Maine to Receive More than $9.5 Million for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Projects

By Ramona du Houx

November 17th, 2009 

Washington, DC – Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today that DOE is awarding $9,593,500 in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to Maine to support clean energy projects across the state. Under DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, the state will implement programs that lower energy use, reduce carbon pollution, and create green jobs locally.

“This funding will allow states across the country to make major investments in energy solutions that will strengthen America’s economy and create jobs at the local level,” said Secretary Chu. “It will also promote some of the cheapest, cleanest and most reliable energy technologies we have – energy efficiency and conservation – which can be deployed immediately. Local communities can now make strategic investments to help meet the nation’s long term clean energy and climate goals.”

“Maine has been a leader in energy conservation, which is helping to reduce our reliance on oil and grow green jobs in our state. With ongoing support from the Recovery Act and our federal partners, Maine’s economy will be stronger and our environment cleaner,” said Governor John E. Baldacci.

“Investing in the development of clean and efficient energy is the most cost effective method to strengthen and improve Maine’s energy security,” said U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe. “This funding announcement is extremely welcome news that will not only build upon current state-wide efforts to transition towards the use of renewable energy but ensure Maine remains on the forefront of cutting-edge, 21st century energy technologies.”

“Unpredictable, and often increasing, prices for home heating oil, gasoline and diesel fuel are a huge burden for many families, truckers, and small businesses,” said U.S. Senator Susan Collins. “One of the most effective and immediate ways we can help people stretch their energy dollars is through weatherization. Weatherizing a home saves, on average, nearly 30 percent in energy costs. This funding will help Maine invest in energy conservation and alternative energy technologies that will create jobs and help set us on a path toward energy independence.”

“The projects that will be made possible through this funding will help Maine’s local economies improve energy efficiency, save money, and promote economic activity and job creation,” said U.S. Congressman Mike Michaud. “Many Maine companies have already embraced energy efficient technologies and practices because it is good for business. Other countries are moving fast to adopt these practices and our country can’t afford to be behind the curve.”

“This is the kind of investment that we can put to work in Maine immediately, creating good paying jobs and saving home owners and business owners money. One of the best ways for us to achieve energy independence is by making our homes and businesses more efficient, and keeping the money we were spending on imported oil right here in our communities,” said U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.

Maine will use its Recovery Act EECBG funds to promote the development of clean and sustainable energy infrastructure, laying the groundwork for a more prosperous economy while saving or creating more than 100 green jobs in the state. Approximately sixty percent of the state’s funds will be competitively awarded to local cities and counties for energy saving projects, such as financial incentive programs, energy efficiency retrofits, transportation programs, energy distribution measures, and the installation of renewable energy technologies on government buildings.

The remaining EECBG funds will be combined with Recovery Act funding from the State Energy Program to support the Large Project Impact Fund that will provide grants for large-scale commercial projects. Eligible activities for these awards will include improved insulation, air sealing, efficiency improvements in heating sources and distribution, efficiency controls and automation, efficiency upgrades in glazing, and other proven cost-effective measures.

Today’s award to the State Energy Office will be used to support state-level energy efficiency priorities, along with funding local conservation projects in smaller cities and counties. At least 60 percent of the state’s award will be passed through to local cities and counties not eligible for direct EECBG awards from the Department of Energy. The EECBG Program was funded for the first time by the Recovery Act and provides formula grants to states, cities, counties, territories and federally-recognized Indian tribes nationwide to implement energy efficiency projects locally.

Projects eligible for support include the development of an energy efficiency and conservation strategy, energy efficiency audits and retrofits, transportation programs, the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections, and the installation of renewable energy technologies on municipal buildings.

Transparency and accountability are important priorities for the EECBG program and all Recovery Act projects. All grantees have specific measures they must take before spending the full amount of awarded funding, such as ensuring oversight and transparency, submitting a conservation strategy to the Department of Energy, and complying with environmental regulations.

Throughout the program’s implementation, DOE will provide strong oversight at the local, state, and tribal level, while emphasizing the need to quickly award funds to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies. Communities will be required to report regularly to DOE on the progress they have made toward successfully completing projects and reaching program goals.

For a full list of awards to date, visit www.eecbg.energy.gov