$3.2B Available in Block Grants for Local Energy Efficiency Upgrades

$3.2B Available in Block Grants for Local Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Further energy efficiency project funds from the U.S. government's stimulus package were released this week by the Obama administration in the form of $3.2 billion in block grants for cities, counties, states, territories and Native American tribes.

On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the availability of money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program.

"These investments will save taxpayer dollars and create jobs in communities around the country," Biden said in a statement. "Local leaders will have the flexibility in how they put these resources to work -- but we will hold them accountable for making the investments quickly and wisely to spur the local economy and cut energy use."

The money being made available for block grants is in addition to the $8 billion in recovery act funds for weatherization and energy efficiency projects that the DOE released to states two weeks ago.

Of the $3.2 billion in block grant funds, $1.9 billion is to go to cities and counties; $770 million goes to states, which administer the money for counties and cities not large enough to directly receive DOE funding; and tribal governments get more than $54 million. The remaining $456 million is for local energy efficiency projects that will be funded on a competitive basis in solicitation that will be made later.

"The block grants are a major investment in energy solutions that will strengthen America's economy and create jobs at the local level," said Chu.

For running totals on how much stimulus money is being made available through the DOE, click here or visit energy.gov/recovery.

The block grant money is to 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 eligible efforts 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; and deployment of cogeneration (Combined Heat and Power) and district heating and cooling systems.

Grant recipients will be required to report on the number of jobs their funded projects create or retain, energy savings, the amount of renewable energy capacity installed, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and funds leveraged.