U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced more than $51 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Alaska, Guam and New Jersey. 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.”
The states and territories receiving funding will now have received 50 percent of their total Recovery Act SEP funding. The remaining 50 percent of funds will be released once the states 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 and territories are receiving awards:
ALASKA - $14,116,000 awarded
The state of Alaska will use its Recovery Act SEP funding to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy across the state, particularly in Alaska’s many rural communities. The Alaska Energy Authority's Alternative Energy and Efficiency Program (AEEE) will focus on outreach efforts and technical assistance to improve efficiency in schools, commercial buildings, industrial users, and large local facilities. In addition, AEEE will help communities develop pilot projects that integrate electrical and heating needs into a combined energy system powered by renewable energy. These systems will reduce diesel use, save money on the cost of energy and decrease a community’s carbon footprint.
In addition, the state will expand its Whole Community Retrofit program, which conducts energy retrofit assessments on community and residential buildings in rural Alaska. Once recommendations have been approved, the program works to implement the retrofits, reducing energy use and energy costs for rural communities across the state. Alaska will also establish a Residential Renewable Energy Rebate Program to provide rebates of up to $3,750 per household when homeowners install specific renewable energy systems on their homes.
Alaska is receiving 50 percent of its total State Energy Program (SEP) funding authorized under the Recovery Act today. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $14 million in additional funding, for a total of over $28 million.
GUAM - $7,639,200 awarded
Guam will use its Recovery Act SEP funds to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy though energy efficiency retrofits, strong policy leadership, and public education efforts. In public buildings across Guam, the territory’s Energy Office will conduct energy audits and put in place cost-effective energy retrofits. In addition, lighting efficiency standards will be incorporated as part of the procurement regulations, and public officials will be trained to maximize the energy efficiency of lighting installations.
In order to set a strong policy direction in the territory, Guam continues to improve on its energy code and has teamed up with other territories and Hawaii to develop a Tropical Energy Code. The territory will also assess local renewable energy potential and deploy pilot projects, which will provide data that can be used to promote commercial market development for various renewable energy technologies.
Public education of residents, businesses, students, and even tourists will also form an important part of Guam’s overall energy strategy. In particular, Guam will promote greater use of public transportation options and launch a "Do Your Part, Drive Smart" campaign that will educate drivers about fuel efficiency.
In order to ensure accountability and effective management of SEP funds, the Guam Energy Office will institute a task force to coordinate effectively between local and federal agencies and track project spending.
Guam is receiving 40 percent of its total State Energy Program (SEP) funding authorized under the Recovery Act today, adding to the initial 10 percent of funding that was previously available for training and planning purposes. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the territory will receive more than $9 million in additional funding, for a total of over $19 million.
NEW JERSEY - $29,457,200 awarded
New Jersey will use its Recovery Act SEP funding to improve energy efficiency and promote the use of renewable energy across the state’s economic sectors. New Jersey’s Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency will implement several financial incentive programs that will help support residential solar, residential energy efficiency and multi-family energy efficiency improvements
The state will also use Recovery Act funds to expand its existing Clean Energy Program (CEP), administered through the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. With the expanded program, the state will be able to offer energy efficiency support to consumers that are not currently eligible for funds. The Clean Energy Program will work with a variety of energy efficiency initiatives, including the Home Performance with Energy Star Program, the Pay for Performance Program, the Local Government Energy Audit Program, and the Direct Install Program.
Recovery Act funds will also support comprehensive energy audits and energy efficiency upgrades for three state institutions with multi-building campuses that provide various services for developmentally disabled citizens. New Jersey will put in place energy conservation measures that maximize energy cost savings, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission reductions, job creation, and the public benefit.
New Jersey is receiving 40 percent of its total State Energy Program (SEP) funding authorized under the Recovery Act today, adding to the initial 10 percent of funding that was previously available for training and planning purposes. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive nearly $37 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $73 million.