In 2010, Georgia voters overwhelming passed a constitutional amendment to support guaranteed energy savings performance contracting as a way for the state to pay to install energy-saving devices at essentially no cost. In addition to the state constitution, Georgia has enabling legislation that covers Guaranteed Energy Savings Performance Contracting (GESPC) in four public market sectors: state agencies, local units of government, universities, and K-12 school districts. The length of contracts are limited to 20 years.
The legislation allows for a scope of work that includes all measures that pay for themselves in energy savings and the use of operational savings, including future cost avoidance, water savings, renewables and behavioral training..
The statue requires the energy service company (ESCO) provide an energy savings guarantee and provides for a payment to cover any shortfall should one occur. The states also allow an agency to retain any excess savings.
There are a growing number of successful projects that have been implemented since the Constitutional amendment was passed, including:
- Earlier in 2016, the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) announced the University System of Georgia (USG), the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), and the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) have entered into guaranteed energy performance contracts that will provide energy and water savings of approximately $113.9 million.
- In 2014, Phillips State Prison became the first state building to complete the installation of energy efficient equipment as part of a GESPC. The Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC) was named the runner-up by the Technology Association of Georgia for its 2014 Smart Energy/Government Entity of the Year Award as a result of this project. The Phillips Prison's $4.5 million contract is saving nearly $500,000 in utility costs per year and a 97% reduction in water use.
- In 2013, the Bibb County school board implemented a GESPC that will cost nearly $4 million, but is guaranteed to save more than $8 million over the term of the 10 year contract.
Georgia employees multiple employees with roles that support and oversees the state's GESPC program. The state program is also utilizes the services of an outside third-party that provides technical support to end-users/clients.
The state uses a set of standardized instruments for use with GESPC for state facilities and a separate set of standardized contract instruments for community colleges and universities. The standardized instruments have been approved by the appropriate legal, finance and procurement authorities and serve as the only terms and conditions for state facility work to proceed.
Georgia has a well-defined Request for Qualification and selection process for energy service companies to become a GESPC provider for state projects. A secondary selection process is required allowing the end user to participate in the final selection of their provider.
The Georgia Energy Services Coalition (ESC) Chapter has been in existence for more than six years and is comprised of multiple public and private sector individuals. The Chapter meets periodically when there is specific issue that needs resolving.