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City of Green Bay receives energy outreach funding

The city of Green Bay recently received $159,610 from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG). Kris Leonhardt photo

By Eva Westein

Contributing Writer

GREEN BAY – The city of Green Bay recently received $159,610 from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG).

These grants are meant to support local government’s efforts to improve energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions.

The city of Green Bay will be using the grant money to hire an outreach and engagement specialist, called the clean energy connector, to lead an electrification and energy efficiency outreach campaign.

In this role, the specialist will develop a strategy and outreach materials to implement the Clean Energy Green Bay Plan, which is an initiative meant to promote equitable access to renewable energy in the community.

Action items from this plan include providing technical assistance to residents on best energy practices and available incentives for home electrification and energy efficiency upgrades.

Green Bay will also informally collaborate with the Oneida Nation to provide tribal members with tailored resources on utilizing the Inflation Reduction Act’s Home Energy Rebates Programs.

This will also be executed through the role of the clean energy connector, who will focus on doing outreach with members of the Oneida Nation and citizens of Green Bay to unite their already similar energy goals.

“To have a person dedicated to do outreach with the community to help the community understand all of the different financial benefits that are coming through with the Inflation Reduction Act…it’s a big opportunity to be able to have an additional staff person being able to focus on that,” said city of Green Bay Resiliency Coordinator Melissa Schmitz.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program is a $550-million program that was initially authorized in 2007 and first appropriated by Congress in 2009 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Now this program has been funded for a second time by Congress through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

There are 2,708 eligible state, local and tribal governments spread across the country that are eligible to receive portions of the grant money.

As the largest clean energy grant program at the Department of Energy (DOE) in terms of the number of eligible entities, the EECBG Program holds an important role in community outreach.

“What EECBG provides is a formal touch point with these communities allows us to engage formally with them and make connections to other opportunities throughout the Department of Energy,” said EECBG Program Project Manager Adam Guzzo.

The program’s reach provides communities with easy access to other opportunities within the DOE.

In Wisconsin, there are 34 local governments and 11 local tribes that are eligible to receive a grant.

However, only Green Bay and two other cities have been awarded funds.

Additionally, the state of Wisconsin is required to sub-grant at least 60% of its funds out to local governments that are not eligible to receive a formula grant from the Department of Energy.

“If you’re a local government in the State of Wisconsin, and particularly in the Green Bay area, that’s maybe not on the list of entities that we’re going to fund, I would encourage them to go directly to their state and ask about how they could get access to the funds that the State has to push through as subgrants,” added Guzzo.

Local governments have until Oct. 31 to reach out and take advantage of the EECBG Program and tribes have until May 31 of 2025.

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