Obama Administration Awards More than $18.6 Million for Oklahoma's State Energy Program
September 14, 2009
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced more than $18.6 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Oklahoma. Under DOE's State Energy Program, Oklahoma proposed a statewide plan that prioritizes energy savings, creates or retains jobs, increases the use of renewable energy, and reduces carbon pollution.
"This funding will provide an important boost for the state's economy, help to put Americans back to work, and move us toward energy independence," said Secretary Chu. "It reflects our commitment to support innovative state and local strategies to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy while insisting that taxpayer dollars be spent responsibly."
Today Oklahoma is receiving 40% of its total State Energy Program (SEP) Recovery Act funding. The initial 10% of total funding was previously available to support planning activities; the remaining 50% of funds will be released once the state meets reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, Oklahoma will receive over $23 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $46 million.
Oklahoma will use its Recovery Act SEP funding to advance building efficiency, renewable energy, and alternative fuel transportation projects throughout the state. These projects will encourage government, businesses, educational institutions, and residents to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Oklahoma will form partnerships with municipal and investor-owned utilities to implement new building efficiency programs, and conduct an advanced metering project that will reduce energy costs for businesses and residents. These projects will reduce Oklahoma's annual energy expenditures, create jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Oklahoma will provide funding to businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations for a wide range of activities including building energy efficiency, education, energy demand management, and renewable energy applications. Oklahoma will also put SEP funds toward alternative fuel vehicle and infrastructure projects, which will save energy while improving air quality in communities. The state will invest $11 million to convert vehicles and buses to run on compressed natural gas and provide equipment for CNG refueling stations. Oklahoma will also fund three projects to address the need for training and outreach to develop a green jobs workforce. These projects will include public education, curriculum and certification development, and hands-on training for building efficiency and renewable energy.
Activities eligible for State Energy Program funding include energy audits, building retrofits, education and training efforts, transportation programs to increase the use of alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles, and new financing mechanisms to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy investments. The Recovery Act appropriated $3.1 billion to the State Energy Program to help promote energy efficiency and clean energy deployment, as well as to support local economic recovery. States use these grants at the state and local level to create green jobs and address state energy priorities.
Transparency and accountability are important priorities for SEP and all Recovery Act projects. Throughout the program's implementation, DOE will provide strong oversight at the local, state, and national level, while emphasizing with states the need to quickly award funds to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies.