Costs
• Lack of familiarity
• Debt capacity/debt aversion
• Pooling issues
Reasons for Success
• Issuing QECBs as part of larger bond issuance
• Proactive, persistent outreach
• Engaging with facilities managers at schools, prisons, and
public housing who may have projects
• Engaging with private developers where there are debt
issues or insufficient public pipeline
• Working with local bonding authorities (where
applicable) to expedite process
• Experienced bond counsel
• Sequester cuts in place through September. No known
current proposals on the table to continue the cuts after
• Congress is reviewing the tax code, including energy
provisions. However, the end effect on QECBs, if any, is
not yet known.
• Some have proposed renewing and expanding the 179D
credit, which may be available for certain QECB-
financed projects to sweeten the deal (for certain energy
efficiency improvements to qualifying commercial and
Where can I find more
• The current version of the EPC QECB paper is available at
content/uploads/2013/06/QECB_Memo_June13.pdf. Updates will be
posted periodically on our Publications page.
• The NASEO website has a variety of resources, including documents
other states have used and the EPC QECB memo which contains
information about all known issuances.
• DSIRE has a QECB page with links to relevant statutory provisions and
• The Department of Energy’s website has resources including a QECB
Primer and webinars.
Please keep in touch.
Counsel and Director, QECB & WHEEL Programs, EPC
• “Sequestration” -- government-wide budget cuts mandated by the
Budget Control Act of 2011.
• The sequester reduction is applied to section 6431 amounts claimed
by an issuer on any Form 8038-CP filed with the Service which
results in a payment to such issuer on or after March 1, 2013.
• As determined by the Office of Management and Budget, payments
to issuers from the budget accounts associated to these qualified
bonds are subject to a reduction of 8.7% of the amount budgeted for
• The sequestration reduction rate will be applied until the end of the
fiscal year (September 30, 2013) or intervening Congressional
action, at which time the sequestration rate is subject to change.
• It is unclear whether the sequester reduction applies to tax credit
QECB issuances that did not opt for direct payments and file Form
8038-TC rather than 8038-CP, as the IRS statement does not mention
these issuances. EPC is looking into this.
Where did 8.7% come
• Originally OMB released a report in 2012 stating the subsidy payments for
the federal fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, may be cut by 7.6%.
• OMB has now indicated in a report to Congress dated March 1, 2013, that
the current percentage reduction will be 5.3%.
• The 5.3% is the overall reduction in the program's total FY 2013 level.
• Since the beginning of FY 2013 last October 1 some issuers have received
payments that were not reduced. In order to achieve the overall annual
savings of 5.3 percent, the remaining payments will have to be cut by a
• The Tax Exempt Bond office ("TEB") of the Internal Revenue Service has
now advised that subsidy payments to issuers through September
30, 2013, will be reduced 8.7%.
What Does It Mean?
• Existing issuers have faced higher net interest payments.
• Future issuers may consider tax credit QECBs in lieu of direct
pay QECBs if they are exempt from sequestration.
• All issuers and purchasers may now “discount” the value of
the subsidy going forward due to uncertainty about the amount
and continuity of its provision.
• Many issuers have the right to repurchase their QECBs in the
event of a subsidy reduction.
• Such issuers may weigh alternative capital sources that could be
drawn upon to fund a repurchase, and the costs thereof (including
transaction costs) relative to the increase in interest payments on