Locally led efforts to conserve energy, increase efficiency and invest in clean, renewable energy sources epitomize the oft-cited mantra of sustainability - to think globally while acting locally. Energy saving programs and initiatives contribute to long-term goals of energy independence and reduced fossil fuel emissions. They also provide a range of direct and more immediate benefits for cities and their communities, such as lower energy costs, job creation and facilitating the transition to cleaner sources of energy.
NLC played a key role in supporting local energy efforts by advocating for full funding ($3.2 billion) for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Since July 2009 EECBG grants have been awarded to cities, counties and states to develop and implement innovative energy saving programs such as: building audits, retrofits and weatherization; street and traffic lighting upgrades; energy finance mechanisms; increased transportation options; and initiatives to minimize waste and reduce emissions.
EECBG funding has been especially important in providing capital to support cost-saving and job-creating programs that may not have otherwise been possible in cities facing significant fiscal challenges. Recognizing the importance of this program to local communities, NLC will once again advocate for continued funding for EECBG in the 2011 federal budget.
To emphasize the need for ongoing support, NLC is reaching out to members to gather and share stories from the field demonstrating the impact these funds have had in communities across the country. If your city has received EECBG funding and would like to share updates of projects completed, planned, or in-progress, please e-mail email@example.com for more information.
NLC will also be offering a workshop session on EECBG on Tuesday, March 16 1:45-3:15 p.m. at the Congressional City Conference (www.nlccongressionalcityconference.org) to be held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Department of Energy Announces Regional Meetings for EECBG Grantees
Over the past several months, NLC has been working closely with the Department of Energy (DOE) to identify and resolve challenges cities may encounter in receiving or expending funds for this newly created program.
In response to requests by grantees for further information and outreach, DOE has recently announced a series of regional meetings to begin this week in Atlanta.
During these meetings grantees will have the opportunity to meet in person or via phone conference with program officers to ask questions and discuss their experiences with the program. Participants will also learn about EECBG supported programs considered "best practices" in the region.
Meetings will take place in the following cities:
Atlanta- March 9-10
Chicago- March 16-17
Denver- March 23-24
Ontario, Calif.- March 30-31
Boston- April 6-7
Dallas- April 13-14
Philadelphia- April 20-21
Seattle- April 27-28
To attend a session and/or to schedule a 30-minute appointment with a program officer (in-person or via phone conference), please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information, the session you would like to attend, and your interest in scheduling an appointment.