Rural communities in Indiana can get $1.46 million in energy efficiency and conservation grants. The state rolled out the new, two-year grant program this week. It passes along money given to Indiana to communities that weren’t eligible for a federal grant.
The federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program made funding available to states and larger communities. In Indiana, 37 of them are eligible for those dollars as well as the Pokagon band of the Potawatomi.
Ryan Hadley directs the Indiana Office of Energy Development. He said the state will pass along its portion to smaller communities that weren’t eligible for the original grants.
“Being able to help counties and local units of government achieve energy savings, reduces costs on them, and thereby reduces the impact to Hoosier taxpayers,” Hadley said.
Local governments can use the money for things like creating energy efficiency plans and audits, replacing streetlights, purchasing electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, and training workers in clean energy jobs.
Bill Brown is with the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute — which assists rural communities that may not have the resources to apply for federal climate and energy funding on their own. He said even though the deadline isn’t until February, local governments need to start working on this now.
“Some of these are going to require some collaboration with others in the community. Obviously, you’re going to have to run it through the city council or county council, whoever is the entity that’s going for this. So there’ll be some meetings, there might be public meetings necessary. So don’t wait,” Brown said.
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Brown said ERI’s Indiana Resilience Funding Hub — and the state — are both available to help smaller communities apply.
Hadley said there’s no maximum amount local governments can ask for, but he expects awards will be between $100,000 to $200,000 each. The deadline to apply for the state Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program is Feb. 2.