September 15, 2009

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Nearly $550,000 In Economic Recovery Funding Coming To Town Of Tonawanda For Clean Energy Initiatives

Schumer, Gillibrand: Investing In Energy Efficiency Will Save Consumers Money, Reduce Pollution, and Cut Dependence on Foreign Fossil Fuel

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) has granted an award of $544,700 to the town of Tonawanda through the DOE's Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. The funding, made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), will help implement projects that increase energy efficiency, reduce energy usage and costs, create local jobs and lower carbon pollution. New York State has been allocated a total of $29,760,600.

"Investing in energy efficiency projects is smart and responsible. It will create jobs even while it saves consumers money, reduces pollution, and cuts dependence on foreign fossil fuel," said Schumer. "While Americans are struggling to make ends meet and energy prices and pollution continue to soar, funding clean energy projects makes sense for Tonawanda and all of New York State."

"This is a great investment for Western New York," Senator Gillibrand said. "These federal dollars will help us cut emissions, cut energy costs, create more clean, homegrown sources of energy, create new jobs and help rebuild our economy. I will continue working with Senator Schumer to make sure New York gets its fair share from the federal government."

The EECBG program will provide grants for projects that reduce total energy use and fossil fuel emissions, and improve energy efficiency nationwide.

  • The funding will support energy audits and energy efficiency retrofits, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections, and the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements.
  • Other activities eligible for grant funds include transportation programs that conserve energy, projects to reduce and capture methane and other greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, renewable energy installations on government buildings, energy efficient traffic signals and street lights, energy technologies such as combined heat and power and district heating and cooling systems, and others.
  • Local leaders will have the flexibility in how they put these resources to work - but will be held accountable for making the investments quickly and wisely to spur the local economy and cut energy use.
  • To ensure accountability and transparency, the DOE will provide guidance and require grant recipients to report on the number of jobs created or retained, energy saved, renewable energy capacity installed, greenhouse gas emissions reduced, and funds leveraged. Funding is based on a formula that accounts for population and energy use.

New York State will direct its $29,760,600 in Recovery Act funds towards the State's goal of fulfilling 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and renewable energy by the year 2015.  A minimum of 60 percent of each state's award will be passed through to local cities and counties not eligible for direct EECBG awards from the DOE.  The EECBG Program was funded for the first time by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and provides formula grants to states, cities, counties, territories and federally-recognized Indian tribes nationwide to implement energy efficiency projects locally.