Colorado clean-energy programs benefit from $20 million stimulus boost

The U.S. Department of Energy Monday delivered on nearly $20 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Colorado.

The money is being touted as a huge boost to Gov. Ritter’s New Energy Economy and is just under half of what the state will receive as part of the DOE’s State Energy Program (SEP) in the stimulus bill. The money will fund the following projects statewide:

• The Energy Efficiency for Existing Buildings Program aimed at reducing energy use and carbon emissions at state agencies, including public schools.

• Expansion of the state’s Renewable Energy Rebates and Grants Program for residential, commercial and industrial/utility consumers.

• Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) promotion of energy efficiency in new and existing homes with programs such as the Whole House Tune-up, which bundles efficiency incentives for homes.

• GEO enhancement of information for residents and business owners looking at all of their renewable energy and conservation options.

• Other SEP-funding eligible programs include energy audits, building retrofits, education and training efforts, transportation programs using alternative fuels, hybrid vehicles, and new financing tools for energy efficiency and renewable energy investments.

The latest infusion of SEP money is 40 percent of what the state will receive and brings the total to 50 percent, with the first 10 percent going to planning. Another $24 million is earmarked for the state if Colorado meets certain accountability milestones. The GEO will also direct another $80 million in stimulus money targeting weatherization projects for low-income residences.

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