Houston-area counties land DOE funding for energy infrastructure projects
The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded more than $2 million to Harris and Montgomery counties for projects that improve energy efficiency and infrastructure in the region.
The funds come from the DOE's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program. Harris and Montgomery counties are among 28 state, local, and Tribal governments to have been awarded a total of $30 million through the initiative, according to a statement.
The grants were awarded to eight states, four cities, four counties and 12 smaller, rural communities.
“Our local governments are at the forefront of our clean energy revolution and are critical touchpoints with our nation’s communities creating clean, healthy and affordable communities,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm says in a statement. “With historic funding thanks to President Biden’s clean energy laws, more Americans will receive upgrades to their homes through residential energy efficiency rebates, expanded weatherization efforts, and electrification programs that will save them energy and increase their comfort.
"This funding will also invest in improving public spaces, giving more Americans across the country access to energy efficient technologies and clean energy infrastructure in their communities such as heat pumps, LED lights, solar energy, and EV charging stations,” she continues.
Harris County was awarded $1.64 million, the largest total among the local governments. It will be put toward for several projects:
- Conducting community engagement with disadvantaged communities for climate justice planning
- Performing site assessments for solar and storage on county properties in disadvantaged communities
- Conducting recycling pilots at county facilities
- Enhancing walking and bicycling to school as part of the Safe Routes to School plan
- Deploying an off-grid, solar EV station on county property in a disadvantaged community in the greater-Houston area
Montgomery County was awarded $457,580 to replace 150 metal halide lights at a community sports field with LED lights and add wireless controls.
According to the DOE, more than $430 million in formula grant funding is available through the EECBG Program and another 2,700 governments and tribes are eligible for funds. Grants are slated to be awarded on a rolling basis as the department receives applications. The application deadline for eligible local governments and tribes has been extended to April 30, 2024.
Other states, local governments and tribes to recieve funding in this round include:
- Alabama ($2,207,540)
- Alaska ($1,627,450)
- Idaho ($1,742,300)
- Louisiana ($2,149,350)
- Maine ($1,668,790)
- Ohio ($3,130,030)
- Rhode Island ($1,675,110)
- Washington ($2,273,890)
- Bend, Oregon ($152,740)
- Boston, Massachusetts ($659,990)
- Los Angeles County, California ($1,344,700)
- Minneapolis, Minnesota ($424,330)
- Nashville, Tennessee ($644,440)
- Wagoner County, Oklahoma ($76,900)
EECBG Program Competitive Awards
- Albany, California ($200,000)
- Cascade, Idaho ($200,000)
- Decatur, Georgia ($400,000)
- Decorah, Iowa ($1,100,000)
- Durham County, North Carolina ($1,500,000)
- Eagle County, Colorado ($1,400,000)
- Exeter, New Hampshire ($200,000)
- Kittery, Maine ($800,000)
- Littleton, Massachusetts ($300,000)
- MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians in Alabama ($1,100,000)
- Nenana, Alaska ($900,000)
- Peterborough, New Hampshire ($700,000) and Harrisville, NH
The funds add to the list for grants the federal government has doled out to Houston-area projects related to the energy transition in recent months.
Earlier in October, Granholm announced that the HyVelocity Hydrogen Hub would receive funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The project, which connects more than 1,000 miles of hydrogen pipelines, 48 hydrogen production facilities and dozens of hydrogen end-use applications across Texas and Southwest Louisiana will receive up to $1.2 billion.
The DOE also granted more than $10 million in funding to four carbon capture projects with ties to Houston earlier this summer.And in September, Rice University announced that it would host the Carbon Management Community Summit this fall, sponsored by the DOE, and in partnership with the city of Houston and climate change-focused multimedia company Climate Now. The event takes place next month.