WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Senate Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, has introduced legislation to reauthorize the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. This program provides grants to states, local governments, and tribes to support projects that reduce fossil fuel emissions and conserve energy.
The block grant program provides grants to states, local governments, and Indian tribes to assist efforts to reduce fossil fuel emissions and conserve energy. The bill reauthorizes the program and provides it with $3.5 billion annually for the next five years. U.S. Representatives Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.) and Marc Veasey (D-Texas) introduced the legislation in the House.
“Reauthorizing programs like the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program will allow state, local, and tribal governments to apply for grants to support carbon reduction projects and invest in the best long-term good for our future. As we continue to deal with the impacts of COVID-19, it is critical that we look to recreate a stronger and more sustainable economy, not just the economy we had before the pandemic,” said Heinrich. “I am proud to lead this effort in the Senate and support an influx of resources necessary to spur community-level clean energy projects and create and sustain jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency.”
When the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program was funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, New Mexico received over $22 million to develop, promote, implement, and manage local energy efficiency programs and projects. The New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and 41 counties, cities, and tribes received funding.
According to an evaluation by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, for every Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program dollar spent, program participants received approximately $1.76 in bill savings over the lifetime of the measures installed. The program’s activities produced a net total job gain of over 62,900 job years. In addition, the program’s activities generated 4.2 MMBtu (million British thermal units) from on-site renewable energy projects and avoided 25.7 million metric tons worth of carbon equivalent from being emitted, due to renewable generation and energy savings.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities have both endorsed the legislation.
“We thank Senator Heinrich for introducing the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) reauthorization bill, which has long been a top legislative priority of The United States Conference of Mayors,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of The U.S. Conference of Mayors. “For many cities, this program is critical in helping accelerate local efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
“The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) is an important program that supports local efforts to reduce energy use, diversify energy supplies and improve air quality and the environment. During this time of economic uncertainty due to the coronavirus, it’s more important than ever that the limited fiscal resources of cities, towns and villages are used wisely and efficiently. The ability of local governments to invest in energy conservation and renewable energy will save residents, businesses and taxpayers dollars and grow local economies. NLC is pleased to support the Senate companion bill to H.R. 2088, which would reauthorize the EECBG program, and we thank Senator Heinrich for his leadership,” said Clarence Anthony, CEO and Executive Director, National League of Cities.
Read the full text of the bill here.