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2009 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grants

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded 18 renewable energy and energy efficiency training and education program grants totaling more than $760,000 through its 2009 energy grant competition. Grantees include K-12 schools, vocational schools, community colleges, nonprofits and universities.

ARC received 69 proposals from 12 states, requesting a total of $2.8 million in grant support, in response to the 2009 energy grant request for proposals. Proposed projects included K-12 educational programs, job training and placement programs, and skills certification programs. Proposals focused on a range of green technologies, including energy efficiency, solar power, and wind power. Applicants included K-12 schools, community colleges, vocational schools, universities, rural electric coops, an institute for the deaf and blind, and other nonprofits.

An independent review committee evaluated the proposals and submitted recommendations to the ARC Co-Chair Committee. The 18 proposals approved for funding by the committee totaled $760,093, a larger amount than was announced in the request for proposals.

The 18 funded projects are:

  • Project Green; Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind. Grant amount: $45,000.
  • Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (Energy for Schools); Towns County Schools, Georgia. Grant amount: $45,000.
  • Power Up Project for Southeastern Kentucky; Corbin Independent Schools. Grant amount: $45,000.
  • Energy Technology Career Academy Solar Project; Lindsey Wilson College, Kentucky. Grant amount: $45,000.
  • Savings for Schools Using Solar; Russell Area Technology Center, Kentucky. Grant amount: $45,000.
  • Energy Efficiency Training and Certification Program; Haywood Community College, North Carolina. Grant amount: $38,500.
  • Center for Renewable Energy—Green Building Envelope; SUNY Research Foundation at Alfred State College, New York. Grant amount: $39,902.
  • EcoSMART Project; Watkins Glen Central School District, New York. Grant amount: $44,996.
  • Alternative Energy with West Elementary; Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District, Ohio. Grant amount: $45,000.
  • The Sunrise Project - Renewable Energy Training and Demonstration Center; Pellissippi State Technical Community College, Tennessee. Grant amount: $40,000.
  • Energy Career, Technology Training and Renewable Systems; Morgan County Vocational Center, Tennessee. Grant amount: $45,000.
  • Seminars in Green Collar Job Preparation; Kingsport City Schools, Tennessee. Grant amount: $44,625.
  • Green Building Center; People Incorporated of Virginia. Grant amount: $40,000.
  • Alternative Energy Initiative; Mountain Empire Community College, Virginia. Grant amount: $40,000.
  • Green Home Construction and Weatherization; Highland Community Builders, West Virginia. Grant amount: $27,070.
  • West Virginia Green Women Training Program; West Virginia Women Work! Grant amount: $40,000.
  • Wyoming County Green Team; Canaan Valley Institute, West Virginia. Grant amount: $45,000.
  • Renewable Energy from the Sky; Barbour County Schools, West Virginia. Grant amount: $45,000.

Grantees are required to provide matching funds at a ratio of $1 of support for each grant dollar. Activities supported by these grants are expected to be completed within 18 months of the award date. Proposed activities should result in the development of new training and education programs or the creation of new jobs or businesses in the target communities.

Project Descriptions
Project Green, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind ($45,000)
The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) will initiate a biodiesel program focusing on public education, training, and production. Project Green will provide basic education on alternative fuels to Appalachian Alabama school systems, train students with sensory and/or multiple disabilities in the production of biodiesel, and educate the public on the benefits of alternative fuels. Project Green will have the initial capacity to create 1,100 gallons of biodiesel fuel per month. Additional outcomes include public awareness activities, expanded community partnerships, work experience opportunities, employment creation and retention, leveraged resources, and potential project expansion and replication. AIDB expects at least 1,000 individuals and 15 schools to tour Project Green.

Towns County Schools Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority ($45,000)
The Towns County School Board, Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Cooperative and the Georgia Wind Working Group will implement a wind power project and an energy efficient geothermal heat pump installation at the Towns County School master campus. Through a series of meetings, this partnership has identified a viable site on the campus for one 2.4 kilowatt (60-foot monopole) wind turbine and a geothermal heat pump installation at an existing field house. These renewable energy projects will be used to introduce Towns County students, other students at Internet-linked sister schools, community members, and regional policymakers to the wide array of renewable energy applications for the North Georgia region. The National Energy Education Development (NEED) curriculum will be used to support classroom instruction. The Towns County School system estimates that 1,136 students and 96 teachers will participate in the program during the grant period.

Energy Technology Career Academy Solar Project, Lindsey Wilson College, Kentucky ($45,000)
The Energy Technology Career Academy (ETCA) is a partnership among Lindsey Wilson College, Adair County High School, Russell County High School, and Lake Cumberland Technology Center that prepares students for work, college and citizenship by engaging them in project-based education focused on energy sustainability and efficiency. The ETCA Solar Project includes installation of two 1-kilowatt solar panels at both Adair County and Russell County Schools to power computers in the schools' computer labs. Computer power consumption data will be collected by Academy students. The data collected will be used in the courses and publicized to the student bodies at the partner schools. This project also includes a solar panel that will be donated for education purposes by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), at Lake Cumberland Technology Center. This particular panel will be installed and un-installed each semester by ETCA students as part of the curriculum of the Academy. It is anticipated that 43 students at both high schools will participate in this program annually.

Power Up for Southeastern Kentucky Project, Corbin Independent Schools Kentucky ($ 45,000)
The Corbin Independent Schools - Power Up for Southeastern Kentucky Project will provide a renewable power education program for the Corbin Independent Schools. The project will provide demonstration power sources for both solar and wind power for southeastern Kentucky in collaboration with the Corbin Area Technology Center, Project Lead the Way, PRIDE, and Corbin City Utilities. The project will install a wind turbine and photovoltaic system that will allow monitoring of electricity generation, and data will be compiled by students, thereby helping them understand and communicate the effectiveness of renewable resources. A major professional development component will be implemented for teachers with the goal of establishing a full K-12 renewable resource curriculum for the school district. This project will be supported through collaboration with the NEED (National Energy Education and Development) curriculum, and is expected to result in 100 students annually receiving training in advanced energy technologies.

Savings for Schools Using Solar, Russell Area Technology Center, Kentucky ($45,000)
The Russell Area Technology Center already has working wind power and solar photovoltaic systems that power the lights in its hallway. The additional solar panels to be installed as part of this grant would power lighting in three classrooms. The addition of solar thermal equipment will enable the school to reduce electric water heating in the building and use solar thermal to service 10 sinks in the building. Students will be involved in the site assessment for equipment installation, the data logging needed to establish baseline electrical and hot water usage, the actual equipment installations, and the economic analysis of the systems. ARC funds will be used to underwrite the cost of solar equipment, to create 10 mobile solar PV teaching units and one in-door unit, and to cover the cost of designing and hosting three solar installation workshops for community and regional training. Curricula will focus on the electrical processes involved, the environmental benefits of renewable energy, and the economic cost-benefit analysis of using renewable energy. It is anticipated that 1,200 students will participate in these educational programs.

Energy Efficiency Training & Certification Project, Haywood Community College North Carolina ($38,500)
Haywood Community College (HCC) will offer energy efficiency training and certification to curriculum students within its Building Construction Technology program and to Haywood County businesses seeking certification under the County's Chamber of Commerce Green Initiative. The project will add capacity to HCC's existing efforts to promote sustainable energy development while leveraging and expanding its collaboration with county government and businesses to build local buyer/supplier relationships in the energy efficiency arena. It will also provide energy efficiency education and coaching assistance to organizations involved in the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce's Green Initiative. This project is expected to serve 15 students and 40 businesses per year.

Green Building Envelope, Alfred State College Alfred, New York ($39,902)
Alfred State College will increase its expertise and expand its offerings of green building envelope technologies at its Center for Renewable Energy. The College will become a Building Performance Institute (BPI) testing center so students can be certified for envelope professional training. The College has an extensive Center for Renewable Energy that includes small wind and photovoltaic installation programming. The next phase of the Center's development includes adding programs for geothermal and solar thermal coursework. The final phase of programming is to expand green building envelope technology coursework. The College has some faculty trained in Energy Star envelope construction; however, it will further develop this expertise, integrate the expertise into its building trades programs, and provide public training in green building envelope technologies. It is anticipated that 144 students in the building trades programs will receive green building training, with 50 of these students graduating during the grant period.

EcoSMART Project, Watkins Glen Central School District, New York ($44,996)
Watkins Glen Central School District will establish a teaching and learning laboratory at the Watkins Glen Middle School utilizing a hybrid solar and wind powered system. The Watkins Glen Central School District will purchase a 3 kilowatt solar photovoltaic unit and a 2.4 kilowatt wind turbine that will be installed on the roof of Watkins Glen Middle School. The hybrid system will generate 5,000 kWh of electricity that will be grid-tied and integrated into the building's municipal power supply. Data acquisition software will allow students and teachers to track the data that each system is producing and incorporate this information into lesson plans. Students will share their knowledge with the community through outreach activities that support the increased use of renewable energy resources. This project is expected to engage 187 Watkins Glen Middle School students, two Technology Education teachers, and one science teacher in hands-on renewable energy activities.

Alternative Energy with West Elementary School, Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District, Ohio ($45,000)
The Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District will integrate an alternative energy program within West Elementary's existing curriculum by providing professional development to 20 teachers at and by utilizing the NEED (National Energy Education Development) curriculum for all 320 students at the school. In addition, a 10 kWh wind turbine on a 100-foot tower will be constructed on the grounds of the school. This project will inform students, parents, residents, and school staff about an alternative form of energy production that can save the school district approximately $2,400-$3,000 in electricity costs per year. Monitoring equipment will continuously measure the energy produced by the turbine and the resulting data will be posted on the school's website. The school has also initiated a solar energy plan that will be implemented after the results from the wind turbine are completed.

Energy Career and Technology Training for Cumberland Plateau Project, Morgan Career & Technology Center, Tennessee ($45,000)
The Morgan Career & Technology Center will install small wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on the campuses of Morgan County Career and Technology Center (MCCTC), Scott High School, and York Agriculture Institute. MCCTC will use its trade and industrial program to construct and install four small wind towers and solar PV frames for renewable systems at the three schools. Through its technology engineering program, Scott High School will develop design sketches and training manuals for each of the renewable systems. York Agricultural Institute animal science students will demonstrate agricultural uses of renewable technologies on their school farm. Various technology and business partners will provide support for all aspects of the renewable installations. The Tennessee Wind Working Group will advertise all the events and maintain a web page of the projects and events. Approximately 250 students will be trained by MCCTC in the construction of towers for small wind turbines. York Agricultural Institute and Scott High School will integrate renewable technologies into their curriculum, which will impact 160 students.

Seminars in Green Collar Job Preparation, Kingsport City Schools, Tennessee ($44,625)
The Kingsport City Schools will improve the energy efficiency of its facilities while educating students and the community about energy efficiency, renewable resources, and career opportunities in the expanding green collar job market in the Appalachian region. This project is a partnership between Kingsport City Schools' Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department, American Electric Power, and Construction Art of Afton, Tennessee. ARC funding for this project will support a 5 kW photovoltaic solar installation atop the CTE building. This installation will produce 6,291 kWh per year to offset a portion of the energy consumption of CTE's new distance learning computer lab and will serve as a learning tool for a series of green collar job awareness and preparation seminars. CTE students will be involved in the design and installation of the solar equipment, and web-based tools will allow students to monitor the unit's energy output in real time. Lesson plans provided by the US Department of Energy will be used in conjunction with green collar career workshops. This projected is expected to involve 46 teachers in the delivery of curriculum to 970 students.

The Sunrise Project, Pellissippi State Community College Tennessee ($40,000)
Pellissippi State Community College will provide new training courses in weatherization energy auditing and in photovoltaic system design and installation.
The College already offers a variety of environmental classes online and is now expanding its offering of certification courses to include weatherization energy auditor training and photovoltaic system design and installation training. The College's Business and Community Services Division (BCS) will offer these courses in a retrofitted residential structure now used as a training and demonstration center on the College's flagship campus. These non-credit courses are being offered as a response to a specific local demand and they are not offered by others in the College's service area. The inclusion of the weatherization course is based on the premise that the most efficient and cost effective way to conserve energy is to reduce current consumption. The College expects to train approximately 100 students during the grant period.

Alternative Energy Initiative, Mountain Empire Community College, Virginia ($40,000)
Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) will develop an Alternative Energy Career Studies Certificate to increase the capacity of the southwest Virginia workforce to meet the needs of the emerging regional alternative energy sector. The proposed eighteen credit-hour Career Studies Certificate will articulate with an Energy Management Associate Degree program to be offered at MECC. The proposed curriculum will draw from model curricula, the subject matter expertise of core project partners, and instructional resources disseminated by the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center - a National Science Foundation Center of Excellence. To support the Alternative Energy Career Studies program, MECC will purchase and install small-scale alternative energy demonstration equipment on its campus, including a small wind turbine and a solar panel. Core project partners include Dominion Resources, BP Wind Energy, IX Energy, and James Madison University. This project is expected to provide professional development opportunities for 3 faculty members and to serve 12 college students and 200 local public school students. The project has the potential to create 230 temporary and permanent new jobs.

Green Building Center, People Incorporated of Virginia ($40,000)
People Incorporated will expand weatherization and green building training opportunities in central and southern Appalachia. Weatherization providers and Community Action Agencies in Virginia have expressed a need for consistent standardized training in weatherization techniques. To address both the need for training and the limited number of training facilities, People Incorporated will establish a Green Building Center in southwest Virginia. The Green Building Center will offer ongoing training opportunities for individuals who provide weatherization and other energy conservation construction services to low-income residents in Appalachia. Courses offered at the Center will be based on the core competencies developed by the Weatherization Trainers Consortium and will cover weatherization testing and techniques. Students will participate in classroom, lab, and hands-on training to learn how to properly identify and correct residential energy use problems. Certificates will be given to all students who successfully pass written and applied tests. This project is expected to train 50 individuals and to create 2 new jobs.

West Virginia Green Women Training Project, West Virginia Women Work! ($40,000)
West Virginia Women Work will combine Green Advantage, an energy efficiency curriculum and certification program, with hands-on construction training at three skilled-trades training sites. The Green Advantage training and certification/examination will be integrated into a well-established, employment-based, skilled-trades training program designed to prepare adult women for entry level positions as laborers, carpenter helpers, and statewide union construction apprentices. A total of three Green Advantage workshops/certification examinations will be offered at three sites in West Virginia. One Green Advantage workshop will focus on Commercial Construction and two workshops will target Residential Construction. A minimum of 45 students will participate in training, 40 students will graduate, and a minimum of 32 graduates will gain employment in the energy efficiency construction industry.

Green Home Construction and Weatherization in Central West Virginia Project, Highland Community Builders ($27,070)
Highland Community Builders (HCB) will incorporate a comprehensive training program on green building techniques, energy efficiency assessment, and weatherization into ongoing education and building programs. HCB is part of a consortium of organizations, including the Randolph County Housing Authority, which focuses on housing and community development in north central West Virginia. This consortium renovates and constructs homes for low and moderate income families, provides construction and workplace skills training for young adults, works with local units of government on neighborhood and downtown redevelopment, and assists families with financing and related education. HCB and its partners propose to develop and institutionalize training along three tracks: Green Advantage building certified training, weatherization training, and Home Energy Rating System (HERS) certified training. This project is expected to result in the successful certification of all 14 staff receiving training, the successful certification of 37 of the 49 students who receive training, and the placement of 10 graduates in new jobs.

Wyoming County Green Team Project, Canaan Valley Institute, West Virginia ($45,000)
The Canaan Valley Institute will create a pilot program focused on bringing energy efficient technology and education into the classroom and the community. This project will act as a model for the West Virginia Green Schools Program statewide, which will enhance environmental education in West Virginia classrooms, increase sustainable processes and functions in school facilities, and utilize the school facility as a tool for environmental education. By the end of the current school year, the West Virginia Green Schools program will award 10 Green School certifications, provide technical assistance to six schools or one school district, and award three mini-grants to assist in the implementation of local green school programs. The grant will also train 14 teachers to deliver energy education curriculum to 325 students.

Renewable Energy from the Sky: A Solar/Wind Blend Demonstration, Barbour County Schools, West Virginia ($45,000)
Barbour County Schools will install both a wind turbine tower and a solar panel system on the campus of the Philip Barbour High School. The wind turbine will be mounted on a tower and the solar panels will be mounted on the roof of the high school's Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC), which has been identified as the prime location for the new equipment. The high school campus is one of the windiest locations in Barbour County and it features unobstructed access to sunlight. The power will be tied to the CTEC grid and will be used to support regular campus operations. The installation will be led by private contractor and the West Virginia University Renewable Energy program. A monitoring system will be used to measure the energy production from the wind turbine and solar panels. It is anticipated that 20 teachers and 800 high school students will participate in the coursework associated with this energy program.

2008 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grant Winners

2007 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grant Winners