Washington receives $2.2 million federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant
Funding will lower energy use, reduce emissions, promote energy efficiency in communities
OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Department of Commerce was awarded a $2.2 million grant from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, a funding opportunity from the Office of State and Community Energy Programs at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The state plans to use this funding to lower energy use, reduce emissions, and promote energy efficiency in communities.
Funding for the block grant is provided by the Biden Administration’s 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which includes Justice 40 environmental justice provisions. A significant portion of the funds is planned to flow to communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.
“This support from DOE will help communities with limited resources take action to advance energy efficiency and conservation work that is essential to ensuring a clean energy future that benefits all residents of our state,” said Washington Commerce Director Mike Fong.
Commerce is currently beginning the process of determining how the grant funding will roll out in Washington. The agency will use evaluation tools and processes aligned with the state’s environmental justice policy goals to identify the most highly impacted communities statewide, engage directly with these communities about the opportunities available with this funding, and encourage them to apply. The request for applications is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2024.
Eligible activities funded under the block grant include: working with consultants to develop plans and strategies for energy efficiency and conservation, including financing, purchasing and installing energy efficiency, renewable energy and zero-emission transportation and related infrastructure; conducting energy audits on public and commercial buildings; and establishing education campaigns to build public awareness and support energy saving actions.
Knowledge and data gained through these activities funded by the EECBG will support decisions about the cost and benefits of potential energy efficiency and emissions reduction measures associated with identified community projects. With that foundation, communities will be better prepared and positioned to apply for other, ongoing state grant programs to fund implementation of their proposed projects.
Washington is among the first 16 of over 2,700 eligible U.S. states, territories, local governments and federally recognized tribes to receive a portion of the more than $430 million in formula EECBG funding from DOE that will help meet the unique clean energy needs of communities representing more than 250 million Americans.
Pursuing historic federal funding for Washington state
This is another example of Commerce’s broader work to garner more federal funding to advance energy and infrastructure projects and create jobs in Washington state. In recent weeks, the American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center in Spokane was designated one of the nation’s 31 inaugural Tech Hubs enabling access to millions in CHIPS and Science Act funding for research, development and manufacturing of lightweight composite materials for the future of sustainable aircraft. Prior to that, the state’s Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub proposal was awarded up to $1 billion under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law through the U.S. Department of Energy.
On top of the recent awards, Commerce has also submitted Washington’s application to the U.S. Environment Protection Agency for $250 million through Solar for All, an initiative focused on expanding the number of low-income and disadvantaged communities primed for residential solar investment—enabling millions of households to access affordable, resilient and clean solar energy.
If received, all of these awards will create thousands of jobs across Washington, make historic advancements in Washington’s economic growth and support the state’s clean energy and decarbonization goals, including a 100% carbon-free electric grid by 2045.