[Sometimes, it’s better not to reinvent the wheel.  As I was preparing this week’s posts, I came across Lane Burt’s analysis of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) stimulus funding.  Lane, an NRDC Policy Analyst, agreed to let me use his post today.  Check out Lane’s blog – it’s a great resource for energy policy analysis.]   

DOE released the funding distribution for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) from the recovery act (ARRA) late last week. With this action, we now know as much as we are going to about the destination of the clean energy dollars.

The big ticket items for clean energy were,

  • $5 billion for low income weatherization (WAP)
  • $3.1 billion for state energy programs (SEP)
  • $3.2 billion for the local block grants (EECBG)
  • $4.5 billion for greening GSA facilities

I blogged on the funding breakouts here and here,

We aren’t going to get more clarity on the destination of the GSA funding. GSA has a list of projects across the country, but details have yet to be released and GSA is not required to do so.  [Ed. The GSA released its project list after this post.]

The money for state energy programs and low income weatherization is distributed according to an existing formula that sends a baseline allocation out and divides the remainder, 1/3 weighted according population, 1/3 by consumption, and 1/3 equally. The text of the law is here,

Now, DOE has released the funding amounts for EECBG and a nifty little interactive map so you can see where all the funding (SEP and WAP included) is headed.  More detailed state by state info here, including city by city breakouts for the local block grants.  A few clicks show me that my home state of North Carolina is getting $266 million dollars and my hometown of Charlotte is getting close to $7 million of that.  New York recieves $693 million, California gets $764 million and Texas gets $755 million.

Decision time

DOE is doing everything they can to get this money out now. How it gets spent (in the case of SEP and EECBG) is now a state or local matter and there is a lot of discretion given to states and localities on how to spend it. The potential impact of this money is incredible if used properly to save energy and create jobs, but the potential for waste is also very high.

Because of the potential for waste, there are two words that should guide every state, county, and local official in spending this money – Prioritize Efficiency. I cannot say this enough. It is faster, cheaper, and cleaner than any alternative and it is the only way we can spend now to save us money in the future. It supports local jobs and keeps dollars in the local economy. No one can find a stimulus proposal better than the one that will leave you with more money than you started with in just a few years.