If pressed, most mayors across the United States would admit to having a “wish list” of special projects they would like to accomplish if the money was ever available.
Well, up in the iconic community of North Pole, Alaska, (population 2,226) the city leaders have made their energy efficiency upgrade wish list, and now state auditors are “checking it twice” to see which projects the city will be able to complete in 2012 using funds from the state’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This can be critical in a city that sees winter temperatures as cold as -67F.
The State of Alaska Energy Authority has had teams of auditors from energy services company Ameresco journeying all across the state this year analyzing submitted EECBG project lists from eligible communities and making the hard decisions about which projects they will be able to help see to fruition. North Pole, like many Alaskan communities, built most of their public infrastructure around 30 years ago, when energy was cheap, attitudes were different and energy saving technologies were less effective than those available today.
The city is hoping the $100,000 in EECBG funds, plus $10,000 in city matching funds, will provide the frosty community with enough start-up funding to improve the energy efficiency of several key city facilities, including: the North Pole City Hall and police station (both on Snowman Lane, of course); the fire station; fire annex and the main public works building.
The state should be able to tell the city by spring which projects have been approved, so they can keep their New Year’s resolution to keep warm, conserve energy, and reduce taxpayer energy costs.