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U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu recently announced more than $154 million in Recovery Act funding to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in California, Missouri, New Hampshire and North Carolina. Under the DOE’s State Energy Program (SEP), states 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 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.”
The following states are receiving 40% of their total SEP funding authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA): California, Missouri, New Hampshire and North Carolina. With this announcement, these states will now have received 50% of their total Recovery Act SEP funding. The initial 10% of total funding was previously available to states to support planning activities; the remaining 50% of funds will be released once states meet the reporting, oversight and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act.
Under the Recovery Act, the DOE expanded the types of activities eligible for SEP funding, which 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 to help achieve national energy independence goals and promote local economic recovery. States use these grants at the state and local level to create green jobs, address state energy priorities, and adopt emerging renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
California ($90.4 million) will leverage its program funding to provide a statewide energy efficiency retrofit program and cost-effective clean energy systems for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings and facilities. The revenue savings that result from these efficiency measures will provide an ongoing source of revenue to continue implementing additional cost-effective efficiency measures. Additionally, California plans to develop and implement a public education, marketing, and outreach effort to ensure that the benefits and value of energy efficiency are well understood.
Also as part of California’s State Energy Program, the California Energy Commission is investing $15 million through June 30, 2012, in building a workforce to meet alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technology needs through its Green Jobs Training Program. The Energy Commission will expand on this plan and will leverage existing partnerships with $20 million in Recovery Act funding to create a more extensive green workforce focused on energy efficiency and clean energy sources, including wind and solar energy. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $113 million in additional funding, for a total of $226 million for the entire program.
Missouri ($22.9 million) will expand its existing Energy Center program, which includes a variety of home efficiency programs, building energy codes, and education and training initiatives. The funding will go toward encouraging Missourians to reduce their energy consumption by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes, industrial facilities, agricultural operations, transportation, schools and local governments.
Under the program, the state will focus on finding energy efficiency opportunities in its five most energy-intensive industrial/manufacturing categories: aluminum, chemicals, food products, metal casting, and forest products (including paper). These energy-intensive industries will be examined to determine specific, targeted activities to increase energy efficiency. The state intends to increase industrial and manufacturing energy efficiency through a multi-faceted program that may include energy audits, rebates and low-interest loans, workshops, and the development of a web-based audit tool.
The Energy Center will also play a key role in providing training to ensure a workforce capable of assessing and deploying energy efficiency technologies. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $28.6 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $57 million.
New Hampshire ($10.3 million) will implement several energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives with funding from the Recovery Act. New Hampshire plans to include programs that will increase building efficiency for businesses, commercial enterprises, institutions, and non-profits through building codes and competitive loan and grant programs. The state will provide technical and financial assistance to these businesses and institutions as they seek to reduce their energy use and costs through a variety of measures, including more energy-efficient processes.
The New Hampshire SEP will also support energy efficiency upgrades to 75 state-owned buildings and 13 college and university campuses, saving taxpayers money and reducing energy use across the state. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $12 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $25.8 million.
North Carolina ($30.4 million) will establish several programs to increase renewable energy projects and energy efficiency in government, commercial, and residential buildings under its State Energy Program. The North Carolina SEP will use Recovery Act funding to establish revolving loan programs, competitive grant programs, and education and training programs designed to spur investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. A new revolving loan fund will be created to provide no- and low-interest loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations, local and state governments, and schools and universities, along with competitive grants that will be available to businesses and organizations with innovative clean energy projects.
The state will also develop a multi-level training and workforce program through its community college and university systems to meet the needs of an emerging green economy. This education and training will focus on energy efficiency and clean energy technologies and will provide participants with skills to solve energy problems, reduce energy usage, save energy costs, and access state and federal funding opportunities. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive $38 million in additional funding, for a total of $76 million.
Visit www.energy.gov for more information.