Pennsylvania has implemented a new program that will provide $22.2 million in grants to support energy efficiency projects by local governments and non-profit entities. PA Conservation Works! will provide up to $250,000 for individual projects and $500,000 for joint projects designed to increase energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption and reduce energy costs by at least 25 percent.

PA Conservation Works! is a competitive grant program funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is open to Pennsylvania boroughs, townships and cities with fewer than 35,000 residents and counties with fewer than 200,000 residents. Sixty percent of the program's $22.2 million is reserved for local governments not eligible for direct formula grants from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. Renewable energy projects will also be eligible if they replace at least 25 percent of a building or entity's energy use.

All projects must create jobs, be able to start work within six months and be completed before Sept. 30, 2011. "Many smaller, local government and non-profit groups are interested in reducing their energy use and saving money. They have shovel-ready projects, but may be hampered by a lack of funding because of the economy," said Gov. Edward Rendell in a statement.

Program guidelines and additional information are available at www.recovery.pa.gov. Applications will be accepted beginning July 17 and must be submitted through the Environmental eGrants system. The application deadline is August 14.