Kennewick, Pasco and Richland will receive almost $1.3 million in grants for energy efficiency and conservation projects from the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“The jobs this funding creates in construction and energy development will be a much-needed boost to local economies,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., in a statement.
Kennewick will receive $589,700, Pasco will receive $495,500 and Richland will receive $204,300, they learned Thursday.
The money is part of $56 million to be awarded to Washington and some of its counties and cities. “Local leaders will have the flexibility in how they put these resources to work,” said vice president Biden.
Cities receiving the money based on their size and energy use under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program must submit plans on how they would use the money.
After they receive the money they must report to the Department of Energy the number of jobs created or retained, energy saved, renewable energy capacity installed, greenhouse gas emissions reduced and funds leveraged.
“City, county and state governments are ready to step up and address our country’s significant energy challenges, and these funds will allow them to do that with dividends for years to come,” said maria Cantwell, D-Wash., in a statement.
The block grants were authorized as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The money is intended to be used for projects that reduce total energy use and fossil fuel emissions and improve energy efficiency.
Money can be used for a wide range of projects, including transportation projects that conserve energy. That could include bike lanes, pedestrian walkways and synchronized traffic lights.
Cities can choose to spend the money to install renewable energy technology in government buildings, such as solar power or light emitting diodes.
Pasco is working to identify potential energy savings in city buildings, said City Manager Gary Cruthfield, adding department managers have been asked to look for possible ways to save energy.
Money spent now should yield savings for years to come, Cruthfield said.