WIUM Tristates Public Radio

WIRC To Help Fund Energy Efficiency Projects

Macomb, IL – The Western Illinois Regional Council has partnered with the Illinois Association of Regional Councils to give local governments incentives to go green.

The ILARC has a contract with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to disburse green energy grant money, made available through the federal economic stimulus program, throughout the state.

The WIRC has $622,351 available for local governments in McDonough, Warren, Hancock, Knox, Henderson, Fulton, Mason and Menard counties. The amount of money given to a specific region depends on its population.

WIRC Planning Coordinator Shannon Duncan says the money essentially will pay local municipalities to retrofit their facilities. She says the program is a great opportunity, especially for county buildings.

"There are programs where municpialities can obtain funds. County buildings are restricted from using those funds, ordinarily," says Duncan. "So this is an opportunity to capture some of those dollars for places that normally don't get that opportunity."

Those applying for funds must conduct projects that collectively cost no less than $5,000, and no more than $100,000. The grant money can cover no more than 75% of the project's total cost, which means the remaining portion must either be matched locally or through a different grant program.

Municipalities within the county, such as school boards and fire protection districts, may also apply for funds, but they must do so through county governments. The total cost of those projects would be put toward the county's total.

Local governments in this region can only use the money for energy efficiency retrofitting of buildings. Such projects could include installing insulation, upgrading heating and cooling systems, weather sealing and others.

Applications are due to the WIRC by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 11.