Vice President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced Thursday plans to invest $3.2 billion in energy efficiency and conservation projects in US cities, counties, states, territories, and Native American tribes.
Dubbed the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program and funded by President Barack Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the new plan will provide formula grants for projects that reduce total energy use and fossil fuel emissions, and improve energy efficiency nationwide.
These investments will save taxpayer dollars and create jobs in communities around the country, Biden said.
Local leaders will have the flexibility in how they put these resources to work - but we will hold them accountable for making the investments quickly and wisely to spur the local economy and cut energy use.
The 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.
To ensure accountability, the Energy Department will provide guidance to and require grant recipients to report on the number of jobs created or retained, energy saved, renewable energy capacity installed, greenhouse gas emissions reduced, and funds leveraged.
Funding will be based on a formula that accounts for population and energy use.
The Block Grants are a major investment in energy solutions that will strengthen America's economy and create jobs at the local level, said Chu.
The funding will be used for the cheapest, cleanest and most reliable energy technologies we have - energy efficiency and conservation - which can be deployed immediately.
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