Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding nearly $40 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to Florida and Maine to support clean-energy projects. Under the 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.
The recent awards to 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 along to local cities and counties not eligible for direct EECBG awards from the DOE. The EECBG program was funded by the Recovery 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 the 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 DOE, and complying with environmental regulations.
Throughout the program's implementation, the DOE will provide 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 Grant Program Website.
The DOE has announced that the following states are receiving their state-level EECBG awards:
Florida will use its EECBG funding to promote energy efficiency across the state, including competitive grants to local cities and counties, energy retrofits for existing state buildings, rebates for plug-in electric vehicles, and education and training initiatives that will help reduce energy use and save money statewide. In addition to awards to smaller cities and counties, Recovery Act funding will help support the Sunshine State Building Initiative, which will fund the installation of a variety of energy-conservation measures at existing state buildings. This will reduce energy bills for taxpayers, while helping the state meet its goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions 10 percent by 2012.
The state also will establish a program to provide rebates for the purchase of hybrid plug-in electric-conversion kits for residential vehicles and commercial fleets. Converted vehicles will be six times more fuel efficient than standard gasoline cars, achieving roughly 100 mpg and reducing oil consumption by up to 70 percent compared with conventional gasoline vehicles. Additional EECBG funds will be used for education and outreach initiatives, including energy-code training, programs to improve energy-code compliance and effectiveness measurement, and education efforts. These programs will create green jobs across the state.
Maine will use its EECBG funds to promote the development of clean and sustainable energy infrastructure, laying the groundwork for a more prosperous economy while saving or creating more than 100 green jobs in the state. Approximately 60 percent of the state's funds will be competitively awarded to local cities and counties for energy-saving projects, such as financial incentive programs, energy-efficiency retrofits, transportation programs, energy-distribution measures, and the installation of renewable-energy technologies on government buildings.
The remaining EECBG funds will be combined with Recovery Act funding from the State Energy Program to support the Large Project Impact Fund that will provide grants for large-scale commercial projects. Eligible activities for these awards will include improved insulation, air sealing, efficiency improvements in heating sources and distribution, efficiency controls and automation, efficiency upgrades in glazing, and other cost-effective measures.