MAAG touts new funding for Clean Tennesee Energy grant

The Memphis Area Association of Governments is promoting a new round of funding for the Clean Tennessee Energy grant in which municipal governments, county governments and utility districts can receive up to $250,000 for projects (with a 50 percent-plus match from the applicants) that focus on energy conservation and air quality improvement.
On Tuesday Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau announced a fourth offering of the Clean Tennessee Energy Grants, totaling $2 million.
“One good example in our region that was awarded two years ago is the Covington, Tenn. gasification plant. It takes wood waste and burns it, and the City of Covington uses the energy from that process to run their sewer treatment facility,” says Josh Shumaker, MAAG Program Developer and West Tennessee Rural Planning Organization Coordinator. “Any money saved on energy costs after they pay off the project expenses will go towards funding their parks system.”
Shumaker hopes and expects to see similar projects submitted for Memphis.
“We would like to see projects that think outside the box and are beneficial to the community long term,” he says.
Funding for the projects comes from an April 2011 Clean Air Act settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Projects are expected to include cleaner alternative energy solutions like biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind, along with energy conservation methods like updated lighting, HVAC improvements, improved fuel efficiency, insulation, and idling minimization. Air quality improvement such as reduction in greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, oxides of nitrogen, and hazardous air pollutants are also expected to be a key component of grant submissions.
The due date for all applications is January 30, 2015. Recipients are expected to be announced in the summer of 2015.
By Michael Waddell

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