Reps. Veasey and Stanton Introduce Bill to Increase Funding for Energy Efficiency Block Grants
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee heard testimony on H.R. 2088, a bill introduced by Rep. Greg Stanton (AZ-09) and Rep. Marc Veasey (TX-33), to reauthorize and increase funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG).
The block grant program provides grants to states, local governments, and Indian tribes to assist efforts to reduce fossil fuel emissions and conserve energy. The bill reauthorizes the program and provides it with $3.5 billion annually for the next five years.
“The bipartisan appeal of the EECBG Program has been clear since its inception when it was first authorized in 2007 under the Bush Administration and later funded in 2009 under the Obama Administration,” said Rep. Veasey. “H.R. 2088 is key to diversifying energy sources and providing job opportunities to get resources straight into the communities that would benefit from the program. By reauthorizing the program, we will be assisting communities in their efforts to reduce emissions and conserve energy. This will improve energy efficiency in all sectors of the local economy and will allow flexibility to fund projects that best address local conditions and needs.”
“To better position ourselves for the 21st century economy, we need to invest in energy efficient infrastructure that is both sustainable and makes good business sense,” said Rep. Stanton. “This bill does just that. Through a proven block grant program, we can open up new opportunities for local governments to take action and invest in energy conservation and create new jobs.”
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program represents the largest nationwide direct investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies at the community level in U.S. history. According to the Department of Energy, for every EECBG dollar spent, program participants received approximately $1.76 in bill savings over the lifetime of the measures installed. A study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory showed the program’s activities generated 4.2 MMBtu (million British thermal units) from on-site renewable energy projects, produced a net total job gain of more than 62,000 job years, and avoided 25.7 million metric tons worth of carbon from being emitted due to energy savings and renewable generation.
H.R. 2088 includes modifications to the original program to help diversify local energy supplies by promoting clean energy sources. It would specifically authorize grant recipients to use funds on infrastructure for delivering alternative fuels, such as natural gas stations, electric vehicle charging stations, and other next-generation charging technologies.
Since 2008, the EECBG Program has rapidly increased the number of communities directly engaged with the Department of Energy on initiatives to increased renewable energy capacity, technical knowledge, and energy efficiency projects at the local level.