The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was intended to create or save jobs and spur economic activity while fostering accountability and transparency in government spending. If there’s any area in the country that can benefit from new jobs and economic growth, it’s Central Appalachia. Energy efficiency in particular offers great promise for increasing economic activity in the region, particularly in the face of steadily rising electricity prices. Programs designed to help homeowners and businesses use less energy can result in both lower utility bills and reduced carbon emissions, while creating new jobs for contractors installing energy efficiency upgrades.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) received $36.7 billion of the Recovery Act’s climate and energy-related funds. How much of that funding has benefitted Central Appalachia so far? According to the state summary pages on Recovery.gov, Tennessee has received the fourth largest amount of DOE funding in the nation while West Virginia barely made it out of the bottom ten.
Total DOE Recovery Act funding
The Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has the largest share of total DOE Recovery Act funding, at $16.8 billion. The EERE’s mission includes enhancing energy efficiency and bringing clean, reliable and affordable energy technologies to the marketplace…issues close to the hearts and pocketbooks of many Central Appalachians. As described in the Pew Center for Global Climate Change’s recently released U.S. Department of Energy’s Recovery Act Spending brief, the majority of the awarded EERE money has gone to increase spending through existing state and local government energy programs. The Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant Program, the State Energy Program, and the Weatherization Assistance Program account for 99 percent of the current EERE awards for state governments and agencies.
Following is the breakdown of DOE Weatherization and State Energy Program funding from the Recovery Act so far, according to the EERE website.
Recovery Act Weatherization funding
Recovery Act State Energy Program funding
See the EERE state activities and partnerships page for more information on each state’s use of Recovery Act funds as well as state program contact information.