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Minnesota Recovery Energy Efficiency News

April 17, 2009

Federal Recovery Funding to Minnesota:

  • Weatherization – $131,937,411
  • State Energy Program – $54,172,000
  • Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant Program – $37,359,500
  • Total – $223,468,911

 

Energy-Related Recovery in Minnesota: The White House announced that $37.3 million is on its way to Minnesota to pay state and local governments for energy efficiency and conservation projects. The money, part of $3.2 billion for such projects nationwide, is flowing from the federal stimulus package that became law last month. The funding will pay for energy audits and energy efficiency retrofits in residential and commercial buildings, along with the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements. The Department of Energy will require grant recipients to report on the number of jobs created or retained while documenting the amount of energy saved, renewable energy capacity installed and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The money is being distributed to 23 cities, 10 counties and six Indian tribes; the state’s energy office is getting the biggest chunk of cash, $10.6 million.

 

Low Income Weatherization: The state is getting $138 million for weatherizing homes of low income residents (compare that to the typical $10 million the state has to spend on low income weatherization). All this work takes skilled labor, and local agencies are rushing to find more of it. The Department of Commerce said they’re lining up 200 new energy auditors statewide and bringing in dozens of new contractors. They also note that weatherization cuts home energy usage by about 32 percent—and every dime saved that way means less taxpayer money spent on home heating assistance. State officials estimate that 400,000 households need help with weatherization. Available information on the condition of the state’s housing suggests that needs are especially intense in rural areas. Of the eligible Minnesota homes that got weatherizing subsidies in the fiscal year that ended last June, 43 percent were in rural areas where about one-fourth of the people live. Find out more about the Minnesota Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program: Basic Information & Application, Eligibility Guidelines, and Weatherization Assistance Providers.

 

More resources for saving energy at home: Homeowners who don’t qualify for weatherization subsidies can get up to $1,500 in tax credits for installing energy-efficient windows and other improvements by Dec. 31, 2010. Minnesota window manufacturers Andersen Windows of Bayport, MN and Marvin Windows of Warroad, MN have seen an uptick in business in recent weeks that they credit, at least in part, to a tax break for installing more energy-efficient windows that’s part of the federal stimulus package. For Andersen, that meant recalling 180 of the 560 workers it laid off in January. The new tax break, for 2009 and 2010, allows a homeowner a credit of up to $1,500 for installing energy efficient windows. Learn more about expanded incentives and tax breaks for energy efficiency and renewable energy in your home >>

 

Training: Dunwoody College in Minneapolis has been the state’s leading training program for energy auditing. School officials say classes there have been filling up and the college keeps adding more to keep up with demand. Dunwoody is now holding trainings across the state—and they are filling up quickly. Click here to learn more and register today >>

 

Links for keeping up and saving big:

  • EPA State and Local Climate and Energy Economic Recovery Resources – Note the numerous assistance tools for local government here! Also check out American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: A Guide to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Opportunities for Local and Tribal Governments, and the Webinar Using EPA Resources to Maximize Clean Energy in Economic Recovery Spending, both available here.

 

Articles for keeping up and saving big:

Crossposted from the CERTs Get Answers Blog

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda Stewart permalink
    April 28, 2009 2:50 am

    Is there any grant money for saving (by moving), restoring, and reusing a Round Barn to our organic produce farm?
    (See above web site)

    Are there any programs to fund a wind generator for our organic, sustainable farm?

    Thanks, Linda Stewart

    • April 28, 2009 1:30 pm

      Hi Linda! On the round barn question, you may want to look into organizations focused on historical restoration, like historical societies. You will have better luck finding assistance on the wind turbine front. I imagine you are looking at a small turbine.

      The stimulus bill includes a provision to uncap the federal small wind turbine Investment Tax Credit (ITC) originally passed last October. The removal of the cost caps on the small-wind ITC, the industry’s top legislative priority, will provide consumers with a true 30% tax credit for the purchase and installation of small wind turbines with rated capacities of 100 kilowatts or less. For a summary of the previous federal small-wind ITC passed in October, visit the American Wind Energy Association’s Web site: http://www.awea.org/legislative#SW.

      The $787 billion stimulus bill contains a number of other provisions potentially benefitting small wind. Check out our previous post, “NOW is the time to go green at home” – https://minnesotaproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/04/now-is-the-time-to-go-green-at-home.

      Let me know after digging through these resources if you have any other questions!

      Cheers,
      Dan

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