In early fall, the Energy Office received $355,500 in competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Energy for multi-year efforts to expand the agency's work with commercial businesses, multi-family housing groups and homebuilders to increase energy efficiency and incorporate higher energy standards into new homes and buildings.
Rewarding Merit and Innovation
Nebraska ranked as the seventh largest recipient out of all states and territories that competed for the grants. Nationally, nearly $10.5 million for 116 projects was awarded. Last year, the Energy Office ranked as the fourth largest recipient among those receiving grants.
In the last two years, the federal energy agency has earmarked some discretionary funds for distribution to the states for projects in targeted areas. The selection of the projects funded is predominantly based on merit and past performance, not population or energy consumption.
The Energy Office received funding for two of the three projects submitted:
The Energy Office is using $200,000 in oil overcharge funds to supplement the federal grant. Oil overcharge funds are a result of various court actions against oil companies that overcharged their customers during the period of federal price controls from 1973-1981.
The oil overcharge funds will be used for Dollar and Energy Saving Energy Efficient mortgages. The state funds will leverage an additional $600,000 for the mortgage loans.
Last year, the Energy Office received $370,000 for three different multi-year projects. Work on those projects, Rebuild Nebraska, Climate Wise and the Federal Energy Management Program, will continue through 1998.