September 23, 2011
The Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program Funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the State of Pennsylvania
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), the Department of Energy's (Department) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (Program) received $3.2 billion in funding to help U.S. cities, counties and states to develop, promote, implement and manage energy efficiency and conservation projects. Subsequently, the Department awarded a $23.6 million formula grant to the State of Pennsylvania's (State) Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Of the $23.6 million awarded, the State retained about $1.2 million in funding for administrative costs and awarded $22.4 million to 69 local governments and 33 non-profit entities selected through a merit review process. In total, Pennsylvania plans to complete 102 energy conservation projects.
Our review found that the State of Pennsylvania had developed and implemented a monitoring system designed to provide reasonable assurance that Block Grant projects would improve energy efficiency and be completed timely and funding would be accounted for and spent properly. Additionally, we found the State had awarded grants for projects consistent with Program objectives in improving energy efficiency and reducing energy use. Further, our review showed that projects periodically reported energy consumption data, as required, which was reviewed by management.
Given the importance of the Recovery Act, we suggested that the State continue to closely monitor project performance and funds expended in order to meet Program goals and Recovery Act requirements. In addition, we suggested that Pennsylvania ensure contract workers are paid no less than minimum wage rates required. No formal recommendations were made in this report.