Thursday, April 02, 2009

Much $$ for Energy Efficiency Included in Stimulus Package

The recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or ARRA, includes significant funding amounts for energy efficiency and weatherization projects. According to a presentation of the National Association of State Energy Officials, reports, billions of dollars have now been made available.

State Energy Program
$3.1 billion has been allocated for the State Energy Program ("SEP"). By comparison, SEP received $44 million in federal fiscal year 2008. These funds are provided to state energy offices and governors must send a letter to Energy Secretary Chu regarding utility regulatory policies on energy efficiency and upgrading of building energy efficiency codes. Funding can be used for a wide variety of programs, projects and policies, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, and alternative transportation programs.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant
$3.2 billion has been provided for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant ("EECBG"). The EECBG had not previously been funded. Of the $3.2 billion,
$400 million will be distributed through a competitive program among state, local, and tribal entities. Of the remaining $2.8 billion, funds will be distributed:
68 percent directly to over 1,700 of the larger cities in the US;
16 percent through the states to counties of under 200,000 and towns of under 35,000;
12 percent directly to state energy offices for SEP;
2 percent for competitive program; and
2 percent available to tribes.

Weatherization Assistance Program
$5 billion has been provided for the Weatherization Assistance Program ("WAP"), a program which received only $227 million in federal fiscal year 2008. The amount that can be spent on each home increased from $2,500 to $6,500, to allow more comprehensive energy efficiency measures to be implemented. Also, the eligibility level was increased to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, from 150 percent.

A detailed review of the energy provisions of ARRA is contained in a Congressional Research Service report.

Lou Manuta

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