Charleston Secures $750K for Energy Efficiency

July 1, 2010

Investigative Reports

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The NerveMayor Joe Riley has been a consistent champion of programs to increase energy-usage efficiency in Charleston.

He was able to take his plan a step further at the Charleston City Council meeting on June 16 with the decision to accept grants totaling $750,000.

One grant was $250,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation and the other from the Home Depot Foundation for $500,000. The latter was subject to a matching grant from the city of $100,000, which will be provided from the Rockefeller grant.

Charleston will now move ahead with the initial phase of its Community Energy Efficiency Program. It has retained Abundant Power Solutions LLC to develop and administer the program.

Under the program, citizens and businesses will be able to seek information on energy efficiency, the cost and benefit of upgrades, and ultimately financing for efficiency improvements.

The financing aspect of the program was not discussed but the city has stated that it will be third-party financing and that Charleston will have no legal obligations.

Council members Gary White Jr. and Aubry Alexander have been critical of the program since it was first proposed and remain so.

White disputed the likely benefits and savings that would arise for the program and Alexander said that such a program was reliant on grants and subsidies.

The largesse of the federal government in recent years could not continue, insinuating that the program ultimately was doomed, he said.

Marc Knapp is a contractor specializing in heavy underground utilities and the owner of Charleston Site Utilities.