The Citizens Utility Board (CUB), in partnership with the Univeristy of Oregon School of Law, will be presenting its 2nd Annual Policy conference on Energy Efficiency: The Next Generation on Friday, October 26, 2012, at the University of Oregon's White Stag Block (70 NW Couch Street).
The all-day conference will focus on energy efficiency in the Pacific Northwest and its impact on the regional economy. Featured speakers include Congressman Earl Blumenauer. For more information, please visit the CUB Policy Center web site.
There’s big news in the battle between consultants in the green building industry and the U.S. Green Building Council (“USGBC”). Following almost a year of litigation, it appears that the USGBC may have defeated a $100 million class action lawsuit brought by engineers and designers, according to a court order issued last week. The plaintiffs’ complaint filed last October argued that USGBC made false claims about the energy efficiency of buildings certified under its LEED program. According to plaintiffs, who were not LEED accredited professionals, the USGBC’s allegedly false claims about energy saving and energy efficiency deceived consumers into pursuing LEED certification, and along with it, hiring LEED accredited consultants. But the veracity of USGBC’s energy efficiency claims remains undecided for now, as the federal district court for the Southern District of New York has ruled that the plaintiffs lacked “standing” to pursue their case under both federal and state false advertising laws.
More precisely, the court found that engineers and designers were not in a position to claim that the alleged false advertising could have harmed them. The court rejected the plaintiffs’ injury claims. For one thing, engineers and designers are not direct competitors of USGBC – the Council certifies buildings, while the plaintiffs provide construction and design consulting services. Also, according to the court, the engineers and designers could not show that any alleged false advertising by USGBC caused them to lose clients, because the LEED building certification program does not require builders to use LEED accredited engineers or designers. Even if the USGBC deceived builders about the LEED program, the court reasoned, LEED didn’t preclude them from hiring plaintiffs.
Naturally, energy use is a critical component of the LEED program. And while the class of dejected New York plaintiffs may never get to challenge the truth of LEED’s past advertising, stakeholders involved in green building can draw some valuable lessons from this skirmish when it comes to green building certification and energy efficiency.
The court’s order briefly touched on the most important of these lessons. Citing USGBC’s own filing in the case, the court noted that green building certification doesn’t necessarily address energy performance so much as the potential for energy efficiency. In other words, LEED certification may establish the potential for energy saving, but it doesn’t prove it. Then again, the LEED program does award points for the use of renewable energy, for on-site generation of renewable energy, and for monitoring and reporting energy use. Bottom line – because so many different factors go into a green building score, a clean/renewable energy claim about a green building can be potentially misleading.
So what does this mean? For one thing, one shouldn’t discount the value of a green building certification, whether from LEED, National Association of Home Builders, Green Globes, or any other comparable program. Certifications provide a nice, simple way to prove the green credentials of a building. On the other hand, additional disclosure may be prudent, particularly for those who market or advertise certain green attributes of a building. Architects, builders, owners – and anyone else who might profit from such claims – must be careful to not overstate or misstate the significance of a green building certification. With respect to energy efficiency, for example, a good LEED score may be the result of significant energy efficiency, or it may not.
Finally, what about the New York plaintiffs and their $100 million claim against USGBC? While the merits of their case remain unproved, don’t be surprised if the plaintiffs appeal the district court’s order. If they can convince a higher authority that they may have lost business to the LEED program, they may get a second chance to go after USGBC’s energy efficiency claims.
On June 8, 2010, Utah Governor Gary Herbert launched a formal planning process for the Utah Energy Initiative. Over the past several months the members of the Utah Energy Initiative Task Force and various subcommittees have conducted public hearings and a series of meetings to gather input for purposes of drafting a 10-year strategic energy plan. The Energy Initiative Task Force issued a draft report on November 3, 2010. Written comments on the draft report are due by November 10, 2010 and should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. A public hearing at which public comment will be accepted will be held on November 10, 2010 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the Senate Building (State Capitol complex east building), Room 215, Salt Lake City, Utah.
The energy plan outlined in the report contains the following themes:
- Economic Development and Energy Jobs
- Energy Development and Environment
- Energy Efficiency, Conservation and Demand-Response
- Transportation and Air Quality
- Transmission, Infrastructure and Transportation
- Developing and Applying Technology and Science
Summary of key points in the report:
- Economic Development and Energy Jobs:
- Conventional energy and mineral resources have historically served as the backbone of Utah's energy production -- however, Utah also possesses an array of renewable resources
- The study raises both a concern and an opportunity: energy-focused counties, and by extension the state, need to have strategies in place to adequately balance their reliance on energy as an economic and employment driver
- As the cost of renewable energy continues to decline, regulatory reforms which encourage renewable energy development and use, once the cost tipping point is reached, will grow Utah's economy
- Utah must show an unwavering commitment to the future energy economy that includes balancing fossil fuel development with development of renewable and alternative energy
- Energy Development and Environment:
- Utah's energy portfolio should include fossil fuels, alternative fuels, renewable resources, and energy efficiency
- Future energy projections place significant demands on natural gas production in Utah and may require importation of additional natural gas supplies from neighboring states
- Electricity generation in Utah is undergoing a transition from predominantly coal-fired generation to a more diverse portfolio of natural gas and renewable resources
- Utah has vast untapped renewable energy potential, but policy, economic, and regulatory barriers currently impede widespread market adoption
- Nuclear power generation deserves additional evaluation, but will not be available for electricity generation in this 10-year strategic plan
- Energy development can occur in concert with protection of our air, land, water, and wildlife resources
- Energy Efficiency, Conservation and Demand-Response:
- Models and studies recognize energy efficiency as a cost-effective energy resource
- Constructing buildings to current or above energy code standards reduces the occupant's energy costs and puts downward pressure on utility rates by deferring investment in new energy generation that would otherwise be needed to meet rising demand
- A barrier to widespread adoption of energy efficiency and conservation is the lack of public awareness and understanding about energy, energy-efficiency technologies, practices and programs
- In many situations, incentives are sufficient to encourage businesses and residential consumers to pursue individual energy-efficiency measures, but barriers remain for obtaining significant energy savings on a whole-house or whole-building basis
- New home and new commercial building design and construction should be energy efficient
- Strategies are needed to advance energy efficiency in Utah's industrial sector
- Utah's regulatory framework is most effective in focusing its efforts on reducing overall energy consumption, managing peak loads through best practices, and supporting energy-efficiency and demand-response programs, consumer education, and utility rate design to promote energy efficiency and conservation
- Transportation and Air Quality:
- Utah needs to improve vehicle technology/efficiency and alternative fuels (refueling) infrastructure
- Fuel consumption and air pollution can be reduced through more efficient traffic flow, using engineering and technology to effectively manage all modes of traffic and maximizing the effectiveness of our transportation systems
- Changing behavior is difficult, but communication strategies and tactics that provide awareness and education, supported by incentives, marketing and promotions can succeed in reducing unnecessary travel, particularly the number and duration of solo-driver trips
- Assist communities in choosing land-use options that reduce per-capita energy consumption, improved air quality, and make it easier for people to get from one place to another
- Changes in fuel prices can change behavior
- A better balance of regional travel choices between auto, public transit, bicycling and walking is imperative
- Transmission, Infrastructure and Transportation
- Electric and natural gas transmission is a key part of any state's overall energy policy, but it is the most difficult component of the energy delivery system to construct
- The current lack of transmission capacity in Utah could prevent the state from reaping the economic and environmental advantages of developing renewable energy projects within our borders
- With the projected increase in travel and population, there is a need to expand the state transportation system, as defined in the Utah Long Range Plan
- Need to develop a state level position to propose alternatives to current regulation and funding sources to encourage transmission line and pipeline construction in areas that promote economic development or renewable resource development
- The state needs a clear process for siting and permitting transmission infrastructure projects as part of its State Energy Plan
- Various linear infrastructure projects create competition for scarce corridors that creates a greater impact on citizens
- Public interest multiple infrastructure corridors cannot be secured without funding and right-of-way acquisition
- Infrastructure should be built in a way to minimize environmental and social impacts
- Encourage strong energy efficiency, demand-side management measures and distributed generation to minimize the need to build additional transmission
- Developing and Applying Technology and Science:
- Enhance the state's energy research facilities and continue to attract world-class researchers to the state
- Align the state's main research universities - University of Utah (U of U), Utah State (USU) and Brigham Young University (BYU) -- into a powerful energy research and development triangle
- Connect this "research triangle" with industry, national laboratories and regional universities to effectively commercialize new energy technologies and develop Utah's conventional, alternative and renewable energy resources
- Empower Utah's education system to expand its ability to train, attract and retain the skilled talent necessary to grow Utah's energy economy
- Utah's energy industry research and development leads in such fields as geomechanics, new material technology and clean coal technologies
- The eight Utah College of Applied Technology (UCAT) campuses, community colleges, and other higher education institutions offering energy-related technical training, fill an essential role in developing and maintaining a technically-trained Utah workforce
Following on the heels of a September 2010 report by GTM Research forecasting that the smart grid market in the U.S. will grow more than 70%, from $5.6 billion in 2010 to $9.6 billion by 2015, Smart Grid Oregon today announced the new organization’s first conference to be held on November 9, 2010 at the World Trade Center in downtown Portland.
The conference will feature keynoters Kurt Yeager, Executive Director of the Galvin Electricity Initiative and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Electric Power Research Institute; and Roy Hemmingway, past Chair of the Oregon Public Utility Commission and also past Chair of the New Zealand Electricity Commission.
Smart Grid Oregon is a trade association that was launched in June 2009 and is dedicated to making Oregon a leader in the implementation of Smart Grid technologies and in supporting companies that build and market Smart Grid products and services. The aim of the first Smart Grid Oregon Public Policy Conference is to help public and utility officials, regulators, legislators, city and county governments and other stakeholders in Oregon and the region gain a better understanding of the Smart Grid and policy decisions that will need to be addressed in the coming years.
Stoel Rives is a member of Smart Grid Oregon, and we are a sponsor of the November 9 conference. See you there!
To learn more, go to www.smartgridoregon.org or contact Ashley Henry at Ashley@smartgridoregon.org or 503-866-9191.
The Department of Energy today announced the award of more than $37 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to 17 projects supporting solid-state lighting core research, product development, and domestic manufacturing.
Solid-state lighting, which uses light-emitting diodes (“LEDs”) and organic light-emitting diodes (“OLEDs”) instead of incandescent bulbs, has the potential to be ten times more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent lighting.
Lighting needs account for almost one-quarter of the total electricity used in the United States today. Those needs could be reduced by as much as one-third by 2030 if cost-effective solid-state lighting is adopted on a national basis.
Link to the full story and the list of selected projects: http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/progress_alerts.cfm/pa_id=287
Today Energy Secretary Chu announced that the Department of Energy will award $47 million for 14 nation-wide projects that will support the development of new technologies improving energy efficiency in the information technology (IT) and communications sectors – specifically, data processing, data storage, and telecommunications industries. The increase in energy consumption in these sectors is a direct corollary of the industries’ brisk expansion. Improving energy efficiency will provide significant energy and cost savings.
The Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced a new $390 million energy upgrade program under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (“EECBG”) Program that could save $100 million annually in utility bills. DOE is looking for community-scale retrofit projects that will have a significant, long-lasting impact on energy consumption and which can be replicated in communities nationwide.
DOE is also making $64 million available under the EECBG to local governments that were not eligible to receive the formula grants announced earlier this year under the population-based formula.
These programs were announced through a Request for Information (“RFI”) issued today under the competitive portion of the EECBG Program. DOE is seeking public comment until Sept. 28, 2009.
A link to the Request for Information is below. This is not a funding opportunity announcement so no applications can be made at this point. The FOA is expected to be released in early October, following the public comment period.
Show me the Money: Washington State Issues Final Guidance for Competitive Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides $3.2 billion for energy efficiency and conservation block grants. Most of this money has been allocated directly to various local governments. Washington has an additional $6.4 million available through a competitive grant program.
Washington’s competitive grant program is administered through its Department of Commerce. Today, the Department of Commerce has announced the issuance of final guidelines for applications by smaller cities and counties for funds from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. Cities with populations lower than 35,000 and counties with populations lower than 200,000 are eligible to apply. Eligible cities and counties may choose to sub-grant their funds to other local governments, non-profits, or the private sector consistent with the guidelines.
The application guidelines, form, and frequently asked questions are available at www.commerce.wa.gov/recovery. The Department of Commerce will host a webinar on September 10, 2009, 9:00-11:00a.m., to review the final guidelines and answer questions. You can register for the webinar at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/352879171. For more information contact Heather Ballash at email@example.com.
Show Me the Money: State Energy Programs for Seven States and Territories Awarded $119 Million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("Recovery Act")
On August 14, 2009, the Department of Energy ("DOE") State Energy Program ("SEP") announced that more than $119 million in funding from the Recovery Act to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects has been awarded to Alabama, American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, North Dakota and Wyoming.
Here is a summary of how the monies will be used by each of the states and territories:
- Alabama has been awarded $22,228,000 in federal stimulus funds. Alabama will utilize the Recovery Act SEP funding to promote energy efficiency of businesses (with a particular focus on the automotive supplier industry), schools, and correctional facilities and the development of renewable energy resources in the state. The state will also use funds to create a new "energy revolving loan fund" to stimulate the creation and retention of jobs and increase the generation of renewable energy by providing low-interest loans for new and existing industries in the state. The loans will be used for the installation of renewable energy systems and the implementation of energy efficiency measures. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, Alabama will receive nearly $28 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $55 million. Click here for more information regarding Alabama's state energy program and use of Recovery Act funds.
- American Samoa was awarded $7,420,000 in federal stimulus funds. American Samoa will utilize the Recovery Act SEP funding to expand the use of renewable energy across the territory, as well as to supplement weatherization funds to improve home energy efficiency for low-income residents. Specifically, the territory will install a 1,000 kW photovoltaic solar-energy array near the Tafuna Power Station, 19 smaller 28 kW solar arrays on the roofs of government and other buildings, and a solar water heating system at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center. American Samoa is also interested in expanding its use of wind power, and will use Recovery Act funds to set up eight anemometers to measure and quantify the territory's wind potential. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the territory will receive more than $9 million in additional funding, for a total of $18 million.
- The District of Columbia was awarded $8,808,800 in federal stimulus funds. The District of Columbia will utilize the Recovery Act SEP funding to improve energy efficiency in government buildings and support numerous public energy education initiatives. Specifically, the state will use funds to replace existing mechanical and electrical equipment at various DC properties with new energy efficient equipment and controls. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the District will receive an additional $11 million, for a total of more than $22 million.
- Illinois has been awarded $40,528,400 in federal stimulus funds. Illinois will utilize the Recovery Act SEP funding for energy efficiency retrofits and the biofuels industry. Specifically, the state will provide grants to support new biomass manufacturing capacity or retrofits to existing facilities that will help reduce operating expenses and the environmental impact of biofuels manufacturing. The state will also use the Recovery Act SEP funds to provide grants to various entties including schools, public buildings, and industrial facilities to improve energy efficiency in new and existing buildings, facilities, equipment, and processes. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, Illinois will receive more than $50 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $101 million. Click here for more information on Illinois's state energy program and use of Recovery Act funds.
- Maryland has been awarded $20,708,880 in federal stimulus funds. Maryland will utilize the Recovery Act SEP funding to promote clean and efficient energy usage in the transportation, residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. The state will also provide grants to support cost-effective and environmentally responsible building retrofits, along with innovative public-financing programs such as the EmPOWER financing initiative that will enable property owners to leverage private capital in order to implement efficiency improvements. Other uses for the funding will focus on supporting educational and workforce training efforts that will help familiarize the state's workforce with important sustainable energy approaches. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, Maryland will receive $26 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $51 million.
- North Dakota has been awarded $9,834,000 in federal stimulus funds. North Dakota will utilize the Recovery Act SEP funds to promote various energy efficiency and conservation efforts, including providing energy education resources for North Dakota's agricultural and industrial sectors that will help farmers, ranchers, contractors and building tradesmen reduce their energy use. The state will also lead by example by improving energy efficiency of state buildings and installing renewable energy systems at state facilities. Funds will also be used to create a statewide energy efficiency and renewable energy rebate program, in partnership with investor-owned and municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives. In addition, the state will establish an Emergency High Efficiency Furnace Rebate Program, which will assist victims of the 2009 spring floods with the incremental cost of installing a high efficiency furnace to replace standard efficiency furnaces and heating systems. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, North Dakota will receive over $12 million in additional funding for a total of more than $24 million.
- Wyoming has been awarded $9,976,400 in federal stimulus funds. Wyoming will use its Recovery Act SEP funds to promote energy efficiency in buildings and homes across the state. The state will make grants to governmental and tribal entities, nonprofit organizations, and others for the purpose of retrofitting existing facilities to improve their energy efficiency by a minimum of 25%. Wyoming will also use the Recovery Act funds to provide rebates to help middle-income homeowners that are not eligible for low-income weatherization assistance to increase energy efficiency of their homes. In addition, Wyoming will provide rebates of up to $5,000 to homeowners for installing residential renewable energy systems, including solar photovoltaic, wind and geothermal systems. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $12 million in additional funding, for a total of nearly $25 million.
Today, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced more than $66 million in Recovery Act funding to four states for their weatherization assistance programs. The funding will help weatherize over 26,000 homes, lower energy costs, reduce pollution, and create green jobs across the country. Here is how the funds will be used in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut and Hawaii:
Alaska was awarded over $7.2 million today. Alaska will use its weatherization funds to weatherize more than 1,500 homes over the next three years. The money will be deployed through the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (“AHFC”), which manages weatherization in the state. The AHFC has created a statewide call center for client intake and is working with five local organizations to administer the program. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Alaska will receive additional funds of $9 million, for a total of more than $18 million.
Colorado was awarded over $31.8 million today. Colorado will use its weatherization funds to weatherize more than 16,750 homes over the next three years. The money will be deployed through the Colorado Energy $aving Partners Program (“E$P), which manages weatherization in the state. The E$P will perform provide green job training to promote the weatherization effort, and eleven local agencies will assist in retrofitting cost-effective measures in homes. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Colorado will receive additional funds of approximately $40 million, for a total of more than $79 million.
Connecticut was awarded over $25.7 million today. Connecticut will use its weatherization funds to weatherize more than 7,400 homes and re-weatherize an additional 100 homes over the next three years. The money will be deployed through the Department of Social Services, which manages weatherization in the state. Homes will receive an energy audit before even the more common weatherization activities are performed. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Connecticut will receive additional funds of $32 million, for a total of more than $64 million. Hawaii was awarded over $1.6 million today. Hawaii will use its weatherization funds to weatherize more than 650 homes over the next three years. The money will be deployed through the Hawaii Office of Community Services, which manages weatherization in the state. The Office of Community Services will provide training and technical assistance to local agencies to increase energy conservation and lower utility bills for low-income families. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Hawaii will receive additional funds of $2 million, for a total of more than $4 million.
Connecticut was awarded over $25.7 million today. Connecticut will use its weatherization funds to weatherize more than 7,400 homes and re-weatherize an additional 100 homes over the next three years. The money will be deployed through the Department of Social Services, which manages weatherization in the state. Homes will receive an energy audit before even the more common weatherization activities are performed. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Connecticut will receive additional funds of $32 million, for a total of more than $64 million.
Hawaii was awarded over $1.6 million today. Hawaii will use its weatherization funds to weatherize more than 650 homes over the next three years. The money will be deployed through the Hawaii Office of Community Services, which manages weatherization in the state. The Office of Community Services will provide training and technical assistance to local agencies to increase energy conservation and lower utility bills for low-income families. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Hawaii will receive additional funds of $2 million, for a total of more than $4 million.
The U.S. Department of Energy (‘DOE”) today announced plans to provide up to $52.5 million to research, develop, and demonstrate Concentrating Solar Power systems capable of providing electrical power both day and night at low cost. This is a competitive funding opportunity which focuses on:
1. Research and development of concepts and components for a CSP system that enables a plant to produce low-cost electricity at least 18 hours of the day; and
2. Evaluation of the feasibility and development of a prototype complete CSP system capable of operating at least 18 hours per day while generating low-cost power.
The DOE will award money for research and development of solar systems that produce power at least 18 hours a day.Funding depends on continuing annual appropriations. DOE anticipates making up to 13 project awards totaling up to $52.5 million.
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu today announced the availability of nearly $300 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for state-run rebate programs for consumer purchases of new ENERGY STAR® qualified home appliances.
The new funding will be awarded according to a formula to states and territories that submit a plan specifying which ENERGY STAR appliance categories will be included in the program, the amount of the rebate level and other information. States and territories must first file an initial application expressing their intent to participate by August 15, 2009, followed by a full application by October 15, 2009. States and territories will receive 10% of the funds after submitting the initial application with the balance awarded after their program plans are approved. DOE anticipates that a vast majority of funding will be awarded by November 30, 2009. The complete Funding Opportunity Announcement, under number DE-FOA-000011.
From our colleague Christina Asavareungchai:
Today, the Department of Energy announced more than $141 million in Recovery Act funding to six states and territories under its State Energy Program (“SEP”). Here is how the funds will be used in Hawaii, Maine, Nebraska, New Mexico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Texas:
Hawaii will use its SEP funds to directly finance high-performance buildings, retrofits, and other energy-saving measures, in addition to training professionals in the building and design industry about energy efficiency. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Hawaii will receive additional funds of nearly $13 million, for a total of almost $26 million.
Maine will use its SEP funds to improve energy efficiency across multiple sectors. The funds will facilitate the establishment of more energy-efficient building codes, as well as the expansion of programs that aim to improve the energy efficiency of businesses and homes. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Maine will receive additional funds of more than $13 million, for a total of over $27 million.
Nebraska will use its SEP funds to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. The state will establish more efficient building energy codes, offer energy efficiency training, and fund programs that offer low-interest loans to the commercial and industrial sector. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Nebraska will receive additional funds of more than $15 million, for a total of over $30 million.
New Mexico will use its SEP funds to offer financial incentives for the purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles, alternative fuels, and investments in related infrastructure. The state will also fund building retrofits, energy audits, the establishment of energy codes, and the expansion of the Weatherization Assistance Program. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, New Mexico will receive additional funds of nearly $16 million, for a total of almost $32 million.
The Northern Mariana Islands will use its SEP funds to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings, establish energy efficiency policies, and educate the public about energy efficiency. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, the territory will receive additional funds of more than $9 million, for a total of over $18 million.
Texas will use its SEP funds to establish a revolving loan program for improving energy efficiency at public facilities and to offer competitive grants to state agencies, schools, hospitals, and communities for the implementation of renewable energy technologies. Texas will also use its funds to provide training for green jobs and to launch an educational campaign designed to teach the public about the link between energy conservation, reduced emissions, and job creation. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Texas will receive additional funds of $109 million, for a total of almost $219 million.
On June 26, 2009, the Department of Energy ("DOE") released a funding opportunity announcement ("FOA") to deploy $7.5 million in Recovery Act funds to further its goals of reducing energy consumption and achieving net zero-energy buildings (defined as buildings that produce as much energy as they consume). In order to reach these goals, DOE recognizes that a workforce must be created to help existing buildings reach, and new buildings keep, their full energy efficiency potential.
This specific FOA provides ten to thirty individual awards from $250,000, to $750,000 to develop training programs for three specific sets of commercial building specialists:
- Equipment technicians,
- Operators, and
- Energy commissioning agents/auditors
Entities involved with energy efficiency, professional development associations, trade training/development associations, universities, community colleges, technical trade schools, and apprenticeship programs are encouraged to apply.
Applications must be submitted by September 1, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Show Me the Money: Minnesota, South Carolina, and South Dakota State Energy Programs Received $51.4 Million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
On June 24, 2009, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced more than $204 million in ARRA funding to ten states for their State Energy Programs (“SEPs”).
Here is a summary of how the monies will be used in Minnesota, South Carolina and South Dakota:
Minnesota has been awarded $21.7 million in federal stimulus funds for retrofitting existing public buildings and homes, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and to develop new training opportunities. Minnesota’s SEP will award grants to small, medium, and large businesses to help provide for the design, financing and installation of various energy efficiency improvements and retrofits. The state will also administer grants to work with utilities to develop programs that leverage ARRA funds to promote energy efficiency with customers, such as low-interest loans and grants. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, Minnesota will receive more than $27 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $54 million. This money is in addition to the $132 million the state will receive for weatherization grants for low-income households.
South Carolina has been awarded $20.2 million in federal stimulus funds. South Carolina’s SEP will utilize the funding to provide grants and loans to improve energy efficiency in public school districts, public colleges and universities, and state agencies to reduce the burden of energy bills for taxpayers, while creating jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. South Carolina also intends to provide financial assistance to various industrial, commercial and small business entities to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. This financial assistance, along with education and training programs included in the SEP, will help create clean energy jobs in the state and make business and industry more economically stable. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $25 million in additional funding, for a total of over $50 million.
South Dakota has been awarded $9.5 million in federal stimulus funds. South Dakota’s SEP will use its funding to support the Energy Efficient Government program and to provide revolving energy loans to state institutions. The programs will promote energy efficiency efforts while reducing energy costs in state owned buildings, which will directly benefit state residents. The state’s energy office will administer the funds, provide technical guidance, and assure accountability and transparency for the state institutions who apply for the two programs. These programs coordinate with South Dakota’s energy goals to promote and encourage energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy and alternative fuels. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $11 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $23 million.
U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) Secretary Steven Chu today announced more than $204 million in Recovery Act funding to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in ten states, including Washington and Arizona. Under DOE's State Energy Program (“SEP”), states have proposed plans that promote energy savings, create or retain renewable energy jobs, increase the use of renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These ten states have now received 50% of their total SEP funds and will get the remaining 50% provided that they meet reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones.
The Recovery Act appropriates a total of $3.1 billion to the SEP. Eligible categories include energy audits, building retrofits, education and training programs, increased use of alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles, among others. Besides encouraging technology innovation, DOE intends that the funds be used for activities that promote new jobs and stimulate the local economy.
My colleagues are blogging on the other 8 states that received funds today. Here is a summary of how the monies will be used in Arizona and Washington:
Arizona plans to initiate a series of novel programs aimed at providing support for local renewable energy manufacturers and products. Arizona plans to create a revolving loan program for small business owners who are looking for funds to improve the use of energy or install solar projects at their facilities, and to manufacturers of renewable energy or energy efficiency equipment and technologies. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, Arizona will be granted an additional $27 million, for a total of $55 million.
Washington will use its Recovery Act funds for two major programs: the Community-Wide Urban Residential and Commercial Energy Efficiency Program and the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Loans and Grants Program Fund. Under these programs, Washington funds will be allocated to energy efficiency improvements and home weatherization, agricultural energy assessments, green job creation and to the development of a clean energy state policy. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, Washington will receive the other 50% of SEP monies of $30 million for a total of over $60 million.
The USDA announced today that it is accepting applications under the Rural Energy for America Program (“REAP”). REAP provides grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements and conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems.
REAP funds are available in the following amounts:
- Grants for energy efficiency projects are available for up to the lesser of $250,000 or 25% of the project costs.
- Grants for renewable energy systems are available for up to the lesser of $500,000 or 25% of the project costs.
- Grants for feasibility studies for renewable energy systems are available for up to the lesser of $50,000 or 50% of the costs of the study.
- Loan guarantees are available for up to the lesser of $25 million or 75% of the project costs.
Applicants must be agricultural producers or rural small businesses. Agricultural producers are farmers or ranchers that obtain more than half of their gross income from agricultural operations. Small rural businesses are small businesses, as determined in accordance with the Small Business Administration's small business size standards, located in rural areas. Applications are due July 31, 2009.
Earlier this week, I attended Climate Solutions’ Business Briefing on the Governor’s Proposed Climate Change Policy. Hosted by Gerding Edlen, the briefing offered a snapshot of the Governor’s legislative agenda for 2009 and beyond, and gave the sustainable business community the opportunity to offer feedback on what needs to happen to move the plans forward.
The Governor’s Climate Change Agenda (the “Agenda”) covers four major areas: greenhouse gas (“GHG”) reductions, renewable energy, sustainable transportation, and energy efficiency. Some highlights follow.
Greenhouse Gas Reductions
There are three major components to the GHG reduction plan: a cap and trade program, an emissions performance standard, and an authorization of the development of Environmental Quality Commission (“EQC”) regulations. Included in the proposed 2009 legislation is the authorization for Oregon’s participation in a regional cap and trade program. Once authorized, the plan calls for a statewide public process to gather input on how best to structure the program. The program design recommendations will be brought back to the 2011 Legislature for approval, with the regional program scheduled to go into effect in 2012.
In the renewable energy realm, the Agenda includes a solar feed-in tariff, a beefed-up Business Energy Tax Credit (“BETC”), and initiatives to help the state meet the Governor’s goal of 100% renewable energy for state government. Following Germany’s lead, which has had amazing success with the solar energy incentive program known as a “feed-in tariff”, the Governor’s proposed legislation will create a production incentive pilot program to help pay for the electricity produced by a solar project.
The Governor also plans to create a BETC Energy Fund to offer up-front project funding. As with the Cultural Trust program, this proposal will enable citizens to donate money into the fund and take a tax credit on the donation.
Thinking about buying a Prius? If you are hoping for a state tax credit, you may want to revise your wish list. The Governor’s plan calls for a shift toward vehicles that produce less carbon and that have not yet permeated the market, such as plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles. In addition, the Agenda would authorize the EQC to develop and phase in a low-carbon fuel standard, that will require fuel providers to lower the average carbon intensity of fuels sold by 10%. The plan also includes an Expanded Transportation Options program and the development of a least carbon planning model.
Because energy efficiency investments are such a cost-effective way to reduce both our energy demand and GHG emissions, a large chunk of the Agenda is devoted to this area. The Governor has put forth several proposals, such as the creation of energy performance certificates, the expansion of the BETC for energy efficiency investments, and the authorization of bonding authority for local governments to finance energy efficiency projects.
Proposed legislation seeks to establish a goal of net-zero emissions homes and buildings by 2030. As a start, the legislation seeks to increase energy efficiency in commercial and residential building codes by 30 percent and 15 percent, respectively. The Agenda also calls for expanding the BETC for industrial energy efficiency projects from 35 percent to 50 percent of the total project costs, up to $20 million.
The various pieces of the Governor’s Agenda will add teeth to existing state programs aimed at addressing climate change, and help keep Oregon at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship in the sustainable business realm.