WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced more than $96 million in Recovery Act funding to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and West Virginia. Under DOE's State Energy Program, states have proposed statewide plans that prioritize energy savings, create or retain jobs, increase the use of renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This initiative 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 are receiving 40 percent of their total State Energy Program (SEP) funding authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act today: Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and West Virginia.
With today's announcement, these states will now have received 50 percent 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.
Under the Recovery Act, DOE expanded the types of activities eligible for State Energy Program funding, which 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 State Energy Program to help achieve national energy independence goals and promote local economic recovery. States use these grants at the state and local level to create green jobs, address state energy priorities, and adopt emerging renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
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:
OHIO - $38.4 million awarded today
The Ohio State Energy Program will include several programs to increase the energy efficiency of businesses and industry, while promoting deployment of clean energy projects that will help to improve the cost-effectiveness and economic stability of businesses and industry in the state. Ohio will develop a revolving loan program to improve access to capital for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through a public-private partnership using SEP dollars in tandem with debt or equity investment participation. This low-interest financing would be made available for a variety of renewable energy projects and would help to expand the availability of financing based on energy savings, including for smaller commercial entities.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $48 million in additional funding, for a total of $96 million.
OREGON - $16.8 million awarded today
Oregon will use funding from the Recovery Act to fund energy efficiency improvements, develop renewable energy resources, and ensure environmental protections through the established State Energy Program. The state will focus on public buildings to most effectively use its existing expertise and programs, while also providing an opportunity for government to take a leadership role in demonstrating innovations in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $21 million in additional funding, for a total of $42 million.
VIRGINIA - $28 million awarded today
Virginia will leverage funding from the Recovery Act funds with funding from non-federal sources to support several programs aimed at spurring investment in residential, commercial, and industrial energy efficiency, as well as renewable energy projects. Under the State Energy Program, the Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program will receive funding to encourage energy efficiency improvements and retrofits. Homeowners will be eligible for rebates when they replace major systems equipment, such as central air conditioning, insulation, furnaces, windows, lighting upgrades, and programmable thermostats that result in energy savings for the home.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $35 million in additional funding, for a total of over $70 million.
WEST VIRGINIA - $13.1 million awarded today
West Virginia will use its SEP funding provided by the Recovery Act to implement six programs to improve energy efficiency in state buildings. These programs will fund upgrades in state administrative office buildings, hospitals, heath care facilities, laboratories, schools, colleges and universities, and armories. Upgrades will include replacing or improving lighting systems, windows, HVAC systems, boilers, and control systems. West Virginia will also create the Energy Efficiency for Businesses Revolving Loan Program to provide financial assistance to businesses to support energy efficiency investments.
SEP funding will also go toward creating a Green Collar Jobs Training program to provide West Virginians with the education, training and skills necessary for employment in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $16 million in additional funding, for a total of over $32 million.