The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority’s (GEFA) mission is to protect and conserve Georgia’s precious natural resources, and to develop programs to help communities throughout the state use and protect these assets wisely. GEFA also strives to make such initiatives more accessible and financially sound for communities throughout Georgia.
GEFA’s conservation financing initiative provides loan financing at a reduced interest rate to local governments and authorities for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at water and wastewater treatment plants, landfills, and municipal solid waste facilities. Landfill methane gas collection; geothermal, solar and wind power production; combined heat and power; energy management planning; inflow/infiltration detection equipment and projects; lighting upgrades; and installation of energy efficient treatment equipment and processes are eligible energy conservation projects.
Reduced interest rates are also available for water and land conservation projects. Eligible water conservation projects include water auditing; leak detection and repair, line rehabilitation and replacement; new or replacement water meters; high-efficiency fixture programs; and water reuse projects. Land conservation projects must result in the permanent protection of conservation land and protect water quality. Communities can receive the reduced interest rate below the prevailing interest rate for the program through which it’s funded, such as the Georgia Fund, Clean Water State Revolving Fund or the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
GEFA has helped dozens of communities throughout the state with water and energy conservation projects. Thomaston, Georgia, located in Upton County with a population of 10,000, sought to make improvements to its water system. With $2.7 million in funding through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) loan program, and a reduced rate because portions of the project conserved water, the city replaced approximately 4 miles of water mains within the Hightower subdivision and Thomaston’s central commercial district. Thomaston also installed new hydrants, valves, service lines, and meters designed to connect to the existing water mains.
Projects such as these illustrate communities committed to Georgia’s culture of conservation, as well as GEFA’s work in protecting the state’s energy, land and water resources.
Energy, land and water are all necessary for the state’s quality of life, as well as continued economic growth and development. Georgia is blessed with plentiful natural resources, but these resources must be preserved and protected for future generations to use and enjoy. GEFA’s mission is to protect those resources, as well as utilize taxpayer funds responsibly. The programs the agency develops, such as its conservation financing initiative, allows communities throughout the state to complete their own projects to conserve energy, land water.