For Immediate Release: Monday, February 8, 2010
(ST. PAUL, MN) The Minnesota Department of Commerce's Office of Energy Security (OES) today announced that it has signed a contract to provide $5 million in seed money to the St. Paul Port Authority to create a revolving loan fund for energy efficiency improvements in commercial and industrial buildings.
Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the St. Paul Port Authority grant represents the largest single stimulus-funded contract awarded by OES with State Energy Program funds to date. It's also the first ARRA-funded contract issued by OES to target the commercial and industrial sector.
The St. Paul Port Authority will leverage economic development funds and Conservation Improvement Plan (CIP) funds to create a $10 million dollar revolving loan fund for energy efficiency and cost effective renewable energy improvements for commercial and industrial buildings. This innovative and market-based approach provides another opportunity for businesses to reduce energy costs while creating economic stimulus and helping the State reach its energy objectives.
The $5 million grant from OES, coupled with other sources of funding, will help fund the St. Paul Port Authority's Trillion Btu Program. That program aims to save one trillion Btus of energy by providing loans to large businesses for energy efficiency improvements to their facilities. Once fully implemented, the revolving loan fund is projected to generate the equivalent of 300,000 MMBtu in electric and natural gas energy savings annually. The St. Paul Port Authority forecasts that the annual cost savings resulting from the fully-funded revolving loan fund could approach $3 million.
Other ARRA grants awarded by the OES include:
A $2.5 million grant awarded to the Builders Association of Minnesota for Project ReEnergize, a residential program that provides rebates to homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements.
A $4.4 million grant to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) for the creation of the Energy Saver rebate for homeowners with a household income of up to $96,500 who make ENERGY STAR and federal tax credit-eligible improvements that are financed through MHFA's Fix-up fund
The St. Paul Port Authority contract is the first in a series of grants that will target the commercial, industrial and manufacturing sectors. In December, the Office of Energy Security issued an RFP for its Energy Programs in Commercial and Industrial Buildings grant, which will provide $4.1 million to owners of commercial and industrial facilities, nonprofits and economic development agencies for energy efficiency improvements in commercial facilities.
Another $2 million will soon be awarded to Minnesota manufacturers through the Emerging Renewable Energy Industries Grant.