Two North Carolina cities are the recipients of federal stimulus funds awarded for energy efficiency projects. These grants, totaling over $100,000, from the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program are part of the first round of funding allocated to North Carolina applicants. The funds will be used to replace 156 existing streetlights in the cities of Albemarle and Hendersonville. Albemarle has received $54,137 which will be used to retrofit 124 streetlights. Hendersonville will replace 32 existing fixtures using an energy efficiency grant of $52,200.
According to the office of North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, “Additional grants are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.”
The funds for these two cities are part of the North Carolina Energy Program’s “Main Street initiative” targeting smaller and rural communities in the state. The grants, with the goal of boosting economic development, are for projects under $250,000. However, the recipient is required to provide local matching funds.
City officials in Hendersonville anticipate to reduce electricity use by as much as 40% with an annual savings of $11,500. Officials in Albemarle have a long term goal of replacing all existing streetlights with LED streetlights and acknowledge that “the lights will pay for themselves in just a few years by saving the city utility costs.”