U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu last Friday announced more than $119 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Alabama, American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Under DOE’s State Energy Program, states and territories have proposed statewide plans that prioritize energy savings, create or retain jobs, increase the use of renewable energy, and reduce carbon pollution.
“This funding will provide an important boost for state economies, help to put Americans back to work, and move us toward energy independence," said Secretary Chu. "It reflects our commitment to support innovative state and local strategies to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy while insisting that taxpayer dollars be spent responsibly."
These states and territories are receiving 40 percent of their total State Energy Program (SEP) funding authorized under the Recovery Act. They will now have received 50 percent of their total Recovery Act SEP funding. The initial 10 percent of total funding was previously available to states to support planning activities; the remaining 50 percent of funds will be released once they meet reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act.
Activities eligible for State Energy Program funding include energy audits, building retrofits, education and training efforts, transportation programs to increase the use of alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles, and new financing mechanisms to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy investments.
The Recovery Act appropriated $3.1 billion to the State Energy Program (SEP) to help promote energy efficiency and clean energy deployment, as well as to support local economic recovery. States use these grants at the state and local level to create green jobs and address state energy priorities.
Transparency and accountability are important priorities for SEP and all Recovery Act projects. Throughout the program’s implementation, DOE will provide strong oversight at the local, state, and national level, while emphasizing with states the need to quickly award funds to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies.
The following states are receiving awards:
ALABAMA - $22,228,000 awarded
The state of Alabama will use its Recovery Act SEP funding to promote energy efficiency of businesses, schools, and correctional facilities and develop renewable energy resources in the state. Alabama will work closely with the automotive supplier industry to improve the energy efficiency of their processes, which will help companies reduce their costs and energy consumption and stabilize employment. This program will identify and implement specific savings to reduce energy demand, carbon output, and waste stream output, resulting in improved profitability, competiveness and an improved employment picture for the industry.
Alabama will also direct SEP funds toward energy efficiency retrofits in correctional facilities and K-12 schools to reduce energy consumption, save money, and create jobs. Specifically, funds will be provided for energy efficiency and renewable energy measures identified through investment-grade audits of the state’s correctional facilities, and the state will expand its existing Energy-Efficient Retrofit of Schools Program. This expansion will assist in the purchase and installation of energy-efficient equipment for an estimated 30 K-12 school districts to reduce their energy costs and create jobs.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive nearly $28 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $55 million.
AMERICAN SAMOA - $7,420,000 awarded
American Samoa will use its Recovery Act SEP funds to expand the use of renewable energy across the territory, as well as supplement weatherization funds to improve home energy efficiency for low-income residents.
The territory will install a 1,000 kW photovoltaic solar-energy array near the Tafuna Power Station, nineteen smaller 28 kW solar arrays on the roofs of government and other buildings, and a solar water heating system at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center. The goal of these projects is to increase the use of indigenous renewable energy resources, thereby reducing the use of imported diesel fuel and increasing electricity efficiency with distributed energy generation. American Samoa is also interested in expanding its use of wind power, and will use Recovery Act funds to set up eight anemometers to measure and quantify the territory’s wind potential.
In addition to State Energy Program funding, American Samoa is receiving funding under the Weatherization Assistance Program for the first time this year. In order to meet the demand among elderly and low-income households for replacement air-conditioning systems and solar hot water heaters, the territory will use its Recovery Act SEP funding to supplement weatherization funds and weatherize more than 30 additional eligible households.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the territory will receive more than $9 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $18 million.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - $8,808,800 awarded
The District of Columbia will use its Recovery Act SEP funding to improve energy efficiency in government buildings and support numerous public energy education initiatives. Recovery Act funds will enable the District of Columbia to replace existing mechanical and electrical equipment at various DC properties with new energy efficient equipment and controls. State Energy Program funds will also be used for building retrofits including the installation of high-efficiency classroom HVAC units for 6 elementary schools.
In addition, funding will facilitate multiple education efforts designed to reach different populations within the District. For example, quarterly teacher trainings will be held to incorporate renewable energy content into the science and math lesson plans for schoolchildren, while other programs will develop resource materials, training sessions, and testing materials to ensure successful adoption and implementation of green building codes in the construction sector.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the District will receive an additional $11 million, for a total of more than $22 million.
ILLINOIS - $40,528,400 awarded
Illinois will improve energy efficiency and promote renewable energy projects by providing Recovery Act funding for energy efficiency retrofits and the biofuels industry. The state will provide grants to support new biomass manufacturing capacity or retrofits to existing facilities that will help reduce operating expenses and the environmental impact of biofuels manufacturing.
The state will also use Recovery Act SEP funding to provide grants to various entities including schools, public buildings, and industrial facilities to improve energy efficiency in new and existing buildings, facilities, equipment, and processes. Grants will fund multiple initiatives, including investments in energy efficient lighting, cooling, traffic signals, boilers and furnaces. Programs will look to leverage funding with outside sources and will specifically target large-scale energy users, in order to identify and prioritize energy efficiency measures that will result in the greatest return on investment.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $50 million in additional funding, for a total of over $101 million.
MARYLAND - $20,708,880 awarded
Maryland will employ its Recovery Act SEP funding to promote clean and efficient energy usage in the transportation, residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. To advance sustainability in transportation, Maryland will fund a variety of initiatives designed to boost consumer awareness, increase the availability of alternative fuels, and facilitate the deployment of hybrid electric and all-electric vehicles.
In the housing market for low- and moderate-income families, Maryland will provide grants to support cost-effective and environmentally responsible building retrofits. In addition, innovative public-financing programs such as the EmPOWERing Financing (EF) Initiative will enable property owners to leverage private capital in order to implement efficiency improvements.
Recovery Act funding will also support educational and workforce training efforts that will help familiarize the state’s workforce with important sustainable energy approaches. Specifically, Maryland will help fund training programs focused on the construction and building industries, including planning and building code officials, architects, engineers, and other stakeholders.
NORTH DAKOTA - $9,834,000 awarded
North Dakota will use its Recovery Act SEP funding to promote various energy efficiency and conservation efforts, including providing energy education resources for North Dakota’s agricultural and industrial sectors that will help farmers, ranchers, contractors, and building tradesmen reduce their energy use. North Dakota will offer training, technical assistance, and marketing and outreach support to promote the adoption of energy efficient construction practices and agricultural technologies, conservation techniques, and the use of clean renewable energy sources.
North Dakota will also lead by example, improving the energy efficiency of state buildings and installing renewable energy systems at state facilities. Funds will be used to create a statewide energy efficiency and renewable energy rebate program, in partnership with investor-owned, municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives. And the state will establish an Emergency High Efficiency Furnace Rebate Program, which will assist victims of the 2009 spring floods with the incremental cost of installing a high efficiency furnace to replace standard efficiency furnaces and heating systems. Grants up to $300 will be offered to individual homeowners who need to replace these systems as a result of the flooding around the state.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive over $12 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $24 million.
WYOMING - $9,976,400 million awarded
Wyoming will use its Recovery Act SEP funding to promote energy efficiency in buildings and homes across the state. The state will make grants to governmental and tribal entities, nonprofit organizations, and others for the purpose of retrofitting existing facilities to improve their energy efficiency by a minimum of 25 percent. The program will provide sufficient funding for nearly every community and county in Wyoming to fund an energy efficiency project.
Wyoming is also using Recovery Act funds to provide rebates to help middle-income homeowners that are not eligible for low-income weatherization assistance to increase the energy efficiency of their homes. Under the State Energy Program, the state expects to help 1,000 additional homeowners increase the energy efficiency of their homes. Homeowners will be responsible for 20% of the cost of efficiency improvements. Wyoming will also provide rebates of up to $5,000 to homeowners for installing residential renewable energy systems, including solar photovoltaic, wind and geothermal systems. The state estimates more than 500 renewable energy systems will be installed with Recovery Act funding across the state.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $12 million in additional funding, for a total of nearly $25 million.