U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu recently announced more than $162 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support energy-efficiency and renewable energy projects in Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico. Under DOE's State Energy Program, states and territories have proposed statewide plans that prioritize energy savings, create or retain jobs, increase the use of renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

These states and territories are receiving 40% of their total State Energy Program (SEP) funding authorized under the Recovery Act. They now will have received 50% of their total Recovery Act SEP funding. The initial 10% of total funding was available previously to states to support planning activities; the remaining 50% of funds will be released once states meet reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act.

Activities eligible for SEP 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.

Colorado — $19,688,800 awarded

Colorado will use its Recovery Act SEP funds for several projects designed to expand renewable energy and energy-efficiency measures across the state. The Governor's Energy Office will provide a suite of products aimed at removing financial barriers to rapid deployment of renewable energy and energy-efficiency initiatives, including offering access to short-term and intermediate low-cost capital to projects in the commercial, residential, and industrial sectors.

An Energy Efficiency for Existing Buildings Program will help state agencies (including public schools) reduce their energy use and carbon emissions. Using Recovery Act funds, Colorado also will substantially expand its Renewable Energy Rebates and Grants Program across the residential, commercial, and industrial/utility sectors. Furthermore, the office will promote greater energy efficiency in new and existing homes with programs such as a “whole house tune-up” that bundles efficiency incentives for homes.

Delaware — $9,692,400 awarded

Delaware will employ its SEP Recovery Act funds to enhance energy efficiency in residential, commercial, and government sectors statewide. The state will use the funds to establish a Home Performance Program that will help defray costs of home energy audits and installing energy-efficient equipment for families above the low-income eligibility threshold for the Weatherization Assistance Program. The state also will help fund energy-efficiency upgrades in small businesses, commercial establishments, and manufacturing facilities.

Delaware also will use Recovery Act funds to provide additional rebates for solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar hot water systems, small wind applications, and geothermal systems for homes, businesses, and institutional buildings.

Indiana — $27,448,400 awarded

The Indiana program will include a competitive loan program to promote energy efficiency in the commercial, industrial, and manufacturing sectors in the state that will provide financial assistance for the implementation of energy-efficient technologies such as lighting, controls and sensors, insulation, and appliances. Additionally, Recovery Act funds will be used to support training programs and public energy outreach and education campaigns that will provide information to consumers on the importance of energy conservation, along with tips on how to reduce their energy consumption. The training efforts will help transition Indiana's workforce from energy intensive, high environmental impact production processes to more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives.

Louisiana — $28,677,600 awarded

Under the program, Louisiana will encourage business owners to reduce energy consumption by providing rebates for energy-efficiency retrofits in commercial buildings. In the residential sector, the program will provide incentives to home builders to encourage the construction of new high energy-efficiency homes and also will provide support for homeowners to improve the efficiency of existing homes.

Furthermore, the Louisiana state government will undertake a “lead-by-example” initiative, providing funding for energy-efficiency retrofits for state government buildings, as well as funding to encourage the deployment of efficient LED traffic lights and PV street lighting across the state.

Massachusetts — $21,964,400 awarded

The Governor's Energy Task Force identified a number of energy-efficiency retrofit projects at public facilities with potential for energy and cost savings. The state intends to leverage SEP funds for these projects by using performance contracts wherever possible.

In addition, Massachusetts will direct Recovery Act funds to help demonstrate solutions to a number of long-standing challenges in improving building energy performance, which provides the opportunity to transform future energy-efficiency efforts in the state. For example, the state will provide funding for projects that will move toward the development of a net-zero energy building, along with examining ways to reduce the state's petroleum usage by expanding energy-efficiency opportunities to people and businesses that use oil and propane for heating.

Pennsylvania — $39,873,600 awarded

Pennsylvania Green Energy Works! will offer grants to businesses, nonprofit organizations, universities, local governments, and utilities to deploy shovel-ready efficient, environmentally sustainable, and economically worthwhile energy projects across the state. Pennsylvania also will establish a Green Development Loan Program, a revolving loan fund that will provide clean energy and energy-efficiency financing for facilities projects, resource efficiency measures, and advanced and renewable clean energy technologies. In addition to originating loans and leveraging private capital, this fund will make outright awards to cover the costs of project feasibility studies, energy audits, or project design, which can often present significant barriers to sustainable development investments.

Puerto Rico — $14,834,400 awarded

Puerto Rico's Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program will provide rebates for energy-efficient retrofit projects for business and government facilities and will require a 50% match by business recipients. Puerto Rico will also implement a revolving loan program for private entities to finance applicable energy projects.

Moreover, the territory will fund the replacement of conventional incandescent traffic lights with energy-efficient LED traffic lights and will require all new traffic lights to be LED. Puerto Rico also will revise, develop, and implement residential and commercial efficiency and conservation building codes in the Codes and Standards Program to meet international conservation code standards for all new construction.