TALLAHASSEE, Fla. /Florida Newswire/ -– Governor Charlie Crist today announced the allocation of more than $168 million in federal economic stimulus funds to state and local governments through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. Under this program the federal government will provide grants to local governments, states, territories and Indian tribes to fund projects that reduce energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency.
“I have made increased energy efficiencies and reduced greenhouse gas emissions priorities in my administration,” Governor Crist said. “These funds represent a remarkable opportunity to invest in the cheapest, cleanest and fastest energy solution – energy efficiency. I encourage Florida’s local governments to utilize these funds in support of projects that will save tax dollars, strengthen our state’s economy and create jobs.”
The EECBG program was authorized in Title V, Subtitle E of the Energy Independence and Security Act, signed into law on December 19, 2007. However, the program was not funded until the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It is administered by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and is modeled after the Community Development Block Grant program administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In Florida, the $168 million in EECBG funds are being allocated through direct formula grants to 17 counties ($74 million), 69 cities ($64 million), two tribal governments ($243,000) and the Governor’s Energy Office ($30 million). In addition, the State Energy Office will distribute $18 million in sub-grants, 60 percent of its federal allocation, as directed by federal authorizing legislation to smaller cities and counties that are ineligible for direct formula grants. Each state decides how to award these sub-grants; Florida expects to release further details on this process in the coming weeks as additional guidance from the federal government becomes available.
The EECBG funding will support energy reviews and efficiency modifications in residential and commercial buildings, advanced building codes and inspections, and 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 lighting for traffic signals and street lights, and other actions that conserve energy.
The state government share of this federal stimulus funding is subject to appropriation by the Florida Legislature, and Governor Crist looks forward to working with the Legislature to obtain the necessary approval. For more information about Florida’s use of the federal recovery dollars made available through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, please visit www.FlaRecovery.com.