The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) announced this week that it is accepting applications for two of the agency’s clean energy programs.
Applications for the fiscal year 2024 Maryland Smart Energy Communities (MSEC) grant program are now being accepted.
The MSEC FY24 program supports the sustainable, long-term clean energy projects of local governments, state agencies, nonprofits, educational institutions and communities through four key programs:
- Clean Energy for Local Governments Program
- Public Facilities Solar Program
- Streetlight and Outdoor Lighting Efficiency Program
- Clean Energy and Community Development Pilot Program
Of note, the Clean Energy for Local Governments Program (CELG) will offer grants for towns, cities and counties to offset the costs of renewable energy projects, including wind and geothermal heat pumps.
Alternatively, CELG funds may be used for the purchase of light-duty electric or zero emissions vehicles, including utility vehicles such as garbage trucks, police vehicles or public transit buses, as long as the new vehicle replaces an existing fossil fuel-powered vehicle.
Likewise, the Clean Energy and Community Development Pilot Program aims to help fund community energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including the deployment of clean energy as well as electric or zero emissions vehicles.
Additional information on each of the MSEC programs, including eligibility requirements, is available on the MEA website. The funding available varies for each of the four areas of interest. The application deadline for MSEC grants is March 8.
Funds available for electrification, energy efficiency, displacement of fossil fuels
The Commercial, Industrial & Agricultural Grant (CI&A) Program encourages Maryland-based factories, warehouses, data centers, private educational institutions, hospitals, multifamily housing owners, farms, and commercial, service or retail operators to reduce energy waste and replace fossil fuel with renewable energy sources.
To facilitate the increased adoption of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies, CI&A grants can be used to partially offset investment costs.
The MEA is currently accepting applications for the $4.4 million available in the fiscal year 2024 CI&A program. Grant funds can be used to support:
- Energy efficiency upgrades and electrification activities of businesses or nonprofits at commercial or industrial facilities, multifamily residential housing, warehouses or data centers.
- Manufacturing and combined heat and power systems at commercial, industrial and nonprofit facilities.
- The improvement of energy efficiency at agricultural facilities.
Eligible Improvements and upgrades could include things like the installation of LED lighting and the electrification of water and space heating, as well as the deployment of renewable energy and microgrids.
The grants may not be used to expand a facility’s use of fossil fuels or upgrade fossil fuel-based equipment in a way that will significantly extend its life. Likewise, proposals to replace existing fossil fuel-based equipment with new, more energy-efficient fossil fuel-based models will not be funded.
The MEA will accept proposals for upgrades to existing or new facilities under construction.
Funds will be distributed on a first-come first-served basis until they are exhausted or until the application deadline of Feb. 25, whichever comes first. Complete details on eligibility can be found on the program’s funding opportunity announcement.
Maryland: A hotbed for microgrids
In recent years, the MEA has provided funding for multiple microgrid projects. The organization recently announced that its Resilience Maryland grant program would release $6 million in funding for microgrid and resiliency projects.
Baltimore, Maryland, will be the home of Microgrid 2024, which will be held in April.