The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is planning to boost investment in new construction and energy efficiency projects in states affected by the oil and natural gas industry downturn.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced the rule change on Tuesday, as it sought to provide additional incentives to states to speed up construction and save energy.
The agency has also made some changes to its own regulations.
Currently, the agency only requires that energy companies that build a new facility get approval from the Federal Energy Conservation Office (FERCO) to move forward with their projects.
This rule change will expand that to include projects in which a company already has a FERC approval.FEC Commissioner Brian Kelsey said the new rule will provide more opportunities for states to make investments in new energy efficiency and construction projects.
The FERC will be able to take a closer look at projects to ensure they comply with the law and regulations, he said.
The new rule allows companies to submit proposals for new construction projects that would reduce their carbon footprint.
The new rule also allows states to use the $250,000 incentive to incentivize the construction of energy efficient and new construction, Kelsey noted.
The money can be used to buy energy-efficient buildings or equipment or buy equipment to be used on projects.FERC Commissioner Richard Wurfel said the agency is working to make the incentive available to all projects.
The FERC has also released a new guide to the energy efficiency incentives available to states.
The guide provides states with a framework for determining whether to award a project a grant and what to expect from the grant recipient, as well as an outline of how the grant will be used.
The DOE will provide $250 million to states through a grant to build energy efficiency systems in buildings and equipment.
FERC Commissioner Wurfen said the goal is to build and install systems for energy-efficiency systems in as many as 500,000 buildings by 2020.