Charlotte can apply for $6.7 million in federal stimulus

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Charlotte can apply for $6.7 million in federal stimulus

Postby StephanieCutts » Tue May 26, 2009 11:56 am
Energy projects could get boost

Charlotte can apply for $6.7 million in federal stimulus money to make homes, buildings more energy efficient.
By Bruce Henderson
Posted: Friday, Mar. 27, 2009

Charlotte could get up to $6.7 million to spend on energy-efficiency projects, part of a wave of federal money coming to the state to save energy and create jobs.

The Obama administration said Thursday that North Carolina will receive $58 million in energy-efficiency money from the economic stimulus measures Congress recently approved.

Two weeks ago, the administration said another $208 million would flow to the state over three years to tighten up drafty homes and pay for efficiency and renewable-energy projects.

All told, it's the biggest surge of federal money for those purposes in recent memory.

State officials say it will be a challenge to train enough workers to do the work properly. They're already hearing from idled contractors who once wouldn't have been interested in such work.

“I look for a lot of jobs to come out of this,” said Larry Shirley, director of the State Energy Office.

The bulk of the money, $131 million, will go to state and local agencies that insulate, tighten and update heating systems in low-income households. The state Office of Economic Opportunity, which administers the program through 30 local agencies, has a staff of only five.

Another $76 million will go to the State Energy Office, which will use it to promote efficiency in homes, small businesses and government buildings, train a “green” work force and foster development of renewable energy. Plans are still being developed.

Shirley said the office now gets an average of about $1 million a year in federal money.

“This could help transform the energy sector,” he said.

Thursday's announcement says the Energy Office could get nearly $21 million in new money and Mecklenburg County about $650,000, in addition to the Charlotte money.

City officials say Charlotte will have to apply for the money, and aren't yet sure how it would be used. The Department of Energy, the source of the money, lists more than a dozen eligible uses, ranging from energy audits that reveal inefficiencies to renewable-energy installations on government buildings.

Huntersville, Concord, Gastonia, Hickory, Kannapolis and Gaston, Iredell and Union counties will also get new energy-efficiency dollars.
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