July 29, 2009
Energy Efficiency and Conservation is Focus of DOE Program
From Oklahoma Department of Commerce Newsletter
More than $8.6 million of federal Recovery Act money will fund 40 energy efficiency and conservation projects in Oklahoma
if the U.S. Department of Energy approves a list recommended by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce in late June.
If all 40 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program projects are approved, Commerce expects that 97 jobs will be created or saved. Funding for the projects will immediately follow approval by DOE, which is expected by November 1.
A working group comprised of members from Commerce as well as the Oklahoma offices of the Secretaries of Energy and the Environment was convened early in the process to establish priorities that would best serve the interests of Oklahoma, taking into consideration the requirements of DOE. A separate advisory committee then evaluated 85 proposals submitted from all over the state and ultimately selected 40 projects to receive funding and an additional pool of money to be set aside to fund energy efficient projects in Oklahoma Main Street communities.
Many of the recommended projects are for building energy efficiency improvements while others include solar and wind renewable energy projects and alternative fuel vehicles. Among the criteria used in selecting projects were immediate job creation; use of current technology; use of Oklahoma companies; and demonstrating the state’s commitment to sustainability.
“We are very pleased to recommend these projects for funding. These projects provide an opportunity for some of Oklahoma’s smaller communities to benefit from stimulus funding,” says Secretary of Commerce and Tourism Natalie Shirley. “But more importantly, they allow the communities, their citizens, and businesses to think and act strategically to be good stewards of the environment through energy efficiency and conservation.”
According to Commerce Community Development Director Vaughn Clark, the agency will prepare grant contracts for the recommended projects to ensure projects can begin as quickly as possible after approval from DOE. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) gives preference to projects that can be started and completed quickly. Funds will be provided to the state on a staged schedule to ensure project funds are being spent properly and that jobs are being created.