Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vilsack Announces Energy Audit Applications Now Being Accepted

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the department is accepting funding applications from eligible entities for grants to conduct energy audits under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

"For the first time ever, USDA will make grant funding available this year through the Rural Energy for America Program to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses obtain audits to identify ways to improve energy efficiency," Vilsack said. "The assistance provided by this program is in keeping with President Obama's energy conservation goals for our nation." The program is authorized in Section 9007 of the 2008 Farm Bill.

The audits are intended to help rural small businesses and agricultural producers determine where to make changes in their operations to enable them to reduce energy consumption. Audits are required for energy efficiency projects funded through REAP that exceed $50,000. States, tribal and local governments, land grant colleges or universities, other institutions of higher learning, and electric cooperatives and public power entities are eligible to receive funds to conduct the audits. Parties seeking audits from the grantees must pay 25 percent of audit costs.

Applications for grants must be completed and submitted on paper or electronically no later than June 9. For further details about eligibility rules and application procedures, see page 10533 of the March 11 Federal Register,

SDA Rural Development intends to publish and seek public comment on a proposed regulation for the REAP program later this year.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at .
from the USDA website. Original post can be found at:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

CEC: California Energy Activities Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

On February 17, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) into law. The comprehensive economic stimulus legislation provides nearly $800 billion in new spending for a variety of programs and activities designed to spur economic development and job growth. Moreover, the economic stimulus bill substantially increases funding for existing and new energy programs and initiatives.
ARRA contains over $37 billion in federal funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy and a host of other clean energy initiatives. These initiatives are also supported with about $20 billion in energy-related tax credits, energy bonds and other favorable tax incentives. New funding and energy-related tax credits present California and the California Energy Commission and its stakeholders and citizens with an opportunity to lay the foundation for economic recovery and a more secure and cleaner energy future.
With the signing of ARRA, the Energy Commission is expected to receive nearly $300 million in federal funding for the State Energy Program (SEP) and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Programs (EECBG). Funds from these two programs will support efforts to promote conservation, increase energy efficiency and expand renewable energy in California.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is working on guidelines for the distribution and use of the SEP and EECBG funds. Release of the federal guidelines is imminent, and we are very interested in working with DOE, state agencies, and our energy stakeholders to ensure we get the money out quickly to stimulate economic activity and create the foundation for long-term sustainable growth.
The Energy Commission has launched a new website page devoted to ARRA activities at:
The site provides timely information about economic and energy stimulus activities and how you can stay informed and participate in upcoming workshops. I encourage you to visit the site and invite you to participate in future stakeholder meetings and workshops that will be announced soon.
Thank you.
Melissa Jones
Executive Director
California Energy Commission
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