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Green jobs : Development News

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Chesapeake Bay Trust To Award Green Grants

The Chesapeake Bay Trust is considering applications from towns and cities in Maryland and neighboring states to spur economic development, energy efficiency and sustainable communities. The trust is awarding a total of $400,000 in environmental grants to the Free State and Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. 
The grants are for a program called Green Streets-Green Jobs-Green Towns. The program was introduced in 2011, a partnership of the trust, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Maryland.
This year’s funding more than doubles the amount available in 2011, when 10 cities and towns received grants from $25,000 to $35,000 each for their projects. A maximum of $100,000 may be awarded for a project.
Janna Davis, the trust’s acting executive director, expects to award eight to 12 grants in 2012, depending on the amount requested for the project. The winning projects will be based on EPA criteria.
Previous projects ranged from storm water improvement to local roadways, planting trees and creating rain gardens, using energy efficient sources for street lighting, instituting recycling measures and creating and training people in green jobs.
“We want people trained in green jobs so they can then become the experts” in that field, says Davis.
The grant program is open to local governments and nonprofit organizations in urban and suburban communities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed area.
Source: Janna Davis, Chesapeake Bay Trust acting executive director
Writer: Barbara Pash

Green energy company Clean Currents opens Catonsville office

A four-year-old energy company that supplies wind and solar power has expanded to Baltimore County's Catonsville. Clean Currents LLC opened an office at 813 Frederick Road this month. 

Company execs chose Catonsville after holding a town hall meeting on green energy at the Catonsville library in 2007, Clean Currents President Gary Skulnik says. More than 300 households signed up for Clean Currents. Catonsville is a "green-minded community," Skulnik says. "It's great to be there. We have so much energy on that side."

After that meeting, Clean Currents started a residential program. "I thought, maybe we are onto something here," Skulnik says.  Today, it has 6,000 residential customers.

Based in Rockville, Clean Currents employs 20. It is starting out small at the Catonsville office, with just two workers and less than 1,000 square feet of space, but the company has ambitious goals. If all goes well, the business could add as many as 30 employees in the next 18 months as it adds more customers in Pennsylvania, Skulnik says. The firm wants to become the dominant green energy company in the mid-Atlantic region.

He says the company also chose Catonsville because because the downtown area contains numerous restaurants and services. It's also convenient to Interstate 95 and 695 and minutes from downtown Baltimore.

Skulnik declined to say how much the company spent on the move.

Source: Gary Skulnik, Clean Currents
Writer: Julekha Dash

Feds fund program to keep heat in, cold out of Baltimore homes

Low-income families in Baltimore will get some help keeping their heating bills low this winter thanks to federal legislation that provides $15.7 million for a citywide weatherization initiative.

Mayor Shelia Dixon announced in June that some 700 families over the next 3 years will receive assistance keeping the elements out of their homes and, consequently, their energy bills down. The process of weatherization has been shown to reduce energy consumption by as much as one-third.

Funding for the weatherization project comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law in February by President Obama. The law is designed to provide assistance and relief the communities and families that are struggling financially and to bolster investment in initiatives that create jobs and promote the stability of the economy.

"Today is the beginning of a movement to make the entire city greener and more sustainable," Dixon says. "The weatherization initiatives will ensure that energy efficiency and 'greening' programs are active in every neighborhood in Baltimore."

The initiative is also expected to have a positive impact on the city's workforce, as city employees working on the initiative will earn certification by the Department of Energy to conduct weatherization, according to Dixon. This certification process should add skills to the Baltimore-based workforce and local contractors that meet new federal certification standards.

The city will coordinate the weatherization project with the health department's "Healthy Homes" and lead abatement initiatives, as well as housing rehabilitation programs from the Department of Housing and Community Development and energy efficiency programs under the Empower Maryland program.

Funds coming through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be monitored in quarterly reports by the Baltimore Economic Recovery Team. Reports are available at http://recovery.baltimorecity.gov.

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