Sustainability: March 2009 Archives

Hot from DC: The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that it is releasing funding for city energy efficiency under the Stimulus package.

A total of $3.2 billion in block grants will start to go out by summer to help local government make their businesses and residents more energy efficient through building retrofits, land use, public education and technology implementation.

Mind you, that's only about 10% of the total $33 billion DOE funding that will go out through the Stimulus, to say nothing of about $130 billion that the DOE will provide in no-interest or low-interest energy-related loans.

Under the block grant formula, cities (above 35,000) and counties, which will be eligible for $1.9 billion of the $3.2 billion in this funding. They have a deadline of June 25 to apply in order to get their share of the Stimulus grants, which are allocated on the basis of population and energy usage.

State and tribes will get $770 million from the Honeypot, while a future chunk of $455 million will go out for competitive bid amongst other local government projects that get the on the road (path?) to energy independence.  

The DOE will be looking for strategic plans, programs and approaches demonstrating overall energy savings, job creation/ job retention, and carbon emission reductions.

Examples of Big Winners
: Los Angeles ($37 million) and LA County ($15 million). Green Flow heard that Los Angeles city officials met privately in Washington DC with Energy Secretary Steven Chu a few weeks back to discuss their plans for using the money.


Tomorrow the competition for US Department of Energy funding from the $787 billion federal Stimulus package (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) begins for local government.


The Stimulus package presents the largest single source of sustainability-related funding ever provided by the United States government. A significant portion of that federal funding--$32.7 billion--is now being allocated to local governments through the US Department of Energy (DOE) mainly in the form of discretionary funding, as well as block grants. The DOE is also making $134 billion in loan guarantees available.

Common Current is working with several local governments, NGOS and corporations on developing and facilitating proposals for the DOE within the following areas:

  • Electricity Delivery and Reliability (Smart Grid, etc.)
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation (includes development of overall energy efficiency strategy; energy efficiency in buildings and transportation; alternative fuel infrastructure and use; public education and outreach for petroleum reduction fuels and technologies; and education for recycling)
  • Renewable Energy R&D, Demonstration and Deployment
  • Electric Drive Vehicle Transportation Power R&D, Demonstration and Deployment
  • Weatherization Assistance

Other major Stimulus funding impacting local government will be directed to additional areas such as clean water, brownfields and Superfund sites.

Now is the time for cities and other eligible entities to quickly plan job creation strategy and project proposals in these areas so they can submit timely applications for Stimulus funding. There is a great need for vetting of eligible projects while building collaborative capacities across government, industry, academia, non-governmental organizations and federal research laboratories.

Cities, counties or entities working with local governments, such as non-governmental organizations,  have been pre-registering for the grants since last week. This week marks the kick-off of the formal proposal process with the DOE in Washington, DC.


It is critical to understand that the DOE is offering completely new sources of funding for a broad array of business, local government and non-profit administered programs and projects. Unlike most Congressional appropriations, this funding has not been "earmarked" and is wide open to competitive proposals. Appropriate proposals will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

Stimulus Proposal Timeline for DOE Funding:

February onward: Pre-registration for Grants
March 3: Project summaries first submitted to DOE
March 3-31: Preliminary consideration ("Rolling Appraisals") begins for Grants
April: Proposal Budgetary and Finance information first submitted
May-June: First dispersals of funding by DOE to Local Governments and others.
Sept 30: End of Federal Fiscal Year 2009.
Oct. 1: Beginning of Federal Fiscal Year 2010 and new funding cycles.

Besides Energy and Environment, general areas of Stimulus funding include Transportation, Housing, Health, Public Safety/Homeland Security and Telecommunications.

What is your city or company doing to get its share of Stimulus funding? If it's simply reapplying for the same old grants and loans and working with the same lobbyists, it is likely missing some new funding the Obama Administration will be providing.

About the Author

    Warren Karlenzig
Warren Karlenzig, Common Current founder and president, has worked with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (lead co-author United Nations Shanghai Manual: A Guide to Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century, 2011); United Nations Center for Regional Development (training of mayors from 13 Asian nations on city sustainable economic development and technology); provinces of Guizhou and Guangdong, China (urban sustainability master planning and green city standards); the United States White House and Environmental Protection Agency (Eco-Industrial Park planning and Industrial Ecology primer); the nation of South Korea ("New Cities Green Metrics"); The European Union ("Green and Connected Cities Initiative"); the State of California ("Comprehensive Recycling Communities" and "Sustainable Community Plans"); major cities; and the world's largest corporations developing policy, strategy, financing and critical operational capacities for 20 years.

Present and recent clients include the Guangzhou Planning Agency; the Global Forum on Human Settlements; the Shanghai 2010 World Expo Bureau; the US Department of State; the Asian Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainability; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the non-governmental organization Ecocity Builders; a major mixed-use real estate development corporation; an educational sustainability non-profit; and global corporations. Read more here.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Sustainability category from March 2009.

Sustainability: February 2009 is the previous archive.

Sustainability: April 2009 is the next archive.

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