Bill Clinton and Mayor Emanuel Announce Chicago's Energy Efficiency Trust

First Project, Retrofit Chicago, will invest more than $200 million in energy efficiency for Chicago City Properties, creating more than 2000 Jobs and saving taxpayers $20 million annually.

Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel yesterday announced the proposed setting up of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, an innovative way to leverage private investment for energy efficiency transformative infrastructure projects to guide the city’s renewal of these vital and foundational elements in the 21st century.

Mayor Emanuel was joined at the announcement by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who has been helping strengthen the country’s infrastructure for decades, most recently through the Clinton Foundation's work with large cities like Chicago on energy efficiency initiatives.

“Nothing is more crucial to our long-term competitiveness and job creation than infrastructure,” Mayor Emanuel said. “The Chicago Infrastructure Trust will bring additional resources to stimulate public and private investment in our infrastructure, create thousands of jobs for Chicagoans, and ensure that our residents have a world-class quality of life.”

Energy efficiency work, through a new programme called Retrofit Chicago, will be the first series of investments made by the Trust, pending approval by the City Council. By aggregating energy efficiency projects across the City and its sister agencies and tapping into private investment, the Trust will accelerate retrofit projects that would otherwise not have been possible.

"I have seen first-hand how investments in our infrastructure can modernise our country, get people to work, and improve our economic strength through energy efficiency,” said Clinton.

“One of the biggest barriers to this work is the financing. Mayor Emanuel and the City of Chicago, through the creation of this infrastructure trust, have taken an important step towards addressing that challenge and embracing these opportunities. I'm especially pleased the trust will begin with a focus on municipal buildings, lighting projects, retrofits, and energy efficiency projects. These are key areas in which my Foundation works; we currently have 250 such projects in 47 cities around the world,” Clinton added.

As the first project of the Trust, the City will work with debt and equity investors to finance $200-$225 million in an effort to reduce energy consumption of participating City assets by 20 percent.

The City currently spends $170 million annually on energy consumption. This project will reduce energy costs by more than $20 million annually, create nearly 2,000 construction jobs, and remove CO2 emissions - the equivalent of taking more than 30,000 cars off the road - from the atmosphere annually.

The Trust’s leadership on infrastructure at the City level will demonstrate how such projects can be accomplished. The Trust also intends to make infrastructure investments in transportation, education and utilities.

The Chicago Infrastructure Trust was created in concert with the private sector, non-profit organizations, and union leaders.

"Having world-class infrastructure is essential for Chicago's competitiveness now and in the future,” said Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor. “I look forward to working alongside the Mayor as we put people to work revitalising the crucial infrastructure throughout the City."

The creation of the trust will require City Council approval, and the trust would be subject to City Council oversight. An ordinance creating the trust will be introduced at the March City Council meeting.

Picture: City Hall Chicago by Michael Lehet reproduced under CCL.

Friday 2nd March 2012

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