The Arkansas Energy Office (AEO), a division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), has announced a $5 million grant program for small cities and counties to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is providing funding for the program through the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program.

Small cities and counties can apply for funding to conduct building energy audits on residential and commercial buildings; perform energy efficiency building retrofits on public or nonprofit buildings; install onsite renewable energy technologies, such as solar and wind, on government buildings; establish financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements, and more. "These grants will help Arkansas's public entities spend less on utility bills and more on public services," said AEDC Executive Director Maria Haley in a statement.

The grants also aim to spur local jobs, Haley said. "Local employment will be needed to support cities and counties that receive grants, whether it's to conduct an energy audit, install building retrofits and renewable technologies, or supply the necessary products," she said. "We encourage [grant recipient] cities and counties to use local resources."

April 30 is the deadline to apply for the funding. Most Arkansas municipal and county governments are eligible to apply except for some that already received funds directly from the Department of Energy.

Read application information and download forms for the AEO grants.

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