DOE Awards $454 Million for Clean Energy in 18 States
DOE announced in late June its award of more than $454 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in 18 states. Under DOE's State Energy Program, states have proposed plans to prioritize energy savings, create or retain jobs, increase the use of renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The funds will go toward a wide variety of renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, including state programs offering grants, loans, energy audits, education, and training. The programs will support energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy installations at schools, colleges, universities, state-owned buildings, homes, small businesses, commercial buildings, farms, hospitals, health care facilities, and even industrial facilities. The funds will also support renewable energy resource assessments, alternative fuels programs, and efforts to develop building energy codes. The 18 states include Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.
Specific efforts supported by the new funding include California's Green Jobs Training Program, which will receive $15 million in funds from the California Energy Commission, combined with $20 million in Recovery Act funds. Idaho will create new zoning regulations to encourage the development of more renewable energy facilities. Minnesota's State Energy Information Center will organize Clean Energy Resource Teams comprised of local organizations and citizens to perform outreach and communications about the state's programs. Missouri will support energy efficiency improvements for the state's most energy-intensive industries. West Virginia will launch a Green Collar Jobs Training program to provide training for jobs in energy efficiency. And Utah will use funding to collect more accurate data about the potential renewable energy resources in the state that can then be used to identify potential Renewable Energy Zones. Utah will also offer free insulation upgrades for low-income housing and will provide rebates to builders of high-performance buildings.
The funds are part of the Obama Administration's national strategy to support job growth while making a historic down payment on clean energy. The Recovery Act appropriated $3.1 billion to the State Energy Program, giving priority to achieving national goals of energy independence while helping to stimulate local economies. For the 14 states, the new funds represent 40% of the State Energy Program funds available to them under the Recovery Act, following an initial 10% of the funds that were awarded to support planning activities. The second half of the funds will be released when the states meet the reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act. See the DOE press releases on the funding for California, Missouri, New Hampshire, and North Carolina; Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, and West Virginia; and the other 10 states.