The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE's) State Energy Program (SEP) dedicates a portion of its funding each year (during Fiscal Years 2010-2013, DOE awarded $51.8 million) to provide competitively awarded financial assistance to U.S. states and territories to advance policies, programs, and market strategies that accelerate job creation and reduce energy bills while achieving energy and climate security for the nation. Under this initiative, states compete for funding designed to support EERE's nationally focused initiatives for the fundamental and permanent transformation of markets across all sectors of the economy.
In a typical year, SEP will choose "Areas of Interest" on which to focus. States are invited to apply for any and all areas of interest in which they are interested. See examples of "Areas of Interest" from previous years including:
- Stimulating Energy Efficiency Action in States
- Public Facility Retrofits
- Supporting Leadership by Example in States.
Working with States to Replicate Innovation
Providing financial assistance to states in focused areas through the competitive process allows DOE to learn from and replicate innovative policy approaches and programs that incentivize energy efficiency and renewable energy technology deployment at the state level.
DOE provides states with technical assistance and guidance in a collaborative effort to design and implement efficient and effective programs. In return, awardees share information with DOE and each other in a peer-to-peer facilitated dialogue about the challenges they encounter, how they overcome those challenges, and barriers to implementing effective programs.
This collaborative process allows both federal and state-level decision makers to learn and constantly improve the efficacy and impact of tax dollars spent on energy programs.