Show Me the Money: More Recovery Act Funding Put Toward State Energy Programs


More money was distributed today by the Department of Energy. 141 million dollars to be more precise. This time Hawaii, Maine, Nebraska, New Mexico, the Northern Mariana Islands and Texas will play beneficiaries of the Recovery Act.

As a part of the Department’s State Energy Program, which has been apportioned $3.1 billion, states and territories propose plans to prioritize energy savings, create or retain jobs, increase the use of renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And that’s where this $141 million will be going. Each state receives funding according to its needs (population based), with Texas receiving more than half of the allotted $141 million dollars. They will receive $87.5 million.

While similar in many aspects, the plans for use of the funds vary by state as well. New Mexico aims to reduce petroleum consumption with its portion. Their plan includes various financial incentives to encourage the purchase of new fuel-efficient vehicles, the use of alternative fuels and biofuels, and investments in alternative fuel and biofuel infrastructure. Whereas the Texans plan includes more on the institution and demonstration of solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal energy technologies by state agencies, communities, schools, and hospitals.

All receiving federal money plan to use a portion of that funding to educate the public about energy efficient, sustainable lifestyles.

“This funding will provide an important boost for state economies, help to put Americans back to work, and move us toward energy independence,” said Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “It reflects our commitment to support innovative state and local strategies to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy while insisting that taxpayer dollars be spent responsibly.”

Once the funding has been dispersed, it is up to the individual states to use the money responsibly. The hope is that this historic down payment on clean energy and conservation will stimulate both economy and change in mindset, with the latter being, perhaps the more important. For without a change in American mindset, the economy will not recover.

Photo Credit: velo_city via flickr under Creative Commons License

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