The Dernogalizer

April 21, 2010

Vice President Biden Kicks Off Five Days of Earth Day Activities with Announcement of Major New Energy Efficiency Effort

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 3:05 pm
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See press release: here

Washington, D.C. – Vice President Biden will today kick off five days of Administration events around the 40th anniversary of Earth Day with the announcement of the selection of 25 communities for up to $452 million in Recovery Act funding to “ramp-up” energy efficiency building retrofits.  Under the Department of Energy’s Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative, communities, governments, private sector companies and non-profit organizations will work together on pioneering and innovative programs for concentrated and broad-based retrofits of neighborhoods and towns – and eventually entire states.  These partnerships will support large-scale retrofits and make energy efficiency accessible to hundreds of thousands of homeowners and businesses.  The models created through this program are expected to save households and businesses about a $100 million annually in utility bills, while leveraging private sector resources, to create what funding recipients estimate at about 30,000 jobs across the country during the next three years.

“For forty years, Earth Day has focused on transforming the way we use energy and reducing our dependence on fossil fuel – but this year, because of the historic clean energy investments in the Recovery Act, we’re poised to make greater strides than ever in building a nationwide clean energy economy,” said Vice President Biden.  “This investment in some of the most innovative energy-efficiency projects across the country will not only help homeowners and businesses make cost-cutting retrofit improvements, but also create jobs right here in America.”

“This initiative will help overcome the barriers to making energy efficiency easy and accessible to all – inconvenience, lack of information, and lack of financing,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.  “Block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, we will make our communities more energy efficient and help families save money.  At the same time, we’ll create thousands of jobs and strengthen our economy.”

In addition to the $452 million Recovery Act investment, the 25 projects announced today will leverage an estimated $2.8 billion from other sources over the next 3 years to retrofit hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across the country.  Overall, the program funding was eight times oversubscribed, with more than $3.5 billion in applications received for the just over $450 million in Recovery Act funds available, indicating significant demand for investment in energy-saving and job-creating projects like these nationwide.

Grantees will employ innovative financing models to make these savings accessible, for example by offering low and no-interest loans that are repaid through property tax and utility bills.  In implementing these projects, grantees will deliver verified energy savings and incorporate sustainable business models, to ensure that buildings will continue to be retrofitted after Recovery Act funds are spent.  The Department will use the lessons learned from these pilot programs to develop best-practice guides to comprehensive retrofit programs that can be adopted and implemented by other communities across the country.

The Retrofit Ramp-Up projects, which are part of the overall $80 billion Recovery Act investment in clean energy and energy efficiency, complement the Obama Administration’s ‘Recovery through Retrofit’ initiative, which lays the groundwork for a self-sustaining and robust home energy efficiency industry.  The awards are the competitive portion of DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, which was funded for the first time under the Recovery Act to help state, local, and tribal communities make strategic investments in improving energy efficiency, reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions.

Secretary Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, joined Vice President Biden today for the announcement, which was the first of more than two dozen events and activities Administration officials will participate in around Earth Day.  In addition to today’s event, the President will host an Earth Day reception with environmental leaders on Thursday, April 22nd, a video message from the President will air as part of events on the National Mall on Sunday, April 25th, and Administration officials will participate in educational programs with school children, visit wetland and coastal restoration projects and participate in community service projects as part of the President’s Earth Day call to action.  The events will highlight some of the ways the Administration is working to improve the environment, transform American infrastructure for greater energy-efficiency and build a clean energy economy that supports the jobs of the future.  As part of the events, Administration officials will also continue the push for Congress to act on HOME STAR legislation and comprehensive energy and climate change legislation.  A full roster of Administration Earth Day activities is below and more information on the President’s Earth Day call to action is available at

Retrofit Ramp-Up Awards

The following governments and non-profit organizations have been selected for Retrofit Ramp-Up awards.  These projects are planned to begin in fall 2010.  Final award amounts are subject to negotiation:

Austin, Texas – $10 million
Boulder County, Colorado – $25 million
Camden, New Jersey – $5 million
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning – $25 million
Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, Ohio – $17 million
Greensboro, North Carolina – $5 million
Indianapolis, Indiana – $10 million
Kansas City, Missouri – $20 million
Los Angeles County, California – $30 million
Lowell, Massachusetts – $5 million
State of Maine – $30 million
State of Maryland – $20 million
State of Michigan – $30 million
State of Missouri – $5 million
Omaha, Nebraska – $10 million
State of New Hampshire – $10 million
New York State Research and Development Authority – $40 million
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – $25 million
Phoenix, Arizona – $25 million
Portland, Oregon – $20 million
San Antonio, Texas – $10 million
Seattle, Washington – $20 million
Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance – $20 million
Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Ohio – $15 million
Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation  – $20 million
For more information on the selected projects, visit HERE.  A map of the selected projects is available HERE.

Retrofit By the Numbers

• Residential and commercial buildings consume 40 percent of the energy and represent 40 percent of the carbon emissions in the United States.  Building efficiency represents one of the easiest, most immediate and most cost effective ways to reduce carbon emissions and save money on energy bills while creating new jobs:

• Existing techniques and technologies in energy efficiency retrofitting can reduce energy use by up to 40 percent per home and lower total associated greenhouse gas emissions by up to 160 million metric tons annually.

• Residential and commercial retrofits also have the potential to cut energy bills by $40 billion annually.

Administration Official Earth Day Events and Activities (more…)

October 4, 2008

Biden/Palin Debate

Filed under: National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 1:22 am
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So I tuned into the VP debate Thursday night, and it went pretty much how I expected it to go. I expected that Palin would do better than the uber low expectations people had for her, and that people would make too much out of that. I hoped that Biden would not be too overbearing towards Palin and instead go after McCain. He did that.

Let me be clear, from a standpoint of substance, Biden won. He answered questions in depth and with expertise. Palin either dodged questions or answered them very broadly without specifics.

But your average American sitting down to tune into the debate hasn’t researched all of the positions of all of the candidates. They aren’t knowledgeable of the specifics. Far too many people identify with likability than a grasp of the issues. That’s how we ended up with George Bush. At least Palin is at the bottom of the ticket. My estimate is that this debate will have a similar effect that the Obama/McCain debate had. Your independent undecided voter is uncertain about Obama because of their perception of his inexperience. They are holding back because they aren’t sure whether or not Obama can be presidential, and in the Obama/McCain debate, Obama proved that he could when he went toe to toe with McCain. Some undecideds identified this, and it reflected in the polls, my estimate it boosted Obama by 3-4 points, and the economic crisis gave him another 4. These same undecideds were looking to see if Palin could fill the shoes of the presidency if necessary. In the eyes of the average independent undecided American, she proved she could. I think they are wrong, but I’m a Democrat, I live in MD, and I’m voting for Obama. Too many people don’t look at politics objectively when they’re analyzing something, I’m trying to do that.

So I expect Palin’s debate performance will negate Obama’s. I think McCain will jump 3-4 points in the national polls by next Tuesday. Ultimately though, unless there is a serious misstep by Obama, I think the economic crisis sealed the race for him. There are just too many landmines in the Electoral College for McCain to get the necessary votes to win, and not enough time to clear them all.

New Hampshire polls are showing Obama with double digit leads where McCain just led a couple weeks ago. The same with Michigan where it’s gone from a dead heat to Obama with a double digit lead, causing McCain to pull out his operations in Michigan and focus elsewhere. Obama is leading in places he shouldn’t and wasn’t expected to like Florida and North Carolina. And in the once pure toss-ups of Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvannia, and Minnesota, Obama has assumed leads ranging from 2-7 points. It’s worth nothing with many of these states, the polls survey “likely voters” which leaves out the vast majority of the new registered voters that the Obama campaign has worked fervently to register. I’d guess that most polls underscore Obama’s performance by 1-2 points.

So still a month to go, and stranger things have happened. This election has shifted all over the place suddenly an unexpectedly. But right now, unless there is a game-changer, the race is Obama’s to lose.

Oh, and my final take on the debate, and something I think and hope people will consider on voting day. McCain selected Palin because she would make him a better candidate. Obama picked Biden because he would make him a better president.

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