Obama Administration Awards More than $141 Million for State Energy Programs in Six States and Territories

July 10, 2009

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu today announced more than $141 million in Recovery Act funding to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Hawaii, Maine, Nebraska, New Mexico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Texas. Under DOE's State Energy Program (SEP), states and territories have proposed statewide plans that prioritize energy savings, create or retain jobs, increase the use of renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This program is part of the Obama Administration's national strategy to support job growth, while making a historic down payment on clean energy and conservation.

"This funding will provide an important boost for state economies, help to put Americans back to work, and move us toward energy independence," said Secretary 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 and territories are receiving 40% of their total SEP funding authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act today: Hawaii, Maine, Nebraska, New Mexico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Texas.

With today's announcement, these states and territories 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 reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act.

Activities eligible for SEP funding 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 SEP to help promote energy efficiency and clean energy deployment, as well as to support local economic recovery. States use these grants at the state and local level to create green jobs and address state energy priorities.

Transparency and accountability are important priorities for SEP and all Recovery Act projects. Throughout the program's implementation, DOE will provide strong oversight at the local, state, and national level, while emphasizing with states the need to quickly award funds to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies.

The following states are receiving awards today:

HAWAII – $10,372,000 awarded today

Hawaii will use its Recovery Act funding for the SEP to improve energy efficiency and expand the deployment of renewable energy technologies, which will help advance mutual state and national goals for creating and maintaining jobs, reducing oil dependence, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Hawaii's energy efficiency strategy will directly fund high performance buildings, government and residential building retrofits, and energy efficiency measures in the state's hospitality industry. The program will also provide technical assistance and training to building owners, developers, design professionals, and county building code officials to ensure that new and renovated buildings are designed and built with high efficiency measures. Hawaii will target bringing buildings to ENERGY STAR and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive almost $13 million in additional funding, for a total of nearly $26 million.

MAINE – $10,922,000 awarded today

Maine will use its Recovery Act funding to promote or expand energy efficiency in the commercial, industrial, and residential sectors throughout the state to save energy while creating and saving jobs. In order to reduce energy use at large industrial facilities in the state, Maine will offer financial assistance to support targeted technical and engineering studies at the facilities. Additionally, funding will go to expanding a state program to provide energy audits to businesses, allowing for additional businesses to identify opportunities for potential energy savings.

Maine will also improve energy efficiency in the state by jump-starting the implementation of more energy efficient building codes. The state will also increase funding for a program to help builders and business owners invest in up-front efficiencies in the design and construction of new commercial buildings. In the residential sector, Maine will expand its home weatherization program to include families above the low-income eligibility threshold for the Weatherization Assistance Program. Recovery Act funds will be used to provide home energy audits and weatherization assistance, and will fund education and training programs to build a new green workforce to provide weatherization and energy efficiency services across the state.

After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $13 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $27 million.

NEBRASKA – $12,364,000 awarded today

Nebraska will implement several programs using Recovery Act SEP funding to improve energy efficiency and advance renewable energy within the state. The Nebraska State Energy Program will reduce energy consumption, increase energy security and create jobs through incentives for energy efficiency measures in residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, and by providing consumer information on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Programs for the commercial and industrial sector will target large energy users and provide financial assistance through low-interest loans. The state will also increase energy efficiency in residential and commercial sectors by updating and enforcing building energy codes and expanding energy efficiency training.

After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $15 million in additional funding, for a total of over $30 million for the entire program.

NEW MEXICO – $12,728,400 awarded today

New Mexico will use its Recovery Act funding to implement several energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in buildings and the transportation sector. The state aims to reduce petroleum consumption through various financial incentives to encourage the purchase of new fuel-efficient vehicles, the use of alternative fuels and biofuels, and investments in alternative fuel and biofuel infrastructure. The state will also direct Recovery Act funding to increase building efficiency. The program includes initiatives to expand residential weatherization assistance to families above the low-income eligibility threshold for the Weatherization Assistance Program, public building energy efficiency retrofits, commercial building audits and renovations, combined heat and power projects in the industrial sector, and the adoption of energy codes. Both the buildings and transportation programs include provisions to educate citizens about energy issues and provide statewide training for professionals in order to reduce energy consumption across residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.

After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive almost $16 million in additional funding, for a total of nearly $32 million.

NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS – $7,460,400 awarded today

The Northern Mariana Islands will distribute its SEP Recovery Act funding to several initiatives to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. These initiatives include incorporating energy efficiency technologies and practices in buildings and providing for the development, implementation and enforcement of energy policies throughout the government of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Islands will also use Recovery Act funds to establish an energy education program, providing schools and the general public with information about energy efficiency concepts, applications, and scientific studies. Consistent with Recovery Act goals, each of these initiatives will help reduce energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases, while creating or maintaining jobs.

After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the territory will receive more than $9 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $18 million.

TEXAS – $87,512,800 awarded today

Texas will use its Recovery Act funding to increase energy efficiency and expand the use of renewable energy in the public sector, while also providing information resources that will empower Texans from across the state to achieve energy, emissions, and cost savings for years to come. Capitalizing on the successful LoanSTAR program, Texas will introduce a revolving loan program that will enable public facilities to implement building efficiency measures. Recovery Act funds will also be used for competitive grants to state agencies, communities, schools, and hospitals to install and demonstrate solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal energy technologies.

Recovery Act funding will also support a program focused on transportation improvements that will allow schools, hospitals, and other public entities to modernize traffic signaling equipment and facilitate the wider deployment of alternative fuels.

In addition, the state will undertake an outreach campaign that will provide a unified and credible source of energy information to a wide audience of Texans to help clearly lay out the connections between energy savings, emissions reductions and jobs creation. The state also aims to establish Energy Sector Training centers that will help equip Texans with the skills they need to gain employment in the growing green jobs sector.

After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $109 million, for a total of nearly $219 million.

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