A round of funding provided by last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will inject $550 million into a grant program that promotes energy efficiency, according to U.S. Dept. of Energy officials.

DOE issued a notice of intent Nov. 28 to release details and requirements to states, municipalities and tribes interested in applying for project funding through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program that seeks to help them reduce fossil fuel emissions and total energy use and improve efficiency of transportation infrastructure, buildings and other sectors. 

DOE says it plans to open the grant application process in January.

The grants can be used to develop and implement a wide range of energy efficiency and conservation projects, including  energy audits of buildings and facilities, adopting building codes that enhance energy efficiency, and installing renewable energy generation technology on government buildings or for other uses outlined in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

The current round of investments will mark the second time the grant program has been funded since 2009, when it was first established with an initial investment  of $3.2 billion under then-President Barack Obama's stimulus package. 

The law's formulas stipulate that about 68% of the funds go to local governments, 28% to states and 2% to tribes. The money will be available until all of it is claimed, with no calendar deadline, DOE officials say. States and territories, as well as 774 tribes and 1,878 municipal and county governments are eligible for funding under the program. 

Communities across the country have used funds from the grant program for projects such as installing a biogas generator at a wastewater treatment facility in Austin, Texas, that uses methane from the treatment process to generate power; replacing a police headquarters roof in Warren, Mich., with a “green roof” covered in vegetation; retrofitting city-owned buildings in Cincinnati for greater energy performance and savings; and installing energy efficient street lights and solar panels in Huntington, N.Y.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement that the program will support the Biden administration’s goal of achieving a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy by 2050, calling the funding "a streamlined and flexible tool" that would also help create healthier environments and lower Americans’ utility bills.