George: Opportunities Emerge for Energy Savings

HARRISBURG – State Rep. George, D-74 of Houtzdale, said programs are becoming available to help citizens, businesses and communities save money and energy.

“It’s important to stay abreast of the resources available on energy, recreation and infrastructure,” said George, majority chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and a member of Pennvest, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority.

“Programs are being supported by Pennsylvania’s landmark $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Act, the voter-approved $400 million bond issue for drinking water and wastewater systems and the Growing Greener fund,” George said. “Some of these programs also will be augmented by the federal Economic Stimulus package.”

Funding initiatives include:

Small Business Grants

Pennsylvania’s Small Business Energy Efficiency Grant Program provides a 25 percent match, up to $25,000, for equipment or processes that improve energy efficiency. Eligible improvements include lighting, heating, cooling, refrigeration, machinery, insulation and weatherization projects. Eligible applicants must be independent businesses with up to 100 employees.

Eligible projects must save at least 20 percent annually on energy expenses, with a minimum savings of $1,000. May 1 is the application deadline for first-round grants. Applications and guidelines are available online, under “Small Business Energy Efficiency Grant.”

Renewable Energy

The state Renewable Energy Program makes $25 million available to businesses, economic development organizations and political subdivisions, including school districts, to support wind and geothermal projects. It also offers incentives for companies manufacturing those technologies.

Applicants must submit the Department of Community and Economic Development Single Application for Assistance online. More information is available online under “Alternative Energy Funding.”

H20 PA Grants

The H2O PA Water Supply, Sanitary Sewer and Storm Water Projects Grant program provides grants for projects that involve the acquisition, construction, improvement, expansion or rehabilitation of water supply, sewage-disposal or flood-control/stormwater systems.

Grants are available for projects begun after Jan. 1, 2007 and with a total cost of $500,000 or more. More information is available online.

C2P2 Grants

Community Conservation Partnership Program — C2P2 — grants are available for recreation, land trusts, river conservation and recreational trails. Generally, a 50 percent match is required except for small community grant types and some technical assistance grants.

April 22 is the application deadline for all project types. Information and applications are available here, by clicking on the “Grants” section.

Environmental Awards

The 2009 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence award is open to any Pennsylvania business, governmental agency, educational institution, nonprofit organization, individual or farm that has developed a project promoting environmental stewardship and economic development.

Eligible projects must have been completed between Aug.1, 2007, and July 31, 2008. The state Department of Environmental Protection will showcase the winning projects.

The application deadline is March 9. Applications are available online, under “2009 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.”

Community Grants

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is making nearly $3 million available in 2009 to reduce pollution at the local level through the Community Action for a Renewed Environment – CARE — program. Eligible applicants include county and local governments, non-profit organizations and universities. CARE grant applications are due March 16. More information is available online.

George said resources to check for updates on funding opportunities include:

The Department of Environmental Resources. Click on “Grants & Loans”;

The Department of Community and Economic Development;

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources;

Environmental Management Assistance Program;

Ben Franklin Technology Partners;

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development;

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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