On February 3, 2010, the Northeast-Midwest Senate and Congressional Coalitions and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a briefing on how state governments have used funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to expand energy efficiency programs. State officials discussed how ARRA dollars have helped them create local jobs and reduce energy bills through the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), the State Energy Program (SEP) and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG). In addition, speakers gave their perspectives on state energy provisions – including WAP, SEP, EECBG and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – in the administration’s FY2011 budget request.
- Massachusetts has invested $3 billion in building efficiency programs over the last 20 years, resulting in an energy savings of 90,000 gigawatt hours.
- Between 2010 and 2012, Massachusetts plans to spend $2.1 billion on energy efficiency programs. The state projects this will result in $6 billion in savings, for a net economic savings of $3.8 billion.
- An example of project a selected for the stimulus-funded Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) in Massachusetts is the renovation of a community center which was previously underutilized due to uncomfortable indoor climate. The project received $130,000 towards air sealing, insulation, weather stripping, and heat recovery ventilation systems. Increased utilization will increase program fee incomes, support ongoing building maintenance and utilities, and revitalizing the downtown area.
- The President’s FY 2011 budget request included $75 million for the State Energy Program (SEP), $300 million for Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), and $3.3 billion - $5.3 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) -- the higher funding level to be triggered by spikes in energy prices or increases in the number of households in poverty. Phil Giudice supported funding SEP at the full authorized amount of $125 million, WAP at the requested $300 million, and LIHEAP at $7.6 billion.
- The cap and trade system in the House-passed American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) would provide 0.5 percent of allowance value to state and local governments to pursue energy efficiency programs, a continual stream of hundreds of millions of dollars.
- Iowa has focused its development of energy efficiency and renewable energy on projects that will be visible to the taxpayer. For example, the University of Iowa received funding to develop a solar program which will work in tandem with its electric vehicle development program to demonstrate renewable electric powered transportation.
- Federal funding for SEP provided $10 million to 62 projects in Iowa, saving Iowans $4.7 million in energy costs annually. These funds leveraged an additional $33.4 million in matching funds and directly created or retained 328 jobs.
- On average, low-income families spend more than 15 percent of their incomes on energy, compared to 3.5 percent for other families.
- Nationwide, 34 million households are eligible for WAP funds; 6.2 million households have been serviced since the program’s inception in 1972.
- Energy prices vary greatly by region. For example, many low income families in the Northeast are expected to pay $2000 in energy bills this winter, compared to a national average of $962.
- The number of households receiving LIHEAP assistance reached record levels for the second year in a row, increasing from 6.1 million to 8.3 million. Eleven states have reported increases greater than 50 percent.