April 17, 2009
Re: Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants Program
The Governor's Office has asked us the make the following information on the Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants Program available to you. Following is the text of the Governor's letter.
I am pleased to inform you that under the Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) program of the U.S. Department of Energy, New Jersey will receive approximately $75.46 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to help local governments achieve greater energy efficiency and savings.
The purpose of this program is to help states and local governments plan and implement strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions and total energy use. This aligns perfectly with one of the goals I set when I first became your Governor -- a reduction of at least 20 percent of our projected energy consumption by 2020, which we are well on our way of accomplishing.
The EECBG program designates 65 municipalities and 10 counties as “first-tier sub-awardees” eligible to receive $61 million in direct funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE). The State receives $14.4 million and must set aside at least $8.6 million of that allocation to provide sub-grants to municipalities and counties not eligible for direct formula grants.
The USDOE used population and energy consumption data as the basis for designating which local governments would be eligible for direct funds. These counties and municipalities must register and apply in order to receive the EECBG funding. Along with application forms, “first-tier” municipalities and counties must submit an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy either at the time of the application or within 120 days of the award. Application forms are due no later than June 25, 2009. Instructions are available at www.grants.gov, under “Apply for Grants.” All applicants are urged to submit applications well before the due date. A group of “first-tier” local governments may choose to submit a single application. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities is developing a guidance document to assist local governments in preparing their EECS. To request this assistance, email email@example.com.
Grant funding for “first-tier sub-awardees” of $250,000 or less will be obligated at the time of an award, and awardees have 120 days to submit an EECS. “First-tier sub-awardees” receiving between $250,000 and $2 million may receive up to $250,000 for development of an EECS and approved activities. The balance will be obligated upon approval of EECS. See guidelines for information on grants over $2 million and other details. You can access them at www.energy.gov/recovery/funding.htm.
As part of its application, New Jersey must submit an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy that includes a process that allocates sub-grants to non-eligible counties and municipalities. The State is currently engaged in preparing that EECS, which is due no later than May 26. New Jersey must provide the sub-grants no later than 180 days from the date the Secretary of the USDOE approves the EECS.
The EECBG guidelines identify energy efficiency as the number one core principle. This is a golden opportunity for communities to make use of the cheapest and fastest way to be green – by increasing energy efficiency.
Striving for greater energy efficiency is one of the best possible responses you can have to the current economic stresses. I urge eligible local government to apply. We will release information about the sub-grant process as soon as it is available.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.
P.S. For more information about ways your local government can save tax dollars and help reduce the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, please visit www.njcleanenergy.com or www.sustainablejersey.com