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2010 Renewable-Energy and Energy-Efficiency Grants

The Appalachian Regional Commission awarded ten community energy planning and implementation grants totaling $538,915 through its 2010 energy grant competition. Grantees include municipalities, universities, nonprofits, and other public entities.

ARC received 41 applications from 12 states, requesting a total of $2.4 million in grant support, in response to the 2010 energy grant request for proposals. An independent selection committee reviewed the applications and recommended ten projects from six states for funding. Five of the recommended projects target ARC-designated economically distressed or at-risk counties.

The funded projects are:

Renewable Energy for Columbia, Lindsey Wilson College, KY ($75,000)
Lindsey Wilson College, in partnership with local schools, has recently developed an Energy Technology Career Academy to promote energy education and sustainability. Through the academy, Lindsey Wilson College proposes to develop the Columbia Community Energy Plan (CEP) to focus on the implementation of policies to promote energy efficiency and the use of alternative energy in the City of Columbia and the Adair County school system. As the CEP will encourage the use of alternative energy, the project will also develop two demonstration projects using solar energy and biofuel. A solar business incubation project will use college and community resources to incubate a solar panel production business that will provide solar panels to charge batteries used by the marine industry and rural fire departments for emergencies. The Biodiesel for Columbia Project will develop a pilot program to convert city trucks to biodiesel and train students and city personnel in testing and making biodiesel from used cooking oil with the long range goal of stimulating use and demand for biofuels in the region.

Berea Energy Cost Savings and Home Energy-Efficiency Project, City of Berea, KY ($19,050)
The City of Berea plans to develop an energy cost-savings plan. As a member of the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), the city will utilize ICLEI's five-step planning process to determine its overall energy usage and the best opportunities for energy and cost savings through quality data collection and analysis. The city's planning process will be dependent on high-visibility involvement from a wide range of local government agencies and community members. The city envisions implementing a plan that will integrate community-wide and city government actions that will reduce energy usage and instill efficiency measures that will save money while conserving natural resources.

Sullivan County Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Initiative, Sullivan County School District, NY ($75,000)
The Sullivan County School District proposes to develop a community energy plan that will promote improvements in building efficiency. The plan will be developed and implemented jointly by the school district and Sullivan County, which will reduce overall energy demand and costs for both entities. In conjunction with the community energy plan and its promotion of building efficiency, the grantee will implement biomass heating projects using advanced combustion technologies, which will reduce the use of foreign fossil fuels and stimulate job growth for the local forest products industry. The Sullivan County School District will install a biomass district energy system at the high school and elementary school. The project will save the school district a minimum of $115,000 annually on fuel expenses while retaining 10 jobs for construction and installation of the biomass heating system.

Delaware County Comprehensive Energy Planning Project, Delaware County, NY ($20,000)
Delaware County proposes to develop and adopt a comprehensive energy plan. The county plans to undertake a multi-agency collaborative effort to develop a county-wide plan for local communities, residents, businesses, and public spaces and places. The plan will serve as a guide for the development of community infrastructure that will increase local demand and markets for clean-energy enterprises. The plan will address definitive approaches to energy efficiency and will target the utilization of regionally sustainable and clean-burning fuel resources. Delaware County hopes to create a document that will provide an effective approach to energy-conscious and renewable resource decision making in the county.

Swain County Community Based Energy Planning & Implementation, Swain County Government, NC ($65,000)
Swain County plans to develop a community energy plan while implementing its first governmental solar energy project. Recognizing the potential for green energy and the fact that energy costs will only continue to rise, the overall goal of the effort is to institutionalize energy efficiency as a worthwhile governmental and community value, which will stimulate local demand for clean energy enterprises resulting in new jobs for the region. To accomplish this, Swain County will develop a community energy plan that will serve as the backbone for inclusion of energy-efficient practices in pending and planned changes to the county building and zoning codes. The proposed demonstration project will install solar photovoltaic panels at the Swain County Administrative Building, providing energy savings of at least $2100 annually for the county.

Maryville College Community Energy Project, to Maryville College, TN ($40,800)
Maryville College will develop a community energy plan and several demonstration projects in partnership with the City of Maryville. To develop the community energy plan, the college will host a series of quarterly forums to educate the public on conservation and renewable energy issues while collaborating on a plan that can be adopted by the college and city. Maryville College also will implement several best-practices demonstration projects. First, the college will install a geothermal unit, a solar heating unit, and a next generation HVAC unit at historic Crawford House to make it the first LEED-certified historic building in the state of Tennessee. Other projects include the installation of demand-side management energy meters on campus buildings, and the installation of solar lighting in the public plaza at the new Clayton Center for the Arts. Energy savings of $15,000 per year are anticipated.

Community Scale Renewable Energy Project, New River Highlands Resource Conservation and Development Council, VA ($75,000)
The New River Highlands Resource Conservation and Development Council will develop a community energy plan with Carroll County, Grayson County, and the City of Galax. In the community energy plan, the grantee will identify and evaluate potential energy-efficiency improvements and community-scale renewable energy projects in the region. Along with the development of the plan, a demonstration scale renewable energy project will be implemented at Matthews State Forest in Galax. The demonstration project will include energy efficiency upgrades for an office suite, shop and cabin; installation of a biomass boiler system; installation of a photovoltaic solar array; and a public education component designed to explain the energy upgrades. The demonstration project will provide savings of $9,400 of annual energy expense by reduce electricity needs at the site by 25 percent.

The West Virginia Community Wind Project, Natural Capital Investment Fund, WV ($74,155)
The Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF) will assist a three-county region, through a strategic partnership with the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation (EDC), to encourage the development of community-owned wind projects. NCIF and the Greenbrier Valley EDC will develop and adopt a community energy plan that will identify opportunities for local wind development, and create evaluation tools and model ordinances enabling county government to assess and review local opportunities. The project partners will identify and complete pre-development work on specific wind sites in the target area to include: meteorological tower investigation, development of financial projections, and Phase I evaluation of environmental concerns, road access, transmission studies, and geotechnical studies. Ultimately, two wind resource sites identified and marketed to wind developers.

Williamson Local Energy Action Plan (LEAP) Project, City of Williamson, WV ($74,910)
The City of Williamson plans to develop a local energy action plan that will engage rural communities in southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky to achieve energy savings goals by investing in cost-effective and low impact technologies and local workforce training. Through this planning process, participants will identify regional assets while developing a model for sustainability as the community seeks to rejuvenate its energy economy. The city will hire an energy coordinator to guide implementation of the energy action plan, install three solar PV arrays on public facilities, and obtain an Energy Star certification for the emergency services building, resulting in an anticipated annual energy savings of at least $2,500. Williamson will also create a smart office to showcase energy saving techniques and spark clean0energy entrepreneurship, helping to promote the training of 95 individuals in energy efficiency, solar technology, and green building standards.

Alderson Community-Based Approach to Implementing Locally Owned Renewable Energy Project, Town of Alderson, WV ($20,000)
The town of Alderson plans to develop and implement a community-based approach to energy and economic planning that can be used as a model in rural Appalachian towns. The town will utilize a community stakeholder process involving local government, businesses, residents, and other interested regional stakeholders to draft and adopt a community energy plan. Stakeholders will provide feedback on how to "green" Alderson by considering energy consumption, resource development, conservation practices, and guidelines that could support sustainable energy and economic development for the town and the region. Additionally, West Virginia University will conduct several energy audits of buildings in Alderson as a key component of the plan's development. Once the community energy plan is developed and adopted, the town of Alderson will implement strategies aimed at energy efficiency and local ownership and distribution of renewable energy.