History of the State Energy Program
Congress created the Department of Energy's State Energy Program in 1996 by consolidating the State Energy Conservation Program (SECP) and the Institutional Conservation Program (ICP). Both programs went into effect in 1975. SECP provided states with funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. ICP provided hospitals and schools with a technical analysis of their buildings, and identified the potential savings from proposed energy conservation measures.
Several pieces of legislation form the framework for the State Energy Program:
- The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (P.L. 94-163) established programs to foster energy conservation in federal buildings and major U.S. industries. It also established the State Energy Conservation Program.
- The Energy Conservation and Production Act of 1976.
- The Warner Amendment of 1983 (P.L. 95-105) allocated oil overcharge funds—called Petroleum Violation Escrow (PVE) funds—to state energy programs. In 1986, these funds became substantial when the Exxon and Stripper Well settlements added more than $4 billion into this mix.
- The State Energy Efficiency Programs Improvement Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-440) encouraged states to undertake activities designed to improve efficiency and stimulate investment in and use of alternative energy technologies.
- The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992 (P.L. 102-486) allowed DOE funding to be used to finance revolving funds for energy efficiency improvements in state and local government buildings. (However, no funding was provided for this activity.) EPAct recognized the crucial role states play in regulating energy industries and promoting new energy technologies. EPAct also expanded the policy development and technology deployment role for the states. Many EPAct regulations extended through 2000, and we are currently waiting for updates through the National Energy Policy.
- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $3.1 billion for SEP formula grants with no matching fund requirements.