Energy Dept. Shells Out Another Half-Billion Dollars in Stimulus Funds

Energy Dept. Shells Out Another Half-Billion Dollars in Stimulus Funds

Although the news on stimulus funding has been somewhat quieter in recent weeks as the nation's attention has focused more on healthcare reform and the overall health of the economy, the U.S. Department of Energy in the past week showed that stimulus funds are still flowing from Washington to the rest of the country.

Projects announced by Energy Secretary Steven Chu supply $531 million in total funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to a number of projects focused on geothermal energy and energy efficiency.

Last week, the DOE started the ball rolling with $338 million dollars in investments for projects to speed the production of geothermal energy around the country. The funds will go to 123 projects in 39 states, covering exploration and drilling projects, larger-scale demonstration projects, research and data collection.

The largest slice of the funding goes to AltaRock Energy, which is receiving nearly $25 million for an enhanced geothermal system demonstration project to be installed in the Newberry Volcanic Monument in Bend, Ore. The Arizona State Geological Survey will receive nearly $18 million for a data collection project aimed at developing state-specific geothermal energy information for 40 states.
The full list of geothermal projects is available from the DOE website [PDF].

In the first of two stimulus funding announcements yesterday, the Department of Energy allotted over $155 million to fund industrial energy efficiency projects at 41 locations across the country. The funds will go to a mix of individual companies, university research centers and regional programs, all aimed and making industrial operations more energy efficient.

“To remain globally competitive, American industry needs to be energy efficient. The funding for industrial energy efficiency technologies announced today will support a robust American industrial sector and help to usher in a clean energy economy,” Energy Secretary Chu said in a statement. “Many companies already realize that improving efficiency saves money while helping the environment. These projects will make energy efficiency technologies more widely available, cutting energy use and reducing carbon pollution across the country.”

The companies receiving a total of $149.3 million in funding from the DOE are:

• Texas Medical Center Central Heating and Cooling Services Company ;
• Seattle Steam Company ;
• Rhode Island LFG Genco, LLC ;
• Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. ;
• Ridgewood Renewable Power, LLC ;
• ArcelorMittal USA ;
• Verso Paper Corporation ;
• The Dow Chemical Company ;
• Clean Tech Partners

ArcelorMittal will get the largest check from this investment, with $31.6 million going to a project that will use waste gas from a blast furnace in its East Chicago, Ind., steel mill to fuel a power-generating boiler for the site. The second-largest project funded yesterday is one at Middletown, Ohio-based Air Products and Chemicals, which also aims to capture blast furnace gas for power generation, and is expected to save 2.7 trillion BTUs per year.

The full list of energy efficiency projects is also available from the DOE website [PDF].

The final announcement of stimulus funds allotted yesterday by the Department of Energy sends $38 million to four states for energy efficiency and energy conservation projects. Alaska, Kansas, Utah and West Virginia will each receive just over $9.5 million for local projects, including:

• Local energy efficiency projects in Alaskan communities that face high power costs;
Energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy projects in Kansas;
• Funding for city- and county-level energy efficiency strategies, as well as retrofits and renewable energy projects in Utah; and
• Local energy retrofits across West Virginia

The announcements come as the government reports on the impacts the stimulus has had to date. Last Friday, the website announced that the $150 billion in stimulus funds had to date created or saved about 650,000 jobs, which the administration said confirms its projections for 3.5 million jobs to be created or saved over the three years and $787 billion in investments from stimulus funds.