In a major stride toward President Biden’s “Investing in America” agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs has announced a significant infusion of $30 million in clean energy funding through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program. The funds will be distributed to 28 state, local, and Tribal governments across the nation, aiming to bolster clean energy initiatives and infrastructure improvements in both public and private sectors. The EECBG Program, bolstered by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will provide $21.87 million in formula grants to eight states and eight local governments, while an additional $8.8 million in competitive grant funding has been allocated to 12 recipients. The core focus of this initiative is to enhance energy efficiency, reduce energy costs, and promote clean energy in homes, government buildings, hospitals, and other vital public spaces.
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm shared her enthusiasm regarding the funding distribution, stating “Our local governments are at the forefront of our clean energy revolution and are critical touchpoints with our nation’s communities creating clean, healthy and affordable communities. With historic funding thanks to President Biden’s clean energy laws, more Americans will receive upgrades to their homes through residential energy efficiency rebates, expanded weatherization efforts, and electrification programs that will save them energy and increase their comfort. This funding will also invest in improving public spaces, giving more Americans across the country access to energy-efficient technologies and clean energy infrastructure in their communities such as heat pumps, LED lights, solar energy, and EV charging stations.”
A total of eight states, four counties, and four cities have been identified as the initial recipients of this crucial funding. Importantly, over 2,700 state, territorial, local governments, and Tribal entities from diverse regions of the United States are eligible to receive a portion of the $430 million in formula grant funding available through the EECBG Program. The grants will address the unique energy needs of over 250 million Americans, with a focus on delivering at least 60% of the funds to local governments that did not qualify for formula grants.
Furthermore, the EECBG Program will allocate $8.8 million in competitive grants to 12 communities, particularly in smaller and rural areas, in line with the program’s mission to provide equitable access to funding. The selection of these grantees was based on their project impact, community engagement plans, expected community benefits, project viability, and the strength of their teams. The grantees span various geographies, from suburban areas in the Northeast to rural regions in the Great Plains and tribal communities in the Southeast.
The EECBG Program offers a wide array of eligible activities across 14 categories, allowing grantees to choose projects aligned with their clean energy goals and local needs. The funded projects will encompass various areas, strongly focusing on energy efficiency improvements in buildings and spaces such as schools, hospitals, homes, parks, and libraries. Many of these locations serve disadvantaged communities, ensuring that the benefits of clean energy reach those who need it the most.
EECBG Program Formula Awards
State Formula Awards
Alabama ($2,207,540) will establish a competitive subgrant program for local governments and K-12 schools, prioritising disadvantaged communities. The grant program will fund energy efficiency improvements, including energy audits, HVAC upgrades, solar or photovoltaic electric systems, ground source heat pumps, insulation retrofits, energy-efficient lighting, and weatherization enhancements.
Alaska ($1,627,450) plans to invest in the Village Energy Efficiency Program (VEEP), which will distribute funds to local governments through a competitive process. Activities may include energy audits, energy efficiency upgrades, and weatherization efforts in public buildings. VEEP will also promote energy conservation measures and community participation in energy-saving initiatives.
Idaho ($1,742,300) will sub-grant funds to approximately ten local governments, supporting sustainable economic development, job creation, energy savings, and infrastructure deployment. The state will also invest in energy efficiency retrofits, renewable energy installations, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure in state-owned buildings.
Louisiana ($2,149,350) will collaborate with Our Lady of the Lake Foundation to enhance energy efficiency and renewable energy in a regional children’s cancer hospital. Solar-powered lighting will be integrated into the hospital’s pathway, and the remaining 60% of the state allocation will be distributed to local governments ineligible for a formula grant.
Maine ($1,668,790) will issue sub-grants to local governments, with a special focus on under-resourced rural communities. These grants will facilitate energy efficiency improvements in municipal buildings, the electrification of government fleets, transitioning to renewable energy, and the development of comprehensive Energy Conservation Implementation Plans.
Ohio ($3,130,030) will initiate a competitive program, Brightening Ohio Communities (BOC), supporting energy-efficient streetlight retrofits in lower-income communities. Ohio will also provide technical assistance to local governments during the grant application process to ensure equitable access to funds.
Rhode Island ($1,675,110) plans to distribute its EECBG Program formula award to 29 local governments, aiding energy efficiency retrofits, energy planning, management, and capacity building. Funds will be allocated using a population-based formula, with additional allocations directed toward disadvantaged communities.
Washington ($2,273,890) will sub-grant the majority of its funds to build capacity for the transition to clean energy in underserved climate justice communities. These sub-grants can be used for energy conservation plans, energy audits on buildings, and education and outreach programs aimed at addressing energy burden.
Local Government Formula Awards
Bend, Oregon ($152,740) will invest in updates to their Community Climate Action Plan, electric vehicle charging site planning, and providing home energy scores to low-income residents. This initiative will ensure energy efficiency and compliance with local ordinances and incorporate community feedback into climate action plan updates.
Boston, Massachusetts ($659,990) will establish a Building Decarbonization Advisory Program, offering under-resourced property owners resources such as technical assistance, audits, and strategic planning to enhance energy efficiency and decarbonization.
Harris County, Texas ($1,636,340) will engage in various activities, including community engagement for climate justice planning, site assessments for solar and storage on county properties in disadvantaged communities, recycling pilots, enhancing walking and biking to school, and deploying a solar EV station in a disadvantaged community in the greater-Houston area.
Los Angeles County, California ($1,344,700) plans to upgrade building energy automation systems in library and court facilities, perform energy efficiency upgrades and solar installations on county buildings, and develop energy efficiency and distributed energy resource roadmaps for smaller public agencies. These efforts will enhance resilience and reduce energy costs in lower-income communities.
Minneapolis, Minnesota ($424,330) will expand a residential efficiency and weatherization initiative for low-income communities, including air sealing, insulation, water heater and heat pump upgrades, furnace retrofits, and energy efficiency improvements. The initiative will also leverage Home Energy Rebate program incentives to retrofit additional homes.
Montgomery County, Texas ($457,580) will replace more than 150 metal halide lighting fixtures with LEDs and wireless controls at a community sports field, leading to a 90% improvement in energy efficiency.
Nashville, Tennessee ($644,440) will conduct an energy efficiency retrofit project at the Metropolitan Courthouse, replacing incandescent and CFL lamps with LEDs and improving thermal efficiency and air leakage, aiming to reduce energy use and costs.
Wagoner County, Oklahoma ($76,900) will implement energy efficiency upgrades in county-owned buildings, including lighting system upgrades, energy-efficient water heaters, and efficient windows to reduce energy consumption and utility costs by at least 15% within the next three years.
EECBG Program Competitive Awards
Albany, California ($200,000) will launch a pilot program to electrify all buildings on a city block, enabling the decommissioning of the natural gas pipeline. The initiative will involve education and outreach, building assessments, and site selection for electrification.
Cascade, Idaho ($200,000) and partners will design a geothermal heating and cooling district to serve the entire city of Cascade, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing a resilient, low-cost energy source.
Decatur, Georgia ($400,000) will initiate three innovative projects, including municipal and residential energy efficiency rebates, weatherization efforts, and electrification campaigns to lower energy burdens, especially in communities of colour.
Decorah, Iowa ($1,100,000) and the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa will provide technical assistance for local governments and schools across eight counties in Eastern Iowa and Southwest Wisconsin. The initiative aims to accelerate the clean energy transition and reduce the energy burden in low-income households.
Durham County, North Carolina ($1,500,000) and partners will conduct neighborhood-focused residential energy upgrades, community engagement, and education in disadvantaged communities. This initiative will reduce energy burdens and build skills in rural and urban neighbourhoods across three counties.
Eagle County, Colorado ($1,400,000) will reduce energy burdens for underserved households in Colorado’s rural mountain communities by investing in staff capacity, outreach, and workforce training.
Exeter, New Hampshire ($200,000) will leverage funding from the NHSaves Weatherization Program to make energy efficiency upgrades in 100 low-income households in manufactured housing parks.
Kittery, Maine ($800,000) will collaborate with organizations to establish the Southern Maine Energy Navigator Pilot, supporting energy upgrades for low- and moderate-income homes and providing personalized guidance on energy incentive programs.
Littleton, Massachusetts ($300,000) will partner with community-owned electric utilities to launch an electrification and load management program, supporting the transition to 100% clean energy.
MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians in Alabama ($1,100,000) will implement various energy projects, including retrofits for homes on Tribal lands, heat pump installations, LED lighting upgrades, and energy audits to help residents lower their energy bills and carbon footprints.
Nenana, Alaska ($900,000) and seven other rural, disadvantaged communities in Alaska will conduct energy assessments and develop an energy efficiency and conservation plan for public facilities, reducing energy costs and improving energy efficiency for community members, including Alaska Natives.
Peterborough, New Hampshire ($700,000) and Harrisville, NH will partner with BlocPower to retrofit 250 buildings with cold-climate heat pumps, supporting low-income residents and workforce development.
The EECBG Program formula funding will be awarded on a rolling basis as complete applications are received, with the application deadline extended to April 30, 2024, for eligible local governments and Tribes. This comprehensive initiative aims to transform communities, improve energy efficiency, and advance clean energy solutions across the nation, demonstrating the administration’s commitment to a sustainable future.