On August 14, 2009, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced more than $119 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“Recovery Act”) to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through DOE’s State Energy Program in Alabama, American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, North Dakota, and Wyoming. This latest round of funding accounts for 40 percent of these states’ total DOE State Energy Program stimulus funding authorized under the Recovery Act.
The Recovery Act appropriated $3.1 billion for the DOE State Energy Program to be managed and administered by each state’s energy department. DOE State Energy Program guidelines obligate the states to supplement existing or create new programs to, among other things, provide loans, grants, and incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy measures. DOE appropriates funds to states according to a specific schedule, gradually releasing additional funding as states draft and successfully implement State Energy Program plans. Entities are required to commit all funds within eighteen months from the effective date of the award. Previously, DOE provided Recovery Act funds and support for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The states receiving this latest DOE State Energy Program funding from the Recovery Act intend to use the money for the following programs:
Alabama’s $22,228,000 will be used to promote energy efficiency of businesses, schools, and correctional facilities and develop renewable energy resources in the state. The state will use funds to create a new energy revolving loan fund to increase the generation of renewable energy by providing low-interest loans for new and existing industries in the state. These loans will be used for the installation of renewable energy systems and the implementation of energy efficiency measures. Alabama will also direct State Energy Program funds toward energy efficiency retrofits in correctional facilities and schools.
American Samoa will use its $7,420,000 to expand the use of renewable energy as well as supplement weatherization funds to improve home energy efficiency for low-income residents. The territory will install a 1,000 kW photovoltaic solar-energy array near the Tafuna Power Station, nineteen smaller 28 kW solar arrays on the roofs of government and other buildings, and a solar water heating system at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center.
The District of Columbia’s $8,808,800 will be used to improve energy efficiency in government buildings and support numerous public energy education initiatives. Recovery Act funds will enable the District of Columbia to replace existing mechanical and electrical equipment at various DC properties with new energy efficient equipment and controls. State Energy Program funds will also be used for building retrofits including the installation of high-efficiency classroom HVAC units for 6 elementary schools.
Illinois’ $40,528,400 award will provide grants to support new biomass manufacturing capacity or retrofits to existing facilities that will help reduce operating expenses and the environmental impact of biofuels manufacturing. The state will also use the State Energy Program funding to provide grants to industrial facilities to improve energy efficiency in new and existing buildings, facilities, equipment, and processes. Grants will fund multiple initiatives, including investments in energy efficient lighting, cooling, traffic signals, boilers, and furnaces. Programs will look to leverage funding with outside sources and will specifically target large-scale energy users, in order to identify and prioritize energy efficiency measures that will result in the greatest return on investment.
Maryland will employ its $20,708,880 funding to promote clean and efficient energy usage in the transportation, residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Maryland also will fund a variety of initiatives designed to increase the availability of alternative fuels and facilitate the deployment of hybrid electric and all-electric vehicles. In the housing market for low- and moderate-income families, Maryland will provide grants to support cost-effective and environmentally responsible building retrofits. In addition, innovative public-financing programs such as the EmPOWERing Financing Initiative will enable property owners to leverage private capital in order to implement efficiency improvements.
North Dakota’s $9,834,000 will be used to provide energy education resources for North Dakota’s agricultural and industrial sectors that will help farmers, ranchers, contractors, and building tradesmen reduce their energy use. North Dakota will also use the funds to improve the energy efficiency of state buildings and create a statewide energy efficiency and renewable energy rebate program, in partnership with investor-owned, municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives.
Wyoming received $9,976,400 and will use the money for grants to governmental and tribal entities, nonprofit organizations, and others for the purpose of retrofitting existing facilities to improve their energy efficiency by a minimum of 25 percent. The state estimates more than 500 renewable energy systems will be installed with Recovery Act funding across the state.