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The original item was published from 10/20/2023 10:42:00 AM to 11/4/2023 12:00:03 AM.

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Posted on: October 20, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Orange County part of team to win $1.5 million federal grant

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Durham County awarded $1.5 million grant for energy efficiency upgrades in low-income homes in Durham, Orange and Granville counties

On Oct 12, 2023, Durham County was announced as one of 12 selectees of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Competitive Program, a funding opportunity from the Office of State and Community Energy Programs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Durham County, the only entity in North Carolina to be selected for the grant program, was awarded $1.5 million to implement a program that will reduce energy burdens and promote energy efficiency in under-resourced neighborhoods in Durham, Orange, and Granville counties.

The $1.5 million award will fund the NC Energy Burden & Emissions Reduction Program (EBERP), a collaboration between Durham, Granville and Orange counties in partnership with the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, North Carolina Clean Energy Fund, Enpira, Inc., Central Pines Regional Council, Piedmont Triad Regional Council and Marian Cheek Jackson Center. The goal of the EBERP is to reduce energy burdens, build organizational capacity, and develop clean energy technical skills in rural and urban neighborhoods across the three counties.

“I am thrilled about the transformative impact this grant will have on the Durham community,” said Durham Board of County Commissioners Chair Brenda Howerton. “The EBERP Program is a testament to our commitment to fostering a more equitable and sustainable future for all. Providing needed home energy upgrades to communities in Durham disproportionately impacted by a higher energy burden, will improve the well-being and health of these residents by alleviating income stress and reducing emissions in their communities.”

The EBERP will conduct neighborhood-focused residential energy upgrades in Justice40 communities and other overburdened and underserved communities most impacted by pollution and other environmental hazards. They will also conduct energy efficiency workforce training efforts in disadvantaged communities.

The program is expected to impact more than 350 households, reducing energy use by 8-20 percent while making homes healthier and more affordable. The program will be developed over the next 6-8 months and is expected to be open for participants in late 2024. 

“Orange County is committed to environmental justice issues and improving the lives of all residents, including members of disadvantaged communities,” said Orange Board of County Commissioners Chair Jamezetta Bedford. “This grant will help us achieve our goals of reducing energy usage while improving financial outcomes for overburdened and underserved communities.”

“Participating in the EBERP program will have a real impact on the quality of life for Granville County residents,” said Chair of the Granville County Board of Commissioners Russ May. “Rural communities like ours are so often unable to participate in federal grant opportunities due to a lack of staff capacity to administer programs of this scale. We are thankful to the public/private collaboration and partnerships that made this grant award possible, and we look forward to building upon this program in the years to come.”

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Competitive Program, funded by President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, awarded $8.8 million in funding to 12 small-to-medium sized local governments and state-recognized Tribes for projects and programs in their communities that reduce fossil fuel emissions, improve energy efficiency, reduce energy costs, and cut overall energy use.

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