U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu yesterday announced more than $54 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Nevada, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. 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 greenhouse gas emissions.
“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 today. 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 today:
NEVADA - $13,885,600 awarded today
The state of Nevada will use its Recovery Act SEP funds for a series of clean energy initiatives, including the creation of a new revolving loan fund, building retrofits, and transportation upgrades. The revolving loan fund will support community-scale and utility-scale renewable energy generation, energy efficiency and conservation projects, and energy saving performance contracting throughout the state. This financial mechanism will create a sustainable program that will provide loans for years to come, helping Nevada promote energy independence, while protecting the state’s environment.
Nevada also plans to implement energy efficiency retrofits in state buildings and K-12 schools across the state. Over $16 million will be invested in LED lighting, lighting control, window performance technologies, and renewable energy technologies to reduce energy costs and consumption in these buildings. Nevada will also use its funds to create an energy efficient traffic signals and street lights program. This program forms a partnership between the Nevada State Energy Office, the Nevada Department of Transportation, Regional Transportation Commissions, and the Nevada Department of Public Safety, to install energy-efficient LED traffic signals and street lights throughout the state, giving priority to high accident rate intersections. This funding will significantly reduce energy consumption and improve safety through greater visibility. Funding will also be provided for the adoption and implementation of the 2009 Residential and Commercial Building Codes.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $17 million in additional funding, for a total of nearly $35 million.
RHODE ISLAND - $9,584,000 awarded today
Rhode Island will use its Recovery Act State Energy Program funds to advance energy efficiency in the public, commercial, industrial, and residential sectors. Rhode Island will implement various commercial and industrial energy efficiency initiatives that will help employers lower energy bills and improve profitability. For the residential sector, Rhode Island will increase professional support for comprehensive household energy audits and energy efficiency improvements. The state will also use Recovery Act funding to upgrade the state's building energy codes to help realize energy savings in new residential and commercial buildings.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive almost $12 million in additional funding, for a total of nearly $24 million.
WISCONSIN - $22,195,200 awarded today
Wisconsin will use its Recovery Act SEP funding to coordinate and expand state activities and policy development that will achieve both state and federal goals of lessening dependence on fossil fuels, increasing renewable energy generation, and investing in clean energy manufacturing to create jobs. As part of its energy efficiency efforts, the state will invest in new programs to help existing industrial facilities adopt more energy efficient practices.
Wisconsin will also work to strengthen its manufacturing sector by investing in businesses that manufacture clean energy products and components, such as wind, solar, biofuels and advanced electrical storage systems. The state will invest in these advanced manufacturing areas and assist companies in retooling facilities or equipment to provide component parts and other critical needs for renewable energy systems and energy efficient technologies. Projects will be selected through a competitive process and may include advanced battery manufacturing, retrofitting manufacturing facilities to produce wind turbine components, fuel conversion projects from fossil fuels to biomass, and energy efficiency improvements at pulp and paper plants. Wisconsin will also implement a number of innovative financing strategies to make loans available to the widest possible audience.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive nearly $28 million in additional funding, for a total of over $55 million.
VERMONT - $8,799,600 awarded today
The state of Vermont will use its Recovery Act allocation to fund incentives to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency measures across the state in the public, private and residential sectors. The state will increase the development and deployment of cost-effective and environmentally sustainable electric power resources by offering grants and loans to residents, businesses, non-profits, government, and farms to help them install such renewable energy systems as solar, wind and geothermal.
The state also will establish a revolving loan and/or small grant program for public-serving non-profit or government institutions -- including K-12 school districts, colleges, and universities -- to implement energy efficiency measures or renewable energy projects.
In addition, Vermont will use SEP Recovery Act funds to install thermal solar renewable energy systems for heating and/or hot water to low-income residences. This effort will allow the state to continue to expand the weatherization program and realize greater energy savings.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive almost $11 million in additional funding, for a total of nearly $22 million