WASHINGTON, DC (Monday, July 27) – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) on Monday announced $8,799,600 in recovery funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs in Vermont.
The latest installment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, this funding will go to State Energy Program (SEP) projects that prioritize energy savings, create or retain jobs, increase the use of renewable energy and reduce harmful carbon emissions. The money is part of $54 million awarded to four states Monday by the Department of Energy and constitutes 40 percent of the $22 million Vermont’s SEP will receive as a result of the ARRA.
Specifically, Vermont will use the funding to:
• Increase the development and deployment of cost-effective and environmentally sustainable electric power resources by offering grants and loans to residents, businesses, non-profits, governments and farms to help them install such renewable energy systems as solar, wind and geothermal.
• Establish a revolving loan and/or small grant program for non-profit and government institutions – including K-12 school districts, colleges and universities – to implement energy efficiency measures of renewable energy projects
• Install thermal solar renewable energy systems for heating and hot water to low-income residences.
In order to ensure that stimulus funds are being deployed effectively and efficiently, states will not receive the remaining 50 percent of ARRA funding until they meet reporting, oversight and accountability milestones required by the recovery act.
Sen. Leahy said, “A strong economy and a healthy environment go hand in hand. This important funding will help Vermont’s struggling families, farms, businesses, and non-profits by decreasing energy costs and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, all while creating Vermont jobs.”
“There is little doubt in my mind that in the years to come the energy mix in this state will be very different than it is today – with a far greater reliance on sustainable energy,” said Sen. Sanders, a member of the Senate energy and environment committees. “This federal support will be a major step forward in moving our state toward a greener economy.”
“Vermont’s record of innovation and leadership in investing in renewable energy and efficiency will allow it to put these recovery funds to work immediately and effectively,” said Rep. Welch, a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. “This federal investment in such a critical sector will create jobs in Vermont, reduce costs for businesses and homeowners and help Vermont reduce its contribution to climate change.”