Obama admin delivers more than $106 million for state energy efficiency projects

Washington, D.C., September 25, 2009 — Energy Secretary Steven Chu said more than $106 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is being awarded to 9 states to support energy efficiency and conservation activities.

Under DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, these states will implement programs that lower energy use, reduce carbon pollution and create green jobs locally.

States receiving funding today include: Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

Today’s awards to the state energy offices will be used to support state-level energy efficiency priorities, along with funding local conservation projects in smaller cities and counties.

At least 60 percent of each state’s award will be passed through to local cities and counties not eligible for direct EECBG awards from the Department of Energy. The EECBG Program was funded for the first time by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and provides formula grants to states, cities, counties, territories and federally-recognized Indian tribes nationwide to implement energy efficiency projects locally.

Projects eligible for support include the development of an energy efficiency and conservation strategy, energy efficiency audits and retrofits, transportation programs, the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections, and installation of renewable energy technologies on municipal buildings.

All grantees have specific measures they must take before spending the full amount of awarded funding, such as ensuring oversight and transparency, submitting a conservation strategy to the DOE, and complying with environmental regulations.

Throughout the program’s implementation, DOE will provide strong oversight at the local, state, and tribal level, while emphasizing the need to quickly award funds to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies. Communities will be required to report regularly to DOE on the progress they have made toward successfully completing projects and reaching program goals.

The following states are receiving their state-level EECBG awards:

Delaware— $9,593,500
Delaware will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to reduce fossil fuel emissions, decrease overall energy use, and improve energy efficiency statewide. Funding will be administered by the state’s Energy Office, which will use both population-based formulas and a competitive process to award grants to local cities and counties in the state. Delaware’s Energy Office will also use EECBG funds to make a variety of energy efficiency upgrades to state facilities, including the replacement of existing electric boilers and cooling tower systems. Overall, the activities funded by today’s Recovery Act award will lead to a significant reduction in Delaware’s energy use and associated costs, and create or save more than 100 jobs statewide.

Hawaii — $9,593,500
Hawaii will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to enhance energy efficiency in the buildings sector and deploy renewable energy technologies in state buildings. Projects funded with today’s award will lead to substantial energy and cost savings, increase Hawaii’s energy security, and reduce fossil fuel emissions, while creating green jobs statewide. Specifically, Hawaii will focus on bringing the state’s existing building portfolio up to Energy Star standards. The Energy Star buildings program, established by EPA, tracks buildings’ energy efficiency performance and energy use per sq. foot against a national standard. Buildings are recognized as meeting Energy Star standards if they are in the top 25 percent of building performance. Nationally the buildings sector accounts for approximately 70 percent of energy use, so the state expects this effort will substantially reduce its energy consumption. Recovery Act funding will also be used to install photovoltaic solar energy systems on state office buildings in downtown Honolulu.

Iowa — $9,593,500
Iowa will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to improve energy efficiency and promote the use of renewable energy across the state’s economic sectors. These projects will lead to substantial energy and cost savings, and save or create more than 100 green jobs. The state will pass along 60 percent of its funds to local governments that were not eligible for direct EECBG grants and the remaining 40 percent of funds will be made available for competitive awards to all cities and counties. The competitive selection process will favor highly-leveraged projects and regional collaboration.

The Iowa Office of Energy Independence (OEI) will administer the EECBG program, including assisting potential applicants in determining which kinds of proposals are allowable and feasible and how to find additional funding resources to leverage. Funds will be provided for a wide range of activities, including agricultural building energy audits, financial incentive programs, energy efficiency retrofits, transportation programs, building codes and inspections, energy distribution technologies, reduction and capture of methane and greenhouse gases, traffic signals and street lighting, and renewable energy technologies on government buildings. These Recovery Act-funded activities will directly support the renewable energy and energy efficiency goals necessary to meet Iowa’s 2025 target for energy independence.

Indiana — $14,052,400
Indiana will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to help the state’s local communities, small businesses, non-profits, and others reduce their energy consumption, leading to significant cost savings and environmental benefits. Local cities and counties eligible for funding can use funding for traffic light upgrades and energy efficiency retrofits of local government buildings and facilities. These projects will create and retain jobs locally, while improving energy efficiency in the public sector and lowering fossil fuel emissions. In the long-term, these activities will also save cities and counties money by cutting energy costs, allowing them to direct funds to other projects that will help spur economic recovery. The EECBG program will be administered through the Indiana Office of Energy Development (OED) and awards will be made through a competitive process.

OED will also use EECBG funds to establish a loan program for small businesses, non-profits, health care institutions and institutions of higher education to finance energy efficiency upgrades to their existing buildings. The goal of the loan program will be to decrease total energy usage and increase the energy efficiency across the state’s public and private sectors. Additional Recovery Act funding will support the creation of an energy efficiency central database. This database will help the state and its citizens prepare for possible future legislation involving national renewable portfolio standards or limits on carbon emissions. Indiana’s Recovery Act-funded projects will lead to substantial energy and cost savings, and save or create nearly 200 jobs statewide.

Massachusetts — $14,752,100
Massachusetts will use its Recovery Act EECBG funds to advance efficiency and conservation goals at the community level. To maximize the overall return on these investments, the commonwealth will leverage private capital and expertise from local and non-local partners. The majority of Massachusetts’ EECBG allocation, administered by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), will be passed along to cities and counties with populations less than 35,000. DOER estimates that, given the amount of funding available and the maximum grant award amount of $150,000, more than 80 communities will receive funding under this competitive subgrant program.

Massachusetts will use remaining Recovery Act funds for several training and technical assistance initiatives. First, DOER will share its Energy Information Reporting System with each of the commonwealth’s 351 local government units. This system will enable communities to establish energy-use baseline inventories for their buildings, vehicles, and street lights. To share current technical knowledge with even the smallest localities, DOER will also employ over $1 million to engage experts who can provide on the ground assistance. These experts can help cities and counties ensure that energy baselines are accurately defined, equipment and systems are correctly designed and installed, installed equipment and systems performs as they should, and that performance and results are effectively measured and monitored. Finally, DOER will devote a portion of its EECBG funding to provide energy code training to building code officials throughout the commonwealth. As a result of today’s Recovery Act award, Massachusetts expects to substantially lower its energy use and fossil fuel emissions, as well as save or create more than 200 green jobs.

Oklahoma — $9,593,300
Oklahoma will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to support various energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. These projects will reduce the state’s energy consumption and fossil fuel emissions, saving Oklahomans money in energy costs and creating green jobs across the state. Oklahoma will competitively award 60 percent of the funding to local cities and counties, prioritizing projects based on measures like energy and cost savings, job creation, renewable energy generation, and carbon emissions reductions. EECBG funds will also allow Oklahoma to upgrade the electrical distribution system in Waynoka, where the installation of new transformers will result in a 25 percent reduction in power consumption. Remaining Recovery Act funds will also be used to fund the installation of solar and wind technologies in jurisdictions across Oklahoma and to enhance local recycling programs.

Tennessee — $13,818,200
Tennessee will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to enhance energy efficiency and promote the use of renewable energy across the state’s economic sectors. These projects will lead to substantial energy and cost savings, and save or create more than 100 green jobs statewide. Tennessee will direct the majority of its EECBG funding to a subgrant program that will make awards to city and county governments across the state. The Energy Policy Office at the Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) will administer the competitive award program, which will fund a variety of activities to reduce local energy consumption and fossil fuel emissions.

Tennessee will use the remaining funds to conduct a comprehensive public education campaign to help its citizens use energy more efficiently, and establish clean energy worker training programs at technology centers, community colleges, and universities. The public education campaign will be specifically targeted to help Tennesseans improve the energy efficiency of their homes, and will use various channels to collect, organize, and disseminate information, including workshops and print media. The training initiative will provide the state’s citizens training in a wide variety of green sectors, including weatherization, advanced energy codes, and solar installation. These programs will better position Tennessee’s workforce to take advantage of the clean energy economy.

Vermont — $9,593,500
Vermont will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to undertake projects that enhance energy efficiency and expand the use of renewable energy at the state and local level. In addition to grants to smaller cities and counties, a portion of the subgrant funds will also be awarded to 11 regional planning commissions for county-level energy efficiency related projects, including energy audits, efficiency installations, and energy planning.

Vermont will use the remaining Recovery Act funding to establish the Clean Energy Development Fund, a financial incentive program that will allow the state to maximize the impact and sustainability of clean energy projects by leveraging Recovery Act funds. The program will provide incentives for the installation of renewable energy technologies on government buildings, energy efficiency retrofits for schools and municipal buildings, energy audits for school buildings, and the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, which supports the reduction of petroleum use in the transportation sector. Vermont’s EECBG activities will lead to substantial energy and cost savings, and create and save green jobs statewide.

Virginia — $16,145,300
Virginia will use its Recovery Act EECBG funds to improve energy efficiency and promote the use of renewable energy across the state’s public and private sectors by putting in place self-sustaining energy efficiency programs and financing renewable energy systems for public facilities. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME), which will administer the Recovery Act funding, will pass along 60 percent of the funds to local cities and counties that were not eligible for direct EECBG grants. The funds will be awarded competitively, with a priority on buildings programs and localities that join together into multi-jurisdictional alliances.

DMME will also make funds available for the installation of renewable energy systems on local government and public buildings. These renewable energy projects are expected to have transformative effects on local markets and provide a strong return on Recovery Act investments with long-lasting economic and environmental benefits for the local communities. By deploying these clean energy systems across the state, Virginia will also be able to promote a broader understanding and acceptance of the benefits of renewable energy projects that will lead to increased demand for clean energy technologies. The EECBG Recovery Act funding will help will help save or create hundreds of green jobs across the state.


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