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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $30 Million in Clean Energy Funding to 28 State, Local and Tribal Governments

WASHINGTON, D.C.—As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs today awarded $30 million in clean energy funding through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program to 28 state, local, and Tribal governments. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOE awarded $21.87 million in formula grant funding to eight states and eight local governments and selected 12 recipients for $8.8 million in competitive grant funding. Funds will be deployed to improve energy efficiency and advance crucial clean energy and infrastructure upgrades in public and private spaces, including hospitals, homes, manufactured housing parks, and government buildings. This program milestone was announced today by U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm in Chicago, IL at Mercy Housing – Englewood Community Apartments. 

“Our local governments are at the forefront of our clean energy revolution and are critical touchpoints with our nation’s communities creating clean, healthy and affordable communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With historic funding thanks to President Biden’s clean energy laws, more Americans will receive upgrades to their homes through residential energy efficiency rebates, expanded weatherization efforts, and electrification programs that will save them energy and increase their comfort. This funding will also invest in improving public spaces, giving more Americans across the country access to energy efficient technologies and clean energy infrastructure in their communities such as heat pumps, LED lights, solar energy, and EV charging stations.” 

The eight states, four counties, and four cities announced today are the first of over 2,700 states, territories, local governments, and Tribes from every region of the country that are eligible to receive a portion of the more than $430 million in formula grant funding available through the EECBG Program. EECBG Program funding will help meet the unique energy needs in communities that serve more than 250 million Americans. All states will subgrant at least 60% of their funds to local governments that were ineligible for formula funds. Formula grants will be awarded on a rolling basis as DOE receives complete applications. 

In addition, the EECBG Program will provide $8.8 million in competitive grants to 12 communities that were not eligible for a formula grant through the program, predominately in small and rural communities. Applicants were evaluated based on their project impact, their plans for community engagement and expected community benefits – particularly for lower-income and energy burdened Americans — the viability of their plans, and the strength of their team. Twelve were grantees chosen, spanning a range of geographies and types of communities, ranging from suburban in the Northeast, to rural in the Great Plains, to tribal in the Southeast. 

The EECBG Program has 14 categories of eligible activities that allow grantees to select from a wide variety of clean energy projects and programs that align with their clean energy goals and meet their local needs. The grants included in this cohort of formula and competitive funding recipients will fall into a range of these categories – with significant benefits to the communities they serve. Most of the grantees will deploy their funds to create crucial energy efficiency upgrades to buildings and spaces, including schools, hospitals, multi- and single- family homes, streets, ballparks, and libraries, many of which are located in or serve disadvantaged communities. 

EECBG Program Formula Awards 

State Formula Awards 

***States are required by law to subgrant at least 60% of their total award to local governments in their state that were not eligible for a formula grant from DOE.*** 

Alabama ($2,207,540) will establish a competitive subgrant program for local governments and K-12 schools, with a focus on disadvantaged communities. This competitive grant program will provide funding for energy efficiency improvements. The range of possible upgrades includes energy audits, HVAC and other automated equipment, solar or photovoltaic electric systems, ground source heat pumps, insulation retrofits, energy-efficient lighting upgrades and weatherization improvements. 

Alaska ($1,627,450) plans to invest in the Village Energy Efficiency Program (VEEP). The funds will be disbursed to Alaskan local governments through a competitive application process. Possible activities might include energy efficiency audits and upgrades and weatherization efforts on public buildings and facilities. Through a portion of Alaska’s grant, VEEP will also implement energy conservation measures, such as workplace programs and public education efforts, that increase community participation in conservation activities and in efficiency improvement measures.  

Idaho ($1,742,300) will sub-grant funds to approximately 10 local governments to pursue projects that support sustainable economic development, job creation, energy savings and resilience, and the deployment of market-ready infrastructure. Idaho will use the remainder of its funds to complete energy efficiency retrofits, renewable energy installations, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure projects in state-owned buildings.  

Louisiana ($2,149,350) plans to partner with Our Lady of the Lake Foundation to use a portion of the state’s allocation to provide energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to a regional children’s cancer hospital and adjacent residential wing. In addition to retrofits and energy efficiency upgrades made to the hospital, the state also plans to incorporate solar-powered lighting to an existing pathway that connects the two buildings. Louisiana will distribute the remaining 60% of the state allocation to local governments that were ineligible for an EECBG Program formula grant from DOE. 

Maine ($1,668,790) will issue sub-grants to local governments, with a focus on under-resourced rural communities. These subgrants will allow selected local governments to improve energy efficiency in municipal buildings, electrify government fleets, transition to renewable energy, and develop comprehensive Energy Conservation Implementation Plans. Additionally, Maine will hire staff to manage grants, provide technical assistance, and provide Lead By Example assistance in clean energy and energy efficiency statewide. 

Ohio ($3,130,030) will fund a new competitive program for local governments: Brightening Ohio Communities (BOC). The program will support energy efficient community streetlight retrofits in lower-income communities across Ohio. Ohio also plans to provide technical assistance to support local governments through their grant application process. These activities will help ensure equitable access of funds to all interested communities statewide. 

Rhode Island ($1,675,110) plans to distribute their EECBG Program formula award to 29 local governments to support energy efficiency retrofits and energy planning, management, and capacity building. Funds are allocated to local governments using a population-based formula, with additional allocations given to disadvantaged communities. 

Washington ($2,273,890) will sub-grant the majority of its EECBG Program funds to build capacity for the transition to clean energy in underserved, climate justice communities. Communities can use sub-grants to hire consultants to develop energy conservation plans, conduct energy audits on commercial and residential buildings, and establish education and outreach programs to address energy burden.  

Local Government Formula Awards: 

Bend, Oregon ($152,740) will invest in updates to their Community Climate Action Plan, conduct site planning for electric vehicle charging locations throughout the city, and provide home energy scores to low-income residents to ensure energy efficiency and compliance with local ordinances. Bend will also conduct stakeholder and community engagement to incorporate strategies and feedback into their Community Climate Action Plan updates. 

Boston, Massachusetts ($659,990) will develop a Building Decarbonization Advisory Program. This program will help under-resourced property owners improve energy efficiency, decarbonize their buildings, and comply with local standards. It will connect these property owners to resources like technical assistance, audits, and strategic planning to support short and long-term energy efficiency improvements and decarbonization plans. 

Harris County, Texas ($1,636,340) will conduct several activities, including; conducting community engagement with disadvantaged communities for climate justice planning, performing site assessments for solar and storage on county properties in disadvantaged communities, conducting recycling pilots at county facilities, enhancing walking and bicycling to school as part of the Safe Routes to School plan, and deploying an off-grid, solar EV station on county property in a disadvantaged community in the greater-Houston area. 

Los Angeles County, California ($1,344,700) plans to support three main activities: upgrading building energy automation systems in library and court facilities to improve efficiency and energy resilience, performing energy efficiency upgrades and solar installations on county buildings, and developing energy efficiency and distributed energy resource roadmaps for smaller public agencies. In particular, their energy automation system updates will enable public facilities to serve as resiliency hubs in lower-income communities. They will also conduct a net-zero retrofit of a community center serving seniors and disabled adults.  

Minneapolis, Minnesota ($424,330) will expand a residential efficiency and weatherization initiative for low-income communities. Specifically, the program will serve income-qualified homebuyers and assist with up to 30 retrofits and audits on homes located in the City of Lakes Community Land Trust. Retrofits will include air sealing and insulation, upgrading water heaters and air source heat pumps, furnace retrofits, and energy efficiency enabling work like tube wiring, improved ventilation, and new electric panels. Minneapolis plans to leverage Home Energy Rebate program incentives funded by the Inflation Reduction Act to retrofit up to 10 additional homes as part of their EECBG Program formula project. 

Montgomery County, Texas ($457,580) will replace more than 150 metal halide lighting fixtures with LEDs and wireless controls at a community sports field. Montgomery County anticipates these upgrades will improve energy efficiency and lower county energy use by 90%. 

Nashville, Tennessee ($644,440) will conduct an energy efficiency retrofit project at the Metropolitan Courthouse. The project will replace incandescent and CFL lamps with LEDs. Nashville anticipates this retrofit project will reduce its energy use by 15% and energy costs by 18%. Other retrofit upgrades will improve thermal efficiency and minimize air leakage, which Nashville estimates will yield at least a 5% reduction in energy use. 

Wagoner County, Oklahoma ($76,900) will conduct energy efficiency upgrades in county-owned buildings, including lighting system upgrades, energy-efficient water heaters, and efficient windows. Wagoner County aims to reduce energy consumption and utility costs by at least 15% within the next three years. 

EECBG Program Competitive Awards:

Albany, California ($200,000) will launch a pilot program that aims to electrify all buildings on a city block to enable the decommissioning of the natural gas pipeline. The team will conduct targeted education and outreach, building assessments, and site selection for electrification. They will report out best practices and lessons learned. This effort will be led in partnership with StopWaste. 

Cascade, Idaho ($200,000) and partners, including West Central Mountains Economic Development Council, will design a geothermal heating and cooling district to serve the entire city of Cascade. The project could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing a resilient, low-cost energy source across the community.  

Decatur, Georgia ($400,000) will launch three innovative projects: municipal and residential energy efficiency rebates, weatherization efforts, and an electrification campaign. The effort aims to lower energy burdens of residents, including communities of color. It will accelerate the progress of Decatur’s energy goals and set up sustainable funding for long-term energy efficiency support.  

Decorah, Iowa ($1,100,000) and the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa will provide vital technical assistance for local governments and schools across eight counties in Eastern Iowa and Southwest Wisconsin. This technical assistance will enable communities to evaluate, plan, and fund solar and energy efficiency projects. The initiative will accelerate the clean energy transition and reduce energy burden in low-income households, particularly in rural and Tribal communities.  

Durham County, North Carolina ($1,500,000) and Granville and Orange Counties have teamed up with several partners to conduct neighborhood-focused residential energy upgrades, community engagement and education, and energy efficiency workforce training efforts in disadvantaged communities. The initiative will reduce energy burdens and build skills in rural and urban neighborhoods across the three counties. 

Eagle County, Colorado ($1,400,000) will reduce energy burdens for underserved households in Colorado’s rural mountain communities. Partnering with EnergySmart Colorado, the team will invest in staff capacity, provide outreach, and develop workforce training to cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve cost-of-living for low- to moderate-income households across 18 rural counties in Colorado.  

Exeter, New Hampshire ($200,000) will leverage funding from the NHSaves Weatherization Program to make energy efficiency upgrades and lower bills in 100 low-income households located in manufactured housing parks.  

Kittery, Maine ($800,000) will work with the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission and the York County Community Action Corporation to establish the Southern Maine Energy Navigator Pilot. The project will support energy upgrades for low- and moderate- income homes in Kittery, Kennebunk, Wells, Ogunquit and Kennebunkport. Energy Navigators will also provide personalized guidance in navigating energy incentive programs. This program will leverage $600,000 from the Southern Maine Energy Fund, which will provide instant rebates for disadvantaged community members.  

Littleton, Massachusetts ($300,000) will partner with five other community-owned electric utilities, the Beneficial Electrification League, and the Northeast Public Power Association, to launch an electrification and load management program. This will support the transformation of six Massachusetts municipal utilities to 100% clean energy and bring their communities closer to their shared goal of carbon-free by 2050.   

MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians in Alabama ($1,100,000) together with the City of Citronelle, AL will implement several energy projects to serve disadvantaged communities, including retrofits for homes on Tribal lands. The community will pursue heat pump installations, LED lighting upgrades, and energy audits to help residents lower their energy bills and carbon footprints. The team will also provide Tribal members and business owners educational opportunities.  

Nenana, Alaska ($900,000) and seven other rural, disadvantaged communities in Alaska have teamed up with the Alaska Municipal League and will conduct energy assessments and develop an energy efficiency and conservation plan for public facilities. This project will improve energy efficiency, reduce diesel fuel consumption, and reduce costs associated with delivering power to these remote areas. It will benefit community members, many of whom identify as Alaska Natives.  

Peterborough, New Hampshire ($700,000) and Harrisville, NH will partner with BlocPower to retrofit 250 buildings to replace fossil-fueled heating with cold-climate heat pumps. 100 of those buildings are home to low-income residents. The team will also support workforce development through a collaboration with Lakes Region Community College and the MAXT Makerspace. 

EECBG Program formula funding will be awarded on a rolling basis as complete applications are received. The application deadline for eligible local governments and Tribes has been extended to April 30, 2024. More information on the EECBG Program is available on the DOE website

Official news published at https://www.energy.gov/articles/biden-harris-administration-announces-30-million-clean-energy-funding-28-state-local-and

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