Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Overview of Funding for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects in Vermont via the Federal Stimulus Package

The State of Vermont is slated to receive approximately $48 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for state programs related to weatherization, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

The Obama administration announced earlier in March that approximately $16 million dollars will be allocated for the Weatherization Assitance Program in Vermont. The Weatherization Assistance Program will allow an average investment of up to $6,500 per home in energy efficiency upgrades and will be available for families making up to 200% of the federal poverty level – or about $44,000 a year for a family of four.

In addition to specific weatherization funding, approximately $21.5 million will also be allocated for renewable energy and efficiency programs through the Vermont State Energy Program. The Vermont Office of Economic Stimulus and Recovery reported last week that these federal funds:
will supplement state monies that are targeted for renewable energy and efficiency from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions compact and the Clean Energy Development Funds, giving the state a total $35.1M. We anticipate allocating 50% to renewable energy and 50% to energy efficiency.The Department of Public Service has filed its formal initial application for SEP funding; final applications are due in May of 2009.
According to the State Recovery Office, applications for specific renewable energy and efficiency projects will not be accepted until the ARRA / Stimulus fund become available to the state.

The Obama Administration also announced that Vermont would receive an additional $10.5 million through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program. This program will provide a direct allocation of funds to the ten largest cities and towns in Vermont, and the remaining funds will be allocated through either a competitive process or through the State Energy Program. This block grant funding will:
support energy audits and energy efficiency retrofits in residential and commercial buildings, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections, and the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements. Other activities eligible for use of grant funds include transportation programs that conserve energy, projects to reduce and capture methane and other greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, renewable energy installations on government buildings, energy efficient traffic signals and street lights, deployment of Combined Heat and Power and district heating and cooling systems, and others.
According to the federal press release, Vermont municipalities will recieve the following amounts:
  • Bennington = $57,900
  • Brattleboro=$56,100
  • Burlington=$180,200
  • Colchester=$71,200
  • Essex=$50,000
  • Essex Junction =$50,000
  • Hartford=$50,000
  • Milton=$50,000
  • Rutland=$78,900
  • South Burlington=$85,500
Meanwhile, representatives of the Windham Regional Planning Commission are rightly asking whether counties in Vermont are being shortchanged by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Under the terms of the ARRA, the 10 most populous towns and the 10 most populous counties in the state are supposed to receive direct allocations through the block grant program. Because Vermont does not have a traditional county government structure, that funding has not been allocated to the 10 most populous counties in Vermont. A report in today's Brattloboro reformer has the story. According to the report, the Vermont congressional delegation "is asking the secretary [of energy] to use the broad authority granted him by Congress to make direct grants to state or regional entities for distribution to eligible counties in lieu of direct grants to county governments."

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