Winchester eligible for energy boost
By JULIE WEISBERG – Staff Reporter
October, 02, 2009
WINSTED — Winchester and several other communities are now eligible to receive thousands of dollars in energy efficiency and conservation block grants as part of the federal government’s continued effort to boost the nation’s economic recovery.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Connecticut will receive more than $9.5 million in federal stimulus funds to distribute to 143 of the state’s small cities and towns for a variety of energy efficiency projects.
According to the governor’s office, Winchester is eligible to receive up to $56,122; Barkhamsted, $35,612; Colebrook, $29,427; Hartland, $31,014; New Hartford, $44,505; and Norfolk, $29,784.
Towns will be able to fund a variety of green-related projects such as energy audits, retrofits, transportation programs that conserve energy, greenhouse gas reduction, development of energy-efficient building codes and geothermal building systems, the governor’s office said.
To secure the money for the state, Rell submitted a block grant proposal to the federal Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. That plan was approved by the department on Sept. 14. Connecticut was one of 22 states to be awarded the funds.
“These funds will allow them [municipalities] to move forward with cost-saving energy efficiency projects that ultimately will save money for local taxpayers,” Rell said in a Sept. 14 press release announcing the plan’s approval. “Particularly important is that many of these innovative projects will help create green collar jobs and boost the local business community.”
The state Office of Policy and Management will administer the grants. The application process is expected to begin within the next few weeks.
In addition, 26 of the state’s largest municipalities were directly awarded a total of $15 million in energy efficiency-related grants through the federal economic stimulus program.
Under Rell’s energy block grant plan, however, every town that did not receive a direct grant from the Department of Energy is eligible for at least a $25,000 grant, plus an additional amount determined by population.
Of the $9.5 million, the state will distribute 90 percent of that as block grants and provide the remaining 10 percent as a “bonus pool” for those towns that choose to participate in regional energy efficiency and conservation projects.
Rell said towns must spend — “or fully commit the funds” — within two years of receiving their grant.
“I strongly encourage local leaders to apply for the funds and take advantage of the opportunity to foster green development and build more energy-efficient communities,” she said.
© Copyright 2009 by TCExtra.com
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