This week, the U.S. Department of Energy released guidelines for the billions of stimulus dollars available through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECGP).
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECGB) program is a new program created in late 2007 and funded for the first time through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The program provides funding for local governments, states, territories and Indian tribes, to support projects that reduce energy use, decrease fossil fuel emissions, and improve energy efficiency in all sectors, including transportation. Because the funding comes through ARRA, additional goals have been added focused on job creation and economic stimulus.
Two of the goals of EECBG funding are right in line with bicycle and pedestrian projects and could be beneficial to communities who want to develop bicycling and pedestrian networks:
* Prioritize energy efficiency and conservation first as the cheapest, cleanest, and fastest ways to meet energy demand.
* To maximize benefits over the longest possible terms, entities should look for ways to link their energy efficiency efforts to long-term priorities (especially community economic development, community stabilization and poverty reduction efforts).
Eligibility for Funding
ARRA included $3.2 Billion for EECBG, of which $2.7 Billion will be distributed by the US Department of Energy (DOE) via formula grants to all States and at least the ten largest cities and counties within each state.
A list of eligible localities and estimated allocations are available at http://www.eecbg.energy.gov/grantalloc.html
. Click on a state to see the breakdown for counties and cities within the state.
- States, cities and counties that are listed on the EECBG website must apply to DOE directly to receive their allocation. Applications are due June 26th.
- Cities and counties that are not listed on the website are only eligible to receive funding from their state's Department of Energy. States must sub-grant 60 percent of their EECBG funding to jurisdictions that are not eligible to apply directly to DOE. States must apply for their funding by May 25th, and will be developing application procedures and deadlines in the coming months for the sub-grants.
In addition, at a later date the Department of Energy will be releasing a separate Funding Announcement for $455 million in competitive grants.
Uses of Funds
There are 13 eligible activities for EECBG funding, including the ?Development and Implementation of Transportation Programs to conserve energy.? Within this activity, constructing bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements is specifically mentioned.
What is DOE looking for?
The U.S. Department of Energy is looking for sustainable projects that create and protect jobs as well reduce greenhouse gas emissions. DOE will prioritize projects that:
- Leverage other public and private resources;
- Enhance workforce development;
- Persist beyond the funding period; and
- Promote energy market transformation such as revolving loans, low-cost loans, energy savings performance contracting, advanced building codes, building and home retrofit incentives and policies, and transportation programs and policies.
How will success be measured?
Grantees will be required to report regularly to the DOE on five metrics:
- Jobs created and/or retained;
- Energy savings on a per dollar invested basis;
- Renewable energy capacity installed;
- Greenhouse gas emissions reduced; and
- Funds leveraged.
How do I apply?
For more information or for questions, please visit the DOE?s EECBG website at http://www.eecbg.energy.gov
. A link to the application for states and eligible cities and counties is available athttp://www.eecbg.energy.gov/#lg2