Program awards $32.9M to support green energy

ATLANTA - Georgia will get $32.9 million in federal money to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across the state, officials with the U.S. Department of Energy announced Monday.

The money is part of a total of nearly $82.5 million the department will award Georgia as part of the federal State Energy Program.

Georgia's proposal outlined plans for increasing the use of renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The state will get more than $41 million in additional funding upon demonstrating successful implementation of that plan, according to the department.

Georgia's plans include implementing the State Utilities Retrofit Program. That program, administered by the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, will allocate $65 million to retrofit state government facilities, with emphasis on creating energy independence, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating green jobs.

Federal officials have set aside more than $153 million in State Energy Program money in Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New York and the Virgin Islands, as well as Georgia.

The program is part of President Barack Obama's national strategy to support job growth. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act appropriated $3.1 billion to the State Energy Program to help states create green jobs, address state energy priorities and adopt emerging renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

"This funding will provide an important boost for state economies, help to put Americans back to work and move us toward energy independence," Steven Chu, secretary of the department, said in a news release Monday. "It reflects our commitment to support innovative state and local strategies to promote energy efficiency."