The state’s energy managers are developing plans to spend more than $260 million in federal stimulus funds on a variety of energy efficiency programs
The federal stimulus program is poised to deliver much more money to Georgia’s energy conservation industry than it is accustomed to spending. And while environmentalists and program administrators couldn’t be happier about this development, they also couldn’t be busier as they hammer out the details of significantly expanded conservation initiatives.
“We’re going to have to develop additional infrastructure in Georgia in order to spend this money well,” John Sibley, program director for the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Based in Atlanta, the nonprofit SEEA promotes energy-efficient policies and practices through networking, program activities, and education in 11 southeastern states.
The federal government committed more than $200 million to the state’s energy conservation industry two weeks ago, and another $67 million for city and county programs was announced last week.
The added financial resources, in some cases, far exceed what many state administrators are accustomed to managing. For example, one office of the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, which administers programs that provide financial assistance and support services to improve the environment, spent $8 million on weatherization projects in 2008, but will have $125 million to spend this year, the AJC story noted.
Meanwhile, the Georgia branch of the Department of Energy’s State Energy Program plans to use its $1.48 million budget to support energy-efficient housing construction, energy-use audits, conservation education, and research.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to build a market for energy efficiency and help consumers manage their energy bills,” the SEEC’s Sibley told the paper.
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