The new year brought with it a number of new funding and technical assistance opportunities for communities looking to strengthen their 21st Century assets and/or take strides in the Green Communities Challenge. Information about each opportunity is linked below. Contact Luke Forrest, MML Project Coordinator, for more information or support at email@example.com or 734-669-6323.
The Environmental Protection Agency created the Sustainable Building Blocks Program to provide targeted technical assistance to communities looking to "implement development approaches that protect the environment, improve public health, create jobs, expand economic opportunity and improve overall quality of life." Tools used as part of this program will include "zoning code reviews, walkability assessments, parking policy analysis, climate action planning, commuter benefits, complete streets and fiscal and economic tools." Submit a letter of interest by FEBRUARY 23 to enter a competition to receive technical assistance through this program.
For communities in metro Detroit only, the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office is soliciting proposals for municipal energy efficiency or renewable energy projects. The deadline for these grants has been extended to FEBRUARY 24. Communities chosen for funding will be required to join the Energy Office through a formal participation agreement and contribute to the organization's endowment fund once the project is complete. See the application form for more details.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is offering grants of up to three million dollars for acquisition or stewardship of sensitive coastal land through the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program. Proposals are due MARCH 4, see the RFP for more information.
Food company Green Giant will be awarding $25,000 each to four people in recognition of their efforts to make their community greener and to help expand on existing initiatives. Eligible applicants include elected or appointed officials, business owners and community organizers. Applications are due MARCH 6 at www.thegreenawards.com.
Finally, the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth is offering low-interest loans of up to $2,500,000 for energy projects through September 2011. A previous blog entry contains more details.
Although most of the energy grant opportunities associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have closed, cities and villages can still take advantage of low-interest loans to implement projects on their energy wish lists. Through September 30, 2011, the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth is offering loans to cities and villages to implement energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects on municipal property. Loan amounts may range from $100,000 to $2,500,000 and can be used to cover supplies, materials and equipment.
If your community has identified energy-saving improvements that were not funded under previous grant cycles, this may be a perfect opportunity to continue the momentum of local green initiatives, an important asset for 21st Century Communities. In addition, activities undertaken as part of this loan program will earn your community points as part of the Green Communities Challenge. Download the loan application to learn more.
Luke Forrest is Project Coordinator for the Center for 21st Century Communities. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-669-6323.
Recently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) kicked off its national Green Power Community Challenge, a year-long campaign to encourage local governments and Native American tribes to use renewable energy.
As part of the campaign, communities will compete from September 20, 2010, to September 1, 2011, to see which one can use the most green power and which one can achieve the highest green power percentage of total electricity use. The winning communities will be declared in September 2011 and will receive special attention and recognition from EPA. Throughout the Challenge, EPA will provide technical assistance to help participants increase their use of green power.
To participate in the Challenge, communities must join the Green Power Partnership as a partner and buy green power in amounts that meet EPA minimum purchase requirements, submit a signed Green Power Communities Partnership Agreement, and initiate a community-wide green power campaign to encourage local businesses and residents to buy green power.
For more information about becoming a Green Power Community, visit www.epa.gov/greenpower/communities
To date, no Michigan governments are participating in this program. If you are considering or have already looked into participating, please contact Luke Forrest by email or by calling 734-669-6323.
Environmental consciousness and the desire to harness the power of the sun aren't new ideas - solar power was available to consumers in the 1950‘s - but the initial effort to go solar in America pretty much tanked. Solar power was too expensive for the average home or business owner.
There’s good news for people ready to make solar power really happen. In Michigan, people who purchase solar panels can take advantage of so many different rebates, incentives, and federal tax credits that the cost of going solar just melts away. What was once outside the reach of the average consumer has become, well, relatively cheap.
You may have heard the news that solar panels are more affordable now. Have you taken the time to consider if they would work for your home or business? There are a number of websites out there that give you the skinny on how to get a lot of your money back. DsireUSA is a database of incentives by state with links to information about federal tax credits and options in Michigan. You can link to Michigan’s Department of Energy Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG) for another set of links. Don’t forget about DTE Energy’s Solar Currents program, which will save you loads of cash.
Jennifer Eberbach is a professional journalist and writer. Find contact information on her website www.jenthewriter.info