National Impact of SEP Funding

State Energy Program National Funding Allocations

Since 2010, the State Energy Program (SEP) has provided more than $540 million to states and territories through formula and competitive funding. This funding is used by state energy offices (SEO) to pursue projects, initiatives, and technical assistance focused on clean energy, energy efficiency, and energy security.

Across the United States, SEP funding has assisted with

  • Retrofitting 45,000 buildings with energy efficiency upgrades. This adds up to about 250.2 million square feet of building space (about 4,344 American football fields worth of space).
  • Creating or retaining more than 43,000 jobs.
  • Holding nearly 43,000 virtual and in-person workshops and training, leading to more than 4.7 million people trained in the clean energy and energy efficiency industries.

Energy and Cost Savings From SEP

For every dollar the federal government invests in SEP, governments, businesses, and households cumulatively save $4.50 per year from reduced energy bills. Total energy savings in a typical year equal 10 million British thermal units (MMBtu). This equals enough energy to power 273,000 American homes for an entire year. SEP estimates that the lifetime energy cost savings through a typical year of the program equal $95 million.

SEP Investment

Understanding the Numbers

  • 250 million square feet—This data is grantee-reported and represents the most updated sum of building space retrofitted since 2010. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) uses federal reporting systems to capture and manage formula (annual) grant data for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories.
  • $4.50—This number is from a 2015 Oak Ridge National Laboratory Evaluation that reviewed a typical year in SEP operations (2008).
  • $95 million—According to a 2015 Oak Ridge National Laboratory National Evaluation that reviewed a typical year in SEP operations (2008). Lifetime savings is defined as 2008–2050 (42 years). Savings vary based upon each year's formula funding allocations.
  • 10 MMBtu—This number is from a 2015 Oak Ridge National Laboratory Evaluation that reviewed a typical year in SEP operations (2008). Ten million MBtu equals enough energy to power roughly 273,000 American homes for an entire year.

SEP Funding Process

Congress annually appropriates SEP funding, which DOE distributes to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. SEP provides this funding through annual formula grants and competitive awards.

The process of distributing SEP funding to states, territories, and D.C.

Annual Formula Grants

Annual formula grants are issued to states each fiscal year through a formula determined by U.S. law and regulations. This formula is based on a base allocation and a state's population and energy consumption (see 10 CFR 420.11 for more information). States are required to match annual formula grant funds with their own funding, and, to further amplify their impact, states can supplement formula funds with leveraged funding such as Petroleum Violation Escrow funds, program income, and state non-matching funds. 

Competitive Awards

Learn More

Visit the SEP Competitive Financial Assistance Program webpage.

In certain fiscal years, SEP dedicates a portion of its funding to provide competitively awarded financial assistance that helps states meet their energy goals and explore opportunities for regional collaboration and partnerships. For a given year, states may apply for funding under specific areas of interest with the flexibility to choose topics or approaches to achieve their energy goals within the areas of interest. Most recently, in Fiscal Year 2017, SEP awarded $5 million in competitive financial assistance to state applicants.

Both sources of funding provide resources for state energy offices' (SEO) staff, sub-recipients, and contractors and vendors. States can use these funding sources to leverage additional funding from other government, nonprofit, and private entities.

These resources for SEOs help support a multitude of energy improvement projects and initiatives. For more information on funding resources, download the SEP Operations Manual.


Read the following publications for more in-depth information about SEP's impacts.

State Energy Program National Evaluation of Program Operations for Program Year 2008

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2014

The purpose of the SEP National Evaluation was to develop independent estimates of key program outcomes for Program Year 2008 and for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) period (2009-2013).

The U.S. State Energy Program in Brief

Source: National Association of State Energy Officials, 2020

This fact sheet provides a summary of SEP, highlighting its mission, goals, cost savings, economic impacts, groundbreaking efforts across the nation made possible thanks to SEP funding, and more.

Successful Projects and Programs Implemented by the States Utilizing SEP Funding 

Source: National Association of State Energy Officials, 2020

This report highlights energy projects from every state and the District of Columbia.

The State Energy Program: Building Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Capacity in the States

Source: National Association of State Energy Officials, 2010

This study documents the capacity-building effects that SEP has had on the states' capacity to design, manage, and implement energy efficiency and renewable energy programs based on 68 interviews with 40 current and former state energy officials in 24 states. The study finds that SEP has made a critical contribution to existing state capacity, setting the platform from which future state efforts can be launched.


SEP in Action


SCEP Project Map

Explore state-led projects and programs and technical assistance resources in an interactive, state-by-state map.

SEP Success Stories

Read the latest success stories from SEP.