Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham recently announced that the Department of Energy's State Energy Program (SEP) will award a total of $44,535,000 to all states, territories and the District of Columbia to assist in carrying out their energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

"These awards will help states, territories, and the District of Columbia implement their state energy plans, improve the energy efficiency of transportation and buildings, and provide public education to improve energy efficiency statewide," Secretary Abraham said. "These projects will conserve energy, provide jobs and increase America's national energy security."

The SEP awards will be administered by the respective states' energy offices. The majority of the awards will be made in June, though actual award dates will vary. SEP funds have improved the energy efficiency of more than 69,000 buildings nationwide and annually supported about 6,300 jobs. States leverage an average of $4 for every $1 in SEP funding through a 20% matching contribution and other funding sources, greatly enhancing the program's effectiveness.

The SEP provides formula-based funding to states to design and carry out their own programs to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Many states use SEP funds to improve lighting efficiency standards for public buildings, to promote carpools and public transportation, for procurement practices to improve energy efficiency, and to improve the energy efficiency of homes and businesses. States may also use SEP funds for public education to promote energy efficiency, to finance other energy conservation measures for public buildings, and to address issues such as urban sprawl.