The U.S. Department of Energy delivered more than $119 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects last week to a variety of states and territories, including: American Samoa, the District of Columbia, and the states of Alabama, Illinois, Maryland, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
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 carbon pollution.
The funds will support renewable energy projects; loan, grant, and rebate programs; energy education, training, technical assistance, marketing, and outreach; and energy efficiency upgrades for low-income households, public buildings, schools, industrial facilities, tribes, and nonprofit organizations.
For example, Illinois, which has received $40.5 million, will spend the funds on energy efficiency retrofits and support for the state's biofuels industry. The state will provide grants to support new biofuels production facilities or retrofits to existing biofuel facilities that will help reduce their operating expenses and environmental impact.
In addition, Illinois will join Alabama, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C., in spending a portion of the SEP money on energy efficiency upgrades for government buildings. Meanwhile, North Dakota will create a special rebate program to help victims of the 2009 spring floods to purchase high-efficiency furnaces when replacing their heating systems.
The funds are part of the Obama Administration's national strategy to support job growth. The Recovery Act appropriated $3.1 billion to the State Energy Program. For the states and territories, 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.
Many additional states have received funding under ARRA. For details on other states, see RenewableEnergyWorld.com's recent feature, US Government Continues To Fund Renewable Energy R&D.
This article was first published in the U.S. Department of Energy's EERE Network News and was reprinted with permission from Renewable Energy World.