Tacoma awarded $500K energy efficiency grant

The Washington State Department of Commerce Wednesday announced more than $11 million in grants to create jobs and energy cost savings at 10 higher education and 20 local government facilities across the state.

Grant recipients in Tacoma and Pierce County include Bates Technical College ($128,037), Clover Park Technical College ($180,000), and the City of Tacoma ($500,000).

The 2012 Energy Efficiency Grant program’s immediate goal is to stimulate Washington’s economy by creating jobs. The long-term goal is to reduce the energy costs at the state’s public education facilities. A total of $38 million was appropriated by the 2012 Legislature to Commerce for the grants, giving $20 million to higher education and $18 million to local governments, including a specific set aside of at least 10 percent for small cities or towns with populations of 5,000 or less. Funds will be awarded in two competitive rounds. An estimated 400 jobs will be created by this construction spending. The total cost for all the projects is almost $51 million, including more than $36 million in non-state funding.

“Creating jobs in the construction industry is key to keeping our economic recovery going,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire. “These grants put people to work. Making our higher education facilities and local governments more energy efficient helps stretch their already tight budgets.”

“Promoting energy efficiency in the built environment is a pillar of our State Energy Strategy,” said Commerce director Rogers Weed. “These grants will create jobs and support Washington’s policy priorities for energy, economic vitality and climate stability.”

The grants are awarded through a competitive process, and must be used solely for energy and operational cost savings improvements. Projects for the first round of funding were selected from 36 grant applications requesting a total of more than $14 million. Applications for the second round of energy efficiency grants are due Dec. 31, 2012. More information is online here.