More economic-stimulus funds will be on their way to states and localities from the Dept. of Energy under a block-grant program established by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. DOE announced March 26 it is providing $3.2 billion to states, localities and tribes through the new Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program.
Funds can be used for a wide range of energy-efficiency activities. Construction-related applications include: upgrades and energy audits for residential and commercial buildings; installing renewable-energy systems on state or local government buildings; developing and implementing building codes and inspections; and setting up financial incentives for energy-conservation upgrades.
Also eligible for block-grant assistance are projects to capture methane from landfills.
Of the $3.2-billion total, cities and counties will receive $1.9 billion. States and territories will get $770 million and tribal governments, $54 million. Those funds are distributed according to a formula that includes population and energy-consumption factors.
For example, in California, the most-populous state, the state energy office would receive $49.6 million of the block-grant aid. California cities and counties would divide tens of millions of additional dollars. For example, the city of Los Angeles would get $37 million. San Diego's allotment is $12.5 million, San Jose's is $8.8 million and San Francisco's $7.7 million. The county of Los Angeles would receive $15.4 million.
The economic-stimulus measure, enacted Feb. 17, also directs DOE to distribute the other $456 million of the grant program under a competitive solicitation.
DOE Secretary Steven Chu said, "The funding will be used for he cheapest, cleanest and most reliable energy technologies we have--energy efficiency and conservation--which can be deployed immediately." For more details, including an interactive map of states showing their block-grant allocations, see www.energy.gov/recovery/.
Besides the new energy-efficiency block grants, DOE's economic-stimulus funding includes $5 billion in home weatherization aid and $3 billion for the State Energy Program. The department announced on March 12 it was releasing an initial 10% allocation of the funds from those two programs.