Gov. Peter Shumlin said a recent federal Department of Energy review of the Department of Public Service, which serves as Vermont's State Energy Office, found that Vermont's use of stimulus funds has helped schools, municipalities, businesses and others statewide switch to renewable energy sources, implement efficiency measures, and hold down power costs.
"These funds have gone directly to communities to save taxpayers money, reduce energy consumption and create jobs," Gov. Shumlin said. "We have used our federal stimulus award to create long-term energy savings for Vermonters and to speed our transition to a clean energy future. I am very proud of our state employees in the Department of Public Service for their hard work in getting these funds out the door and into the hands of our schools, towns, and state buildings to create energy savings statewide."
"The influx of ARRA-EECBG funds has definitely been a benefit to our business. The spring is typically a slow-time for us, but the grant funds made it possible to keep working through the spring -- making our business less "seasonal'. Because of the grant funds we've been able to bring on a lot of additional workers, and have helped people who were desperately looking for work to learn new "green' job skills," said Corey Trimmer, General Manager of Hand Energy Services in Manchester.
Vermont has received more than $31 million in funds in recent years from the Department of Energy to promote energy projects statewide through September 2012. A recent DOE review of the state's distribution of the funds found "Vermont's businesses, universities, nonprofits, and local governments are creating quality jobs and advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency measures across the State in the public, private and residential sectors."
The $31.6 million ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) award, received by the State in 2009, funds renewable energy projects and provides energy efficiency and conservation block grants to cities, towns, villages, schools and school districts through September 2012. To date, more than $13.4 million of the awarded funds have been spent. This includes $3.9 million spent to date to retrofit over 110 buildings for a combined estimated annual energy cost savings of $509,807.
As a part of the ARRA energy program, $2.28 million has been awarded to the Vermont Fuel Efficiency Partnership administered by the Central Vermont Community Action Council to provide energy efficiency services to low-income Vermont heating consumers. And the Clean Energy Development Program has awarded ARRA funding to projects designed to increase the development and deployment of cost-effective and environmentally sustainable power resources in Vermont, such as the wood pellet-fired boiler installed in East Montpelier's new fire station. Other specific examples of funded projects include:
* a lighting project at the Shoreham Elementary School, saving more than $3,000 annually
* lighting upgrades at Troy Elementary School. saving $3,300 annually
* a lighting and weatherization program for the Peacham Town Hall and Garage
* an energy efficiency retrofit for the Corinth Town Garage; and
* a geothermal heating and cooling system to be installed at the new State office building in Bennington.
"I am very pleased at the scope of ARRA-funded energy projects and the impact they have had statewide, and I am grateful to the hard-working members of the Department of Public Service who have made such great strides in getting these funds into our schools and towns, so that we can realize the benefit of the stimulus program while achieving lasting savings," said Liz Miller, Commissioner of the Department of Public Service.