Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced recently that more than $354 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is being awarded to 22 states to support energy-efficiency and conservation activities. Under the U.S. Department of Energy's Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, these states will implement programs that lower energy use, reduce carbon pollution, and create green jobs locally.

"This funding will allow states across the country to make major investments in energy solutions that will strengthen America's economy and create jobs at the local level," says Secretary Chu. "It will also promote some of the cheapest, cleanest, and most reliable energy technologies we have — energy-efficiency and conservation — which can be deployed immediately. Local communities can now make strategic investments to help meet the nation's long term clean energy and climate goals."

States receiving funding today include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

These awards to the state energy offices will be used to support state-level energy-efficiency priorities, along with funding local conservation projects in smaller cities and counties. At least 60% of each state's award will be passed through to local cities and counties not eligible for direct EECBG awards from the DOE. The EECBG program was funded for the first time by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and provides formula grants to states, cities, counties, territories and federally recognized Indian tribes nationwide to implement energy-efficiency projects locally.

Energy-efficiency and conservation projects that are eligible for awards include the development of an energy-efficiency and conservation strategy, energy-efficiency audits and retrofits, transportation programs, the creation of financial incentive programs for energy-efficiency improvements, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections, and installation of renewable energy technologies on municipal buildings.

Transparency and accountability are important priorities for the EECBG program and all Recovery Act projects. All grantees have specific measures they must take before spending the full amount of awarded funding, such as ensuring oversight and transparency, submitting a conservation strategy to the DOE, and complying with environmental regulations.

Throughout the program's implementation, DOE will provide strong oversight at the local, state, and tribal level, while emphasizing the need to quickly award funds to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies. Communities will be required to report regularly to DOE on the progress they have made toward successfully completing projects and reaching program goals.

For a full list of the awards, visit the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Web site.

For a full list of the awards to date, visit the EECBG Web site.