07.28.09

Delegation Announces $9.58M to Promote Energy Efficiency and Create Green Jobs

State also eligible for up to $12M in additional fund as well as $1 million to fund the ENERGY STAR rebate program for Rhode Islanders

WASHINGTON, DC – Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation today announced that the state has received a $9,584,000 infusion of Recovery Act funds to speed the adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.  The funds are provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and U.S. Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) helped pass in February of 2009.   The funds were released as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) State Energy Program (SEP) to enable states to implement plans that create clean energy jobs, prioritize energy savings, increase the use of renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
 
The delegation also announced the availability of $1,008,000 in funding from the Recovery Act for a state-run rebate program for consumer purchases of new ENERGY STAR® qualified home appliances.  The new program is aimed at making homes more energy efficient and encouraging shoppers that now is a good time to buy.
 
“This funding will help spur economic growth, create green jobs, and encourage the use of more energy efficient equipment that is better for the environment and will save Rhode Islanders money in the long run,” said Reed.
 
"A new clean energy economy beckons us - but we must invest today to create the jobs and build the infrastructure we'll need to reach it," said Sen. Whitehouse, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. "Investing in energy efficiency and conservation is the quickest and most cost effective way to put people back to work and lower their energy bills at the same time."
 
“I am pleased that this federal funding will support Rhode Island economic recovery by boosting local businesses and saving consumers money.  As we move toward a new energy economy, these investments will deliver economic and environmental benefits for years to come,” said Kennedy.
 
"Increasing energy efficiency in our homes and businesses is key to revitalizing the state's economy," said Langevin. "This funding will allow our state energy office to prioritize programs and projects that will benefit consumers.”
 
State Energy Program (SEP)
Under the Recovery Act, Rhode Island is slated to receive a total of nearly $24 million in State Energy Program (SEP) funding, which flows out to states in three stages: The initial 10 percent ($2.3 million) of total funding was released shortly after passage of the bill to support planning activities; today’s allocation of 40 percent ($9.58 million) will enable the state to implement clean energy initiatives.  The remaining 50 percent of funds - nearly $12 million - will be released next year after the state demonstrates successful reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones that show the money is being well spent.

Rhode Island will use these Recovery Act funds to advance energy efficiency in the public, commercial, industrial, and residential sectors. Rhode Island will implement various commercial and industrial energy efficiency initiatives that will help employers lower energy bills and improve profitability. For the residential sector, Rhode Island will increase professional support for comprehensive household energy audits and energy efficiency improvements. The state will also use Recovery Act funding to upgrade the state's building energy codes to help realize energy savings in new residential and commercial buildings

New Energy Efficient Appliances Rebate Program
The Recovery Act also provides Rhode Island with the opportunity to take advantage of over $1 million in federal funding for a rebate program for energy-efficient insulation and appliances.  This funding will encourage consumer purchases of new ENERGY STAR® qualified home appliances, stimulating people to not only buy new equipment, but more energy efficient products.

In order to receive the funding, the state must submit a plan that specifies which ENERGY STAR® appliance categories will be included in their rebate program, the rebate level for each product type, how the rebates will be processed, and their plan for recycling old appliances.  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 percent of the funds after submitting their initial application, with the balance awarded after their program plans are approved.  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) anticipates that a vast majority of funding will be awarded by November 30, 2009. 

Eligible Appliances
States have the flexibility to select which residential ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances to include in their programs and the individual rebate amount for each appliance. DOE recommends that states and territories focus their program efforts on heating and cooling equipment, appliances, and water heaters as these products offer the greatest energy savings potential.  ENERGY STAR® qualified appliance categories eligible for rebates include: central air conditioners, heat pumps (air source and geothermal), boilers, furnaces (oil and gas), room air conditioners, clothes washers, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, and water heaters.

States and territories can use these funds to leverage the utility companies and energy efficiency program sponsors in their area.

This program will also leverage the power of the ENERGY STAR® program, a well-known labeling program that helps consumers make energy smart choices by identifying the most energy efficient products. ENERGY STAR® is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that covers more than 60 product categories and is supported by a network of almost 600 utility and state and government partners serving more than 74 million households, over 2,000 retail partners representing more than 27,000 storefronts, and 2,645 manufacturers of ENERGY STAR® qualified products.

The Recovery Act also includes a bundle of energy efficiency tax credits that allow homeowners to claim up to $1,500 for home improvement products purchased from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2010.

For more information on these and other Recovery Act related funding opportunities, visit: Energy.gov/recovery <http://www.energy.gov/recovery> .

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