A Global View of Infrastructure & Its Financing

The following is an excerpt from a recent Lincoln Institute of Land Policy article, A Global View of Infrastruture and Its Financing 

Based on recent rates of economic growth, and using the existing relations between infrastructure and per capita income, developing countries are likely to need to spend about 5 percent of their GDP on infrastructure (3 percent for expansion and 2 percent for maintenance)—currently about $750 billion annually—to maintain existing ratios between infrastructure and GDP. For high-income countries, total spending would be lower, at 1.7 percent of GDP (about evenly divided between investment and maintenance) — currently about $700 billion annually.


The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power will Transform Society

The following is excerpted from the Huffington Post: 

Excerpted from Jeremy Rifkin’s The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World, Palgrave Macmillan 2011.

Energy regimes shape the nature of civilizations… how they are organized, how the fruits of commerce and trade are distributed, how political power is exercised, and how social relations are conducted. The locus of control over energy production and distribution is beginning to tilt from giant fossil fuel based centralized energy companies to millions of small producers, who are generating their own renewable energies in their dwellings and trading surpluses in info-energy commons.

Utilities & Financing Renewable Energy Guide for Local Governments in British Columbia

Local governments have traditionally played a central role in providing many essential services for their residents, such as water and sewage. Energy, however, has historically been provided by large, centralized energy utilities. This model is now starting to change, as opportunities provided by new technologies, and the pressures of climate change, prompt local governments and others to explore new ways to provide energy. In particular, the emergence of smallscale renewable energy technologies creates alternatives to traditional models of energy services provision.

Utilities & Financing Reneable Energy Guide for Local Governments in British Columbiaprovides information about opportunities, rational, ownership options and financing. The following is an excerpt from the introduction:

…Opportunities outlined in this guide include:

• Local government ownership and operation of heating utilities, providing district or decentralized heating to buildings in the community 

• Use of small-scale renewable energy technologies to heat and power municipal buildings 

• Local government ownership and operation of power projects.

…Utilities and Financing provides an introduction to the ways in which local governments can promote and fi nance the use of renewable energy in their communities. The focus of this module is to: 

• Outline why local governments are considering becoming involved in the provision of energy services, heating, cooling and electricity 

• Briefl y introduce the policy and legislative contexts that enable and limit local government action to foster renewable energy 

• Outline opportunities for the use of renewable energy within corporate operations 

• Describe how local governments can actively deliver renewable energy themselves, through the formation of a local government utility or energy services company 

• Outline different business models of ownership, operation and fi nancing renewable energy projects.

Water Infrastructure for Sustainable Communities

A Water Wiki article, Water Infrastructure for Sustainable Communities, presents challenges and solutions for water management. The following is an excerpt from the article introduction: 

A new model for water management is emerging worldwide in response to water shortages, polluted waterways, climate change, and loss of biodiversity. Cities and towns are questioning the ecological and financial sustainability of big-pipe water, stormwater, and sewer systems and are searching for “lighter footprint” more sustainable solutions. Pilot projects are being built that use, treat, store, and reuse water locally and that build distributed designs into restorative hydrology.

Cities and towns are questioning the ecological and financial sustainability of big-pipe water, stormwater, and sewer systems and are searching for “lighter footprint” more sustainable solutions. Pilot projects are being built that use, treat, store, and reuse water locally and that build distributed designs into restorative hydrology. 

Experts at international events in 2006 and 2007 propose this new paradigm of water/stormwater/wastewater infrastructure that is based on decentralization and de-regionalization of the infrastructure systems and its management.

The new water management will make a switch from strictly engineered systems (sewers) to ecologic systems (rain gardens, surface wetlands, ponds, restored and daylighted water bodies) and ecosanitation. Municipal stormwater and sewage management is expected to be decentralized into city clusters rather than regionalized


SEFI: UNEP Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative

Creating the Climate for Change

Our mission is to pave the way for a global scale-up of investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

SEFI is the UNEP Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative – a platform providing financiers with the tools, support, and global network needed to conceive and manage investments in the complex and rapidly changing marketplace for clean energy technologies.

SEFI’s goal is to foster investment in sustainable energy projects by providing up-to-date investor information, facilitating deal origination, developing partnerships, and creating the momentum needed to shift sustainable energy from the margins of energy supply to the mainstream.

This site has a number of good publications to assist us in learning about renewable and sustainable energy investment.


Creating District Energy Systems in Existing Neighborhoods: a Policy Roadmap

The Role of District Energy In Greening Existing Neighborhoods id a 2010 publication by the Preservation Green Lab, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Center for Sustainable Practices and the University of Oregon. The following is an excerpt from the introdustion.

District energy systems—neighborhood-scale utilities that deliver heating, cooling, and hot water—are emerging as a key strategy for cities that are pursuing aggressive environmental goals, including massive long-term reductions in building-related greenhouse gas emissions. Many existing buildings do not physically lend themselves to significant performance improvements in heating and cooling on an individual basis, because their small scale and intrinsic design can prevent them from taking advantage of some of the dramatic energy efficiency measures or on-site renewable energy options available to new construction. Also, many individual building owners already find it extremely challenging to pay for essential efficiency measures such as insulation, lighting upgrades, and better energy management tools, and are unlikely to consider installation of on-site geothermal or solar hot water systems. Further, focusing only on performance of individual buildings may not represent a community’s optimal investment in clean, renewable forms of energy…This paper serves as a primer for cities that are facing this challenging new reality. It will help local government officials understand what it takes to develop new district energy systems in existing neighborhoods.


New Rules Project – Designing Rules as if Communities Matter – Energy

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance and their New Rules Project has established a focus area on energy that provides information to assist communities in understanding the issues of ENERGY in the context of local impacts and opportunities.

One of the articles and documents linked at this site is “Democratizing the Electricity System – A Vision for the 21st Century Grid”. Here is a review of this document:

“Clean local energy provides the most efficient pathway to the smart energy future and the new energy economy.  Democratizing the Electricity System does a brilliant job of illustrating the unparalleled benefits of small- and mid-size renewable energy and the urgent need for new policies that make the enormous economic and political opportunities accessible.”  — Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition.

The ENERGY site also has links to information categories for “local rules”, “state rules”, “regional rules”, “federal rules” and other publications.