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Biden Announces Energy-Efficiency Effort

Vice President Joe Biden announced the selection of 25 communities for up to $452 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to "ramp up" energy-efficiency building retrofits. Under the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE’s) Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative, communities, governments, private-sector companies, and non-profit organizations will work together on pioneering and innovative programs for concentrated and broad-based retrofits of neighborhoods, towns, and, eventually, states.

These partnerships will support large-scale retrofits and make energy efficiency accessible to hundreds of thousands of homeowners and businesses. The models created through this program are expected to save households and businesses about a $100 million annually in utility bills, while leveraging private-sector resources to create what funding recipients estimate will be about 30,000 jobs across the country during the next three years.

In addition to the $452 million ARRA investment, the 25 projects announced will leverage an estimated $2.8 billion from other sources during the next three years to retrofit hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across the country. Overall, the program funding was eight times oversubscribed, with more than $3.5 billion in applications received for the just over $450 million in ARRA funds available, indicating significant demand for investment in energy-saving and job-creating projects like these nationwide.

Grantees will employ financing models to make these savings accessible, such as by offering low and no-interest loans that are repaid through property tax and utility bills. In implementing these projects, grantees will deliver verified energy savings and incorporate sustainable business models to ensure that buildings will continue to be retrofitted after ARRA funds are spent. The DOE will use the lessons learned from these pilot programs to develop best-practice guides to comprehensive retrofit programs that can be adopted and implemented by other communities across the country.

Projects selected for the Retrofit Ramp-Up awards are planned to begin in fall 2010. Final award amounts are subject to negotiation. The governments and non-profit organizations selected for the awards are:

• Austin, Texas: $10 million
• Boulder County, Colo.: $25 million
• Camden, N.J.: $5 million
• Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning: $25 million
• Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, Ohio: $17 million
• Greensboro, N.C.: $5 million
• Indianapolis, Ind.: $10 million
• Kansas City, Mo.: $20 million
• Los Angeles County, Calif.: $30 million
• Lowell, Mass.: $5 million
• State of Maine: $30 million
• State of Maryland: $20 million
• State of Michigan: $30 million
• State of Missouri: $5 million
• Omaha, Neb.: $10 million
• State of New Hampshire: $10 million
• New York State Research and Development Authority: $40 million
• Philadelphia, Pa.: $25 million
• Phoenix, Ariz.: $25 million
• Portland, Ore.: $20 million
• San Antonio, Texas: $10 million
• Seattle, Wash.: $20 million
• Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance: $20 million
• Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Ohio: $15 million
• Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp.: $20 million

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