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DOE Announces Nearly $30 Million in Competitive Awards for State Energy Efficiency Projects

September 9, 2010

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu today announced the investment of $28.5 million to 12 states and territories to support energy efficiency projects that will lower energy bills for American families and businesses, boost job growth, and increase investment in companies that deliver energy-saving technologies. The competitively selected states will receive awards through DOE's State Energy Program to help create a sustainable transformation in the market for energy-saving, whole-building improvements in residential and commercial buildings. The awards will also help generate the necessary policy and program frameworks to support private-sector investment in energy efficiency for the long-term. This initiative is part of the Obama Administration's national strategy to promote domestic job creation, while delivering innovative energy efficiency technologies to the residential and commercial building markets and addressing barriers to bringing high-efficiency buildings within reach for all Americans.

"These state initiatives will spur the economy and create jobs across the country by making targeted investments in the growing energy efficiency market and using smarter policies to engage the private sector," said Secretary Chu. "The projects will demonstrate the high rate of return on energy-saving improvements to homes and businesses, achieve significant long-term benefits for local communities, and act as a model for future public-private energy efficiency partnerships."

Existing techniques and technologies in energy efficiency retrofitting—such as air-tight ducts, insulation and caulking, efficient and properly installed heating and cooling systems, and building control systems—can reduce energy use in homes and buildings by up to 40% and cut energy bills by $40 billion annually. These awards add to the momentum generated by DOE's ongoing whole-building retrofit initiatives that are making energy efficiency retrofits easily accessible to hundreds of thousands of American homes and businesses.

DOE's State Energy Program provides financial and technical assistance to states to develop state strategies and goals to address their energy priorities and promote America's energy security through the deployment of reliable, clean and affordable energy. Today's competitive grants are in addition to the formula grants provided to all U.S. states and territories.

The awards announced today fall into two categories. Strengthening Building Retrofit Markets will invest more than $25.5 million to assist states in developing targeted building retrofit markets in the residential and commercial sectors. Stimulating Energy Efficiency Action will invest nearly $3 million to assist states in generating the necessary policy and program frameworks to support short and long-term investments in energy efficiency.

In a complimentary effort, DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability awarded a grant to Hawaii for $180,000 to assist its Public Utilities Commission in meeting the state goal of reducing electricity use by 4,300 gigawatt hours by the year 2030. Hawaii will explore the relationship between its energy efficiency portfolio standard, integrated resource plan, and clean energy scenario planning. In addition, Hawaii will identify long-range energy savings goals by utility service territory, methods to measure and verify energy savings, and appropriate funding levels for energy efficiency.

The following projects have been selected for awards:

Strengthening Building Retrofit Markets - $25.5 million

  • Multi-state group with individual awards for: Massachusetts: $2,587,976; Alabama: $3,013,751; Virginia: $2,886,500; and Washington: $2,587,500

    Residential retrofits: This four-state partnership will retrofit at least 12,150 homes out of a target market of 300,000 homes across the four states by 2013 achieving significant energy savings in each home. The program plans to reach over 75,000 homes in that market by 2021 utilizing DOE's investment. The states will draw on national experts to implement energy modeling and benchmarking, consumer outreach, contractor management, policy development and innovative financing. The objective is to create a sustainable transformation in the market for home energy improvements. The project leverages state-level experience between the awardees to share best practices in an effort to establish a model that can be applied nationally to increase home retrofits by 2013 and beyond.

  • Nevada: $5,000,000

    Residential retrofits: Nevada will expand its Home Performance with Energy Star Program with the goal of retrofitting at least 5% of Nevada's single-family residences by 2021. The project includes an effective outreach and marketing strategy to motivate participation and encourage consumers to adopt energy-saving behavior. The state will also deploy innovative incentive and financing mechanisms to overcome cost barriers, and will use streamlined delivery methods and robust quality assurance. The project will focus on the major Nevada metropolitan areas of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Reno, and Sparks.

  • Maine: $4,538,571

    Multi-family retrofits: Maine will accelerate comprehensive energy retrofits in small-to-medium multi-family apartment buildings (5-20 units) through a multi-year energy efficiency strategy. Serving a market of more than 53,000 units, the project will seek to: reduce energy consumption by 25% or greater in 2% of eligible multi-family units per year by 2013; establish a sustainable financial model to ultimately reach 19% of such buildings in Maine by 2021; and expand the program model to multi-family buildings in other Northeast states.

  • Michigan: $4,994,245

    Commercial retrofits: Michigan will create a self-sustaining financing program to achieve energy efficiency retrofits in at least 2% of small retail food service businesses such as small grocery stores, convenience stores, and restaurants by 2013, and sustain this level annually thereafter. The program will be part of a portfolio of financing options available through Michigan SAVES, a nonprofit organization with seed funding from the Michigan Public Service Commission to make energy efficiency upgrades and small-scale renewable energy systems more affordable for all types of Michigan energy consumers.

Stimulating Energy Efficiency Action - $3 million

  • Puerto Rico: $659,965

    Puerto Rico seeks to stimulate energy efficiency by developing mechanisms to better integrate stakeholders into the decision-making process for implementing effective energy efficiency policy in Puerto Rico. The goal of this initiative is to achieve an annual minimum target electricity savings of 1%. The proposed Action Plan responds to the ten goals presented in the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency Vision 2025.

  • Alaska: $700,000

    Alaska will undertake a concerted effort to improve energy efficiency by 15% in the state by 2020. This will be accomplished by expanding current energy efficiency and conservation education and outreach efforts, collecting and tracking end-use energy data with a GIS-based database, and analyzing the current regulatory and policy framework as it relates to incentives or barriers to energy efficiency improvements.

  • Texas: $500,000

    Texas seeks to develop local policy and program delivery frameworks that stimulate investment in cost-effective, long-term energy efficiency improvements. It will focus on areas of the state, such as municipal and electric cooperative utilities, that do not have state-regulated energy efficiency policies and programs in place.

  • Multi-state pair with individual awards for: Mississippi: $500,000 and Kentucky: $500,000

    This pair of states seeks to create lasting market transformation for energy efficiency in the southeastern United States in partnership with Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. Their goal is to make energy efficiency an integral part of the energy resource portfolios within the regions. It will support the development of policies and programs that will lead to utility investment in efficiency in the Southeast and Midwest, thereby reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases through a reduction in energy consumption.