Friday, April 30, 2010

$30 Million Received to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Homes

Vice President Joseph Biden has announced 25 communities across America that have won a total of $452 million in “Retrofit Ramp-up” energy efficiency grants, as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Maine has been awarded $30 million to help fund energy efficiency efforts in the state.
“As we prepare to mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day it is great to show that Maine is a leader in taking action to reduce our energy consumption, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and also reduce costs for Maine consumers,” said Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree. “For Maine to win this grant shows that we have one of the top energy efficiency programs in the country and that is something we should be proud of.”
The Retrofit Ramp-up initiative included a competitive grant application process that the Obama Administration says received nearly $3.5 billion in application requests. Because of actions taken by the Legislature in the last several years to create an infrastructure to assist businesses and homeowners undertake the task of making their structures more energy efficient, Maine was well positioned to compete for a share of the funds.
“Last year we established the Efficiency Maine Trust as a way to consolidate various efficiency programs so that Maine people could more easily find help in reducing their energy bills,” said Rep. Jon Hinck, the House chairman of the Utilities and Energy Committee. “This grant will also specifically take advantage of a process that we enacted this year. The Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE bill, will help cities and towns access these funds.”
PACE programs allow municipalities to raise money and lend it to property owners who apply for financing. Property owners repay their loans through an assessment on their property tax bill. The program is strictly voluntary, with municipalities deciding whether to establish PACE programs, and property owners participating if they want to.
“PACE programs are a great opportunity for property owners to weatherize their homes and save energy and money,” said Rep. Patsy Crockett, D-Augusta, the sponsor of the PACE bill. “These federal funds will ensure that the programs can be a success throughout the state and more Maine people will have the ability to make their homes and businesses energy efficient.”
Those interested in finding out more about how to make their homes or businesses more energy efficient should log on to Efficiency Maine’s web site for links to all of their programs:

Tourism Association Hosts Southern Maine’s First Hospitality Expo

The Maine Beaches Association is pleased to be hosting the 2010 Southern Maine Hospitality Training & Attractions Expo on May 11, 2010. This free event, the first of its kind in southern Maine, is sponsored through a grant from the Maine Office of Tourism and will be held from 1-6 p.m. at the beautiful Coastal House in Wells. The program is designed to support the tourism industry by offering training sessions on “Making the Maine Beaches Experience Great: It All Begins With ME!”, as well as an opportunity to network with and learn more about local attractions in a trade show setting. In addition to the program, there will be refreshments and hourly giveaways of tickets, passes and other prizes provided by participating attractions.
“We’re really excited about this event and the opportunity it gives to our local tourism industry,” says Karen Arel, President of the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce and Maine Beaches Association board member. “With so many seasonal positions and staff turnover, there’s a definite need for this kind of training. Making visits to the south coast of Maine great so that people will return time and time again is a goal shared amongst all of us in the tourism industry, and this event is a great way to expand our toolboxes and make that happen.”
Attractions currently registered for the event include museums, amusement parks, arcades & mini golf, recreational programs, cruises and fishing charters, retailers, transportation providers and local arts venues.
While this event is focused on people working in the hospitality industry, members of the public wishing to learn more about the area and talk to representatives from local attractions are also invited to attend.
For more information and to register for the event visit: