The New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning (OEP) is a small government department with a big mandate.
The agency’s website summarizes, “OEP provides information, data and guidance to assist decision makers on issues pertaining to development, land protection, energy use and community planning. We guide the state’s future growth through public policy development, education, research, and partnership building. This site provides information on our many programs.” Those programs range from administering the low-income heating fuel assistance program (LIHEAP) to helping municipalities with urban planning.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009–more commonly known as the stimulus package–OEP got $72.7 million in federal funds. The office’s mandate was three-fold: Increase energy efficiency among individuals, businesses, and in government, grow the green economy, and create jobs. These goals resulted in one of OEP’s highest-profile stimulus projects: The Green Launching Pad (GLP), a green start-up incubator at the University of New Hampshire. So far, OEP’s given $1.5 million in stimulus funds to GLP, which has used some of the money for supporting green businesses, and the rest as competitive grant awards to new companies. OEP’s time administering stimulus funds, however, is quickly coming to a close, as the feds require all money to be spent by the end of April, 2012.
Other stimulus-funded OEP programs and initiatives include:
- Appliance rebate
- Better buildings program
- Energy assurance
- Energy efficiency and conservation block grant program
- Low income weatherization
- State energy program
- Sustainable energy resources for consumers