Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced last week that nearly $72 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was being awarded to seven states and territories to support energy efficiency and conservation activities. Under DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, these states will implement programs that lower energy use, reduce carbon pollution, and create green jobs locally.
“This funding will allow states across the country to make major investments in energy solutions that will strengthen America's economy and create jobs at the local level,” said Secretary Chu. “It will also promote some of the cheapest, cleanest and most reliable energy technologies we have - energy efficiency and conservation - which can be deployed immediately. Local communities can now make strategic investments to help meet the nation's long term clean energy and climate goals.”
States and territories receiving funding include: Idaho, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Dakota and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The 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.
Transparency and accountability are important priorities for the EECBG program and all Recovery Act projects. 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 Department of Energy, 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.
For a full list of awards to date, visit the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants program.
The following states and territories are receiving their state-level EECBG awards:
IDAHO - $9,593,500 awarded
Idaho will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to improve energy efficiency of local communities throughout the state. The majority of the state’s EECBG funding will provide subgrants to city and county governments to undertake a wide variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including energy audits, buildings and transportation efficiency programs, and installations of renewable energy technologies on government buildings. The state’s Office of Energy Resources, which will administer the program, will collaborate with the Association of Idaho Counties and the Idaho Association of Cities to establish procedures for selecting projects and ensuring accountability. The state will also use a portion of today’s award to help cities and counties adopt the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. Specifically, the state will award scholarships to code enforcement officials to receive training and provide grants to cities and counties to support code adoption and enforcement. Idaho’s Recovery Act-funded projects will lead to substantial energy and cost savings, and save or create more than 100 green jobs statewide.
NEVADA - $9,593,500 awarded
Nevada will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to undertake a variety of projects to enhance energy efficiency and expand the use of renewable energy statewide. These projects will reduce the state's energy consumption and fossil fuel emissions, saving Nevadans money in energy costs and creating green jobs across the state. Sixty percent of the funds Nevada receives today will go to local governments to implement community efficiency projects. EECBG funds will also allow Nevada to retrofit 200 emergency vehicles throughout the state with idle-reduction technologies, which will lower fossil fuel emissions. Remaining Recovery Act funds will be used to install energy management systems in state buildings, replace inefficient traffic signals and street lighting throughout rural Nevada, and provide energy management training for government officials.
NEW JERSEY - $14,400,700 awarded
New Jersey will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to deploy programs and projects that will reduce fossil fuel emissions, decrease overall energy use, and improve energy efficiency at the state and local level. These Recovery Act-funded activities will directly support the policies set forth by the state’s Global Warming Response Act and the 2008 Energy Master Plan. The New Jersey State Energy Office, which will administer the funding, will pass along more than seventy percent of its funds to cities and counties that were not eligible for direct EECBG awards. Local governments will be able to use these subgrants to cover the cost of improving the energy efficiency of existing municipal buildings. The state will also use its EECBG funding to perform retrofits of state facilities. Projects will be selected from a pool of approximately 200 facilities based on several criteria, including potential savings in energy costs, amount of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, number of jobs to be created, and ability to commit funds in a timely manner. As a result of today’s Recovery Act award, New Jersey expects to substantially lower its energy use and fossil fuel emissions, as well as save or create more than 150 green jobs.
OREGON - $9,593,500 awarded
Oregon will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to reduce total energy use in the state by deploying energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects in the building, institutional, commercial, transportation, and public sectors. The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) will provide at least 60 percent of the state’s EECBG funding for cities and counties to establish efficiency and conservation projects in their communities. ODOE will assist in prioritizing funding and will provide local governments access to technical consultants to help in implementing their programs. In addition, ODEO will facilitate the development of community energy plans and collaborate with various stakeholders to make recommendations for enhancing the state energy code. With the remaining Recovery Act funds, the Oregon Department of Transportation will sponsor several exemplary solar transportation projects.
PUERTO RICO - $9,593,500 awarded
Puerto Rico will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to evaluate and implement efficiency and conservation opportunities throughout the commonwealth. Funds will go to promoting community development and public education programs that create local green jobs. Puerto Rico’s Energy Affairs Administration (EIA) will administer the Recovery Act funding and will pass along the majority of the funding to the commonwealth’s 37 municipalities that were not eligible for direct EECBG grants. These awards will help local governments optimize energy use in buildings, which will reduce energy costs for local communities. Competitively awarded funding will also be available to nonprofit organizations for energy efficient retrofits.
Puerto Rico will use additional EECBG funds to improve the energy efficiency of its own facilities. Projects will be selected with consideration for their historical importance, as well as their ability to deliver a significant return on efficiency investments. EIA will use the remaining funds for planning, oversight, quality assurance, and other tasks needed to effectively administer these Recovery Act funds.
SOUTH DAKOTA - $9,593,500 awarded
South Dakota will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to enhance the energy efficiency of the state’s building structures and to progress toward an overall goal of reducing 1990 levels of energy consumption by 25 percent by 2012. The State Energy Office will competitively distribute 60 percent of the funding to local governments using measures such as payback periods on the improvements, energy savings, job creation, long term sustainability of the project, maximum benefit to the community, and local financial participation. The remaining 40 percent of the state’s funding will provide the capital for a competitive loan and grant program open to public and private entities, K-12 schools, non-profit organizations benefiting the community, and any local governmental projects not previously funded. Approximately 75 percent of this funding will be distributed in the form of zero-interest loans. The state’s EECBG funding will lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduce energy use, and save or create over 100 full-time jobs.
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS - $9,593,500 awarded
The U.S. Virgin Islands will use its Recovery Act EECBG funding to sponsor a variety of projects to reduce energy costs, improve the efficiency of energy use and production, increase fuel diversity and reliability, and promote clean energy on the islands. The Virgin Islands Energy Office (VIEO), which will administer these funds, will use a portion of the funding to purchase and install a renewable landfill-gas-to-energy treatment system. The territory will also put funding towards reconfiguring the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority's transmission and distribution system. This project will allow excess power loads to be transferred to more efficient feeders on the grid, thereby increasing savings to all ratepayers. The territory’s remaining Recovery Act funds will pay for upgrades to lighting fixtures on streets, at schools, and at bus shelters; technical assistance; and the purchase and installation of three 275 kW class 3 wind turbines and a 100 kW solar photovoltaic panel system to supplement power for the government-operated airport on the island of St. Croix. Projects funded with today's award will lead to substantial energy and cost savings, increase the U.S. Virgin Islands’ energy security, and reduce fossil fuel emissions, while creating green jobs across the territory.