For Immediate Release: May 13, 2010
Media Contact: Susanne Garfield - 916-654-4989

MEDIA ADVISORY

Final Energy Block Grants for Small Cities and Counties Approved
Local Jurisdictions to receive $33.3 million in ARRA Funds



The final 115 small city and county Energy Efficient Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) for more than $20.5 million were approved today by the California Energy Commission. Using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, 277 jurisdictions will receive a total of more than $33.3 million to put into action projects and programs that reduce total energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs and improve energy efficiency in building and other sectors.

"Small entities are used to thinking outside the box leveraging funds to make them go further. These block grants provide extra money to these entities, especially when finances are tight, to save more on their energy bill and boost economies." said Karen Douglas, Chairman, California Energy Commission. "Many of these jurisdictions bundled the grants with low interest loans and utility rebates to help take their communities to the next level of energy efficiencies while creating local jobs."

EECBG funds were allocated on a per capita basis with a minimum of $25,000 for cities and $50,000 for counties. Local jurisdictions also received an unemployment adjustment so that communities hardest hit by the downturn in the economy are getting more funds to help in their recovery. Small cities and counties could choose to use their EECBG funds for direct purchases of pre-selected energy efficiency equipment, energy efficiency projects and/or offering a municipal financing program for their property owners to install energy efficient measures and solar photovoltaics. Other entities, such as the Cities of Weed, Portola, Alturas, Paradise and the Counties of Lassen and Sierra, choose to pool their funding allocations and submit joint grant applications.

"I applaud the California Energy Commission for its efforts in making certain our state's small cities and counties receive their fair share of the Energy Efficient Conservation Block Grants," said senior advisor to the Governor and Director of the California Recovery Taskforce, Richard Rice. "Getting Recovery Act funding to local communities in California is a top priority of the administration and we are committed to the quick and efficient spending of these funds."

The EECBG Program focused on the most bang a public entity can get for its buck - energy efficiency. The Energy Commission estimates that energy efficiency investments from this program can annually save local jurisdictions 34.7 million kWh of electricity; reduce CO2 emissions by 11,285 tons, in excess of $4.8 million and create over 500 new jobs for the communities. All the energy projects must concentrate on energy efficiency and be cost-effective, however the options are almost limitless when considering the various types of lighting retrofits, building upgrades, mechanical equipment, clean energy systems and various energy management control offered.

Cities and counties have until September 2012 to complete their projects. These smaller cities and counties were encouraged to leverage their block grant funds with other programs, such as the State Energy Program and low - interest loans, to make them go further.

The EECBG Program is one of two ARRA funded energy-related programs focused on assisting local governments and public entities to invest in energy efficiency, clean energy systems and green jobs. The Energy Commission was also allocated $226 million under the State Energy Program (SEP) ARRA funds to implement public and private sector programs. The bulk of the SEP funding ($195.4 million) was aimed at combining grants, contracts and loans to fund activities that concentrate on green jobs training, clean energy systems and energy efficiency measures and upgrades for residential and non-residential structures including improvements such as insulation, duct sealing, heating and cooling and water heating systems.

For a list of all 208 energy block grants representing 277 local entities go to www.energy.ca.gov/recovery/blockgrant.html.

For more information about energy-related federal stimulus funding and programs go to the http://energy.ca.gov/recovery/index.html.



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