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Bipartisan Bill Aims to Reauthorize Energy Efficiency Grants

March 29, 2023 by Dan McCue
(Photo by Byrev via Pixabay)

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan bill in the House would reauthorize the federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program and provide it with $3.5 billion in annual funding for the next five years.

According to Reps. Marc Veasey, D-Texas, Greg Stanton, D- Ariz., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Jefferson Van Drew, R-N.J., who introduced H.R.1520 last week, the program has only been funded twice since being enacted in 2007.

The most recent infusion of cash, $550 million, was included in the bipartisan infrastructure law and covered only the 2022 fiscal year.

The bill’s sponsors contend a more reliable schedule of funding would allow local, state and tribal governments to build capacity and plan for future investments and sustained programs.

Stanton said in a fast-growing, desert state like Arizona, investing in energy efficient infrastructure “makes good business sense.”

“Giving local governments the resources to spur community-level clean energy projects will save residents, businesses and taxpayers money, and create good jobs,” he said in a written statement.

The bill, which is currently in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has already garnered support from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities.

“As the effects of climate change continue to threaten our communities, there is urgent work to be done. A sharp reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is necessary to reduce the severity of climate change impacts,” the two groups wrote in a joint letter to the sponsors. 

“In order to meet our national carbon emissions reduction goals necessary to mitigate the effects of climate change, local governments across the country must aggressively improve energy efficiency, increase energy conservation and deploy renewable energy systems,” they continued. 

“The reauthorization of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program will provide much needed resources to increase and expand state and local efforts to achieve these goals,” the organizations said. “Additionally, the … program will become more effective and more efficient as the funding becomes durable and predictable. 

“The stability of funding is almost as important as the funding level, since the predictability of funding enables cities to build capacity and plan for future investments and sustained programs,” they said.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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