Obama Administration Announces $3.2 Billion in Funding for Local Energy Efficiency Improvements
March 2009 - Energy Efficiency
Vice President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently announced plans to invest $3.2 billion in energy efficiency and conservation projects in U.S. cities, counties, states, territories and Native American tribes.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will provide formula grants for projects that reduce total energy use and fossil fuel emissions, and improve energy efficiency nationwide.
The funding will support energy audits and energy efficiency retrofits in residential and commercial buildings, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections, and the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements.
Other activities eligible for use of grant funds include transportation programs that conserve energy, projects to reduce and capture methane and other greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, renewable energy installations on government buildings, energy efficient traffic signals and street lights, deployment of Combined Heat and Power and district heating and cooling systems, and others.
Cities and counties will receive nearly $1.9 billion under the Program, and states and territories will receive nearly $770 million. States will receive and administer funds for those counties and cities that are not large enough to qualify for direct Department of Energy (DOE) funding. More than $54 million will flow directly to Tribal governments.
Up to $456 million of this funding is planned to be made available under a separate competitive solicitation for local energy efficiency projects. That solicitation will be released at a later date.
To ensure accountability, the DOE will provide guidance to and require grant recipients to report on the number of jobs created or retained, energy saved, renewable energy capacity installed, greenhouse gas emissions reduced, and funds leveraged. Funding is based on a formula that accounts for population and energy use.