(April 7, 2020 by Jim Purcell, Energize Delaware Empowerment Grant) The recent Covid-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to how intertwined our economic, social and health security can be in our communities. Our communities are suffering from severe health, economic and social impacts posed by this pandemic. Often overlooked are significant and long lasting cash benefits that energy efficiency projects have for low-income communities. Utility costs are a significant burden for low-income communities, even more so with the Covid-19 pandemic. In Delaware, we have an opportunity to strategically focus efforts and funding to not only help those low-income individuals, but also businesses who contract and employee workers to do the energy efficiency work who may have lost work or were laid off due to the pandemic crisis. Fortunately, Delaware has $4 million in funding available for energy efficiency in low-income homes served by Delmarva Power. Shortly, through a competitive grant system these funds will be awarded to low-income communities to provide energy efficiency programs and services for Delmarva Power customers.
Energize Delaware was selected to facilitate and disburse $4 million in funds designated for low income energy efficient programs for Delmarva Power customers. These funds originated from the Exelon\Delmarva Power Merger Settlement approved by the Delaware Public Service Commission in 2018. The Empowerment Grant is set up and is managed by a Grant Manager with Energize Delaware. The initial Large-Scale grant for up to $1 million was launched in January with a due date of April 24th. The next grant will focus on Community-Scale grants of up to $100,000 and will launch in April with a rolling date for application submissions. A second round of large-scale and community-scale grants will proceed later this year and in early 2021.
What is the Empowerment Grant Program?
These funds are being provided to support capable organizations in delivering energy efficiency programs to low-income ratepayers located in Delmarva’s Delaware service territory. Applicant(s) receiving a grant award will accomplish one or more of the following in the Delmarva Power Service Area:
- Increase the energy efficiency of low-income Delaware households that contribute to statewide electric and gas savings.
- Engage with and inform low-income Delaware households about the benefits of efficiency and strategies available to them to achieve it.
Applicants are asked to develop a comprehensive community-based approach to address energy efficiency issues in low-income housing by mobilizing public and private sector resources, including grassroots, community-based, non-profit, and faith-based organizations. And to the greatest extent feasible that job training, employment, contracting, and other economic opportunities generated by this grant will be directed to low-income persons in Delmarva’s service area. It’s with great enthusiasm that we review and get these funds out into the community this summer and fall and hope they serve to not only bring energy efficiency programs to more Delaware residents but help to resuscitate our small business community.
For more information about how to apply for the Empowerment Grant go to www.empowergrantde.org or if you’d be interested and are eligible to receive benefit from one of the energy efficiency programs please contact the Empowerment Grant office at 302-724-7033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please like us and visit us on Facebook @empowergrantde and Twittter @empowergrantde.
Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility (DESEU) Energize Delaware—a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization created by the State of Delaware, provides Delaware residents, businesses, nonprofits, and local governments opportunities to save money through energy efficiency. Energize Delaware offers our programs to people statewide to help protect against volatile energy prices, reduce the environmental impact of energy production and lead Delaware to a sustainable energy future.
Jim Purcell is the Grant Manager for the Empowerment Grant. He is tasked with facilitating this $4 million grant, distributing the funds and monitoring the impact of the on-time funding. It’s the hope of Energize Delaware to sustain this type of funding for energy efficiency and expand its outreach to all Delaware utility customers and look at creating programs to further support access to renewable energy sources for all Delawareans. Jim has over 20 years of public policy, grant administration and community development experience having worked for several non-profits and private sector companies.