Stay tuned for what may be big news today. On Friday, Vice-President Biden said that the White House will announce plans today (Monday, June 8th) to speed up stimulus spending. It is not known at press time whether any announcements related to energy and clean tech spending are in the offing. But with half a million more jobs lost last month, the ARRA now more than 100 days old, and Administration-supported energy and climate legislation taking fire from Republicans (and some Democrats) for its alleged job-killing impacts, the Administration is sure to be pushing every possible initiative forward.
The big ARRA news last week was Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s announcement of plans to provide $256 million to support energy efficiency improvements in major industrial sectors across the economy. The funding is targeted at reducing the energy consumption of manufacturing and IT industries. The projects fall in three main areas:
::: $156 Million for combined heat and power, district energy, and waste energy recovery deployment and demonstration projects. (July 14 application deadline)
::: $50 million for improved energy efficiency for information and communication. This project will fund applicants to conduct research, development, and demonstration projects to promote new technologies that improve energy efficiency in the IT sector. (July 21 application deadline)
::: $50 Million for “Advanced Materials in Support of Advanced Clean Energy Technologies and Energy-Intensive Processes” This program will support research, development, and demonstration projects for advanced industrial materials that can be used in fuel flexibility programs, combined heat and power technologies, energy intensive processes, and nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing.
Secretary Chu also last week announced $50 million in ARRA funding to promote deployment of geothermal heat pumps.
To keep things in perspective, DOE has $4.29 billion in ARRA funding to disburse. As of last Thursday, only $46.5 million has gone out the department’s door.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture announced two new ARRA funding opportunities aimed at rural America. The Rural Energy for America Program will provide funds to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis and can be up to 25% of total eligible project costs. Grants are limited to $500,000 for renewable energy systems and $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements. Applications are due July 31, 2009. The Rural Energy for America Program will provide funds to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis and can be up to 25% of total eligible project costs. Grants are limited to $50,000 for renewable energy feasibility studies. Applications are due July 31, 2009. USDA reports that as of last Thursday, it has paid out $1.54 billion of the $2.46 billion available to the Department under the ARRA.
USDA also announced last week approximately $1 billion in loans (under a non-ARRA authority) for rural electric transmission and distribution systems.
And, finally, EPA announced further relaxation of the “Buy-American” provision of the ARRA for certain water projects under the Clean Water and Drinking Water state revolving fund programs.