|RALEIGH – North Carolina is more energy-efficient than it was in 2009. Homes, schools, college campuses, businesses and government facilities are using less energy, saving on utility bills and generating more power from renewable sources as a result of grants distributed by the N.C. Energy Office and funded through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
North Carolinians can learn more about the impact of these initiatives at an updated website (http://www.energync.net/about-us/recovery-act-in-nc) launched by the Energy Office, a division of the state Department of Commerce. The site includes details of more than 30 projects throughout the state. The impact of these programs has been widespread.
“Someone you know, a building or business you’ve visited or an activity you’ve participated in has probably benefited from an Energy Office Recovery Act grant,” said Gov. Bev Perdue. “This unique website tells the stories of these projects and how they not only are making us more energy-efficient, but saving tax dollars when energy costs are uncertain and growing.”
Through the federal Recovery Act, North Carolina received $106.6 million for energy-related projects along with $132 million for the state’s Weatherization Assistance Program. Of those dollars, $20.9 million, from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, was directed to local governments, public schools and community colleges (an additional $37.7 million went directly to designated local governments through a population-based formula). The State Energy Program provided $75.9 million for grants that ranged from workforce development and assistance to commercial, industrial and non-profit groups to support for state and local government energy-efficiency initiatives.
More than 75,000 new energy-efficient appliances replaced older energy-hogging ones through the $8.8 million Energy Star Appliance Replacement and Rebate Program. Another $1 million is being used for the Energy Assurance Program, working with other state, local and non-government agencies to develop programs and partnerships to make sure the state has the fuel resources it needs, particularly in emergency situations.
The Energy Office funded hundreds of projects through 243 Recovery Act-connected grants. Highland Craftsmen Inc., a small poplar bark shingle manufacturer in Spruce Pine, achieved the energy efficiency milestone of net zero electricity use because of improvements funded, in part, by an Energy Office program. Clearsense Properties in Durham converted a one-story former tire shop into a showcase for energy efficiency with solar panels, wind turbines and other energy efficiency renovations.
In Concord, the city worked with a Charlotte investor in a unique public-private partnership to place a solar photovoltaic array atop a downtown parking deck; the electricity is sold to the grid. Kinston taxpayers are saving $200,000 a year after traditional street lighting was replaced with LED lights. In other projects, landfill gas is being converted into useable energy for economic development and farmers are saving on processing their crops and spending less to get them to market.
Learn more about these North Carolina Recovery Act projects, and more, at http://www.energync.net/about-us/recovery-act-in-nc.