Understanding the Stimulus Bill's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants

The National Association of Counties offers tips and will hold a webinar to provide information and answer questions.

by / April 7, 2009

Pictured at left: U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu

State and local governments know money is available from the stimulus bill to fund green initiatives, but the big question is how to get it. The U.S. Department of Energy has broken down exactly how much money each state, city and county is receiving in block grants, and the National Association of Counties (NACo) offers advice on how to obtain money and report it.

Department of Energy Funding Formula

The U.S. Department of Energy created an interactive map that outlines how much money states, cities and counties are being allocated through the stimulus bill's $3.2 billion allocated for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG). According to the department, $2.6 billion of the total currently is available to states, territories, local government and Indian tribes in the form of formula grants, which are apportioned by population. The remaining $455 million will be awarded through competitive grants, but the guidelines have not yet been announced.

Cities eligible to receive the EECBG formula funds must have a population of more than 35,000 or are one of the 10 most-populated cities in their state. Eligible counties must have a population of more than 200,000 or are one of the 10 most-populated counties in their state.

Reporting Requirements

According to FedConnect, the EECBG reporting requirements include:
o annual reports;
o special status reports, which include "developments that have a significant favorable impact on the project" or "problems, delays or adverse conditions which materially impair the recipient's ability to meet the objectives of the award;"
o quarterly progress reports;
o Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy reports, which only are required of local governments and Indian tribes; and
o American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Performance Progress Reports, which will include the number of jobs created and/or retained, energy saved, renewable energy generated, greenhouse gas emissions reduced and cost savings.

The applications are due to the U.S. Department of Energy by June 25, 2009, at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

Advice From NACo

NACo listed tips on its Web site to help state and local governments access the EECBGs. Tips include:
o Register with the federal government. The three-step process can take up to 21 days to complete. Step 1: Request a DUNS Number at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayHomePage.do. Step 2: Register with the Central Contractor Registry. Step 3: E-business point of contact must register in FedConnect.
o Apply. For application instructions and program information, go to http://www.fedconnect.net/FedConnect and search for reference number DE-FOA-0000013 in the public opportunities and awards section.
o Local governments and Indian tribes must submit the required Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy with the application or within 120 days of the award.

NACo is hosting a webinar on April 16 at 2 p.m. Eastern time to address funding opportunities within the EECGBs. The webinar will explore eligibility determinations, funding allocations, application requirements, eligible projects and reporting measurements, according to NACo. Participants can also join in an interactive question-and-answer period with speakers. Individuals must register to attend the webinar.


Elaine Rundle Staff Writer