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Three Universities Get DOE Grants

Posted by Steve Rogers | July 25, 2012 / 03:20pm | Local News, Business, Education
The State of Mississippi recently was awarded $725,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to support energy efficiency improvements at the state's public universities. The grant will be used to help Mississippi create an energy efficiency retrofit strategy for the state's Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) facilities, with the goal of reducing energy consumption at Mississippi's public university facilities by 20 percent by 2020.

The Mississippi Development Authority's (MDA's) Energy and Natural Resources Division, in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration's (DFA's) Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management and IHL, applied for the competitive State Energy Program grant award on behalf of the State of Mississippi.  

Additionally, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has committed $150,000 over three years to each of the three Mississippi public universities within its service area--the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University and Mississippi University for Women--to further support the project.

"I am pleased Mississippi has been awarded these funds to help our IHL facilities become more energy efficient. Reducing energy spending in our state's public buildings is important to me, as it will save significant tax dollars while helping us move toward being a more energy efficient state," Governor Phil Bryant said. "I am proud of the interagency collaboration among MDA, DFA and IHL to secure this award and am grateful to TVA for being so supportive of this initiative and committing funds to further bolster the project."

"The Department of Energy grant will help support Mississippi Public Universities' ongoing efforts to use energy resources more efficiently and enable more resources to be directed to the classrooms," said Dr. Hank M. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education. "I applaud the agencies for securing the grant and appreciate TVA supporting these efforts also. This is a great example of collaborative efforts of universities, government and business that will advance Mississippi and create a brighter future for all Mississippians."

The Department of Energy is investing a total of $7.9 million to assist 13 states in developing cost-saving, whole-building retrofit programs across a broad range of their public facilities through the Advancing Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings funding category of the 2012 State Energy Program Competitive grant program. Mississippi's grant was the largest of any of the awards received by the 13 states awarded funds in this category.

"With these funds, the state will work to create an energy efficiency retrofit strategy for IHL facilities throughout Mississippi that can also be replicated by other State agencies and local governments," said Brent Christensen, MDA executive director. "IHL has been aggressively pursuing efficiency for its facilities for the past several years, and with this grant, we will be able to identify ways we can further build upon these efforts to increase efficiency and achieve significant cost savings to the taxpayer through lower utility costs."

"Mississippi is home to the first TVA municipal power supplier and the nation's first electric power cooperative, and the state has always been a vital region of the TVA service area," said David Sparks, TVA's Mississippi energy efficiency manager. "This partnership with the State of Mississippi to promote energy efficiency leadership at the state's public universities is the latest chapter in a historical relationship that TVA values dearly. We are proud to support the State of Mississippi with its remarkable energy efficiency efforts, which will not only help save on energy costs, but will also play an important role in helping TVA continue to deliver reliable, low-cost, cleaner energy."

Program guidelines regarding the project are still being developed, and they will be made available at www.mississippi.org once they are complete. For more information, please contact Karen Bishop, MDA Energy and Natural Resources Division director, at (601) 359-2517 or kbishop@mississippi.org.
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