The federal government is injecting millions of stimulus dollars into states for education, healthcare, and infrastructure. Stimulus money is also available for energy efficiency programs but finding out about those opportunities can be difficult for Connecticut businesses and residents.
Last month, the U.S Department of Energy announced $ 42 million dollars in stimulus dollars to 12 companies for investments in fuel cell technology. No Connecticut business made the list. WNPR wanted to find out how businesses in the state would be notified about the opportunity.
Matt Fritz-Special Assistant to Governor Rell and co-chair of the state's advisory group to monitor stimulus aid did not know about the grant but pointed to the CT Clean Energy Fund for an answer. CCEF, a group that works for ratepayers within a state quasi-public agency, also didn't know about the grant.
Its President, Lise Dondy says there's no defined group in the state that's watching for every grant opportunity available under the stimulus act.
"There really isn't though we are taking the lead in terms of renewable energy opportunities."
Dondy says in April, CCEF hosted a forum for companies and consumers to learn about competitive stimulus money for renewable energy programs that's not lumped into the standard stimulus money to states.
"So the other real challenge for Connecticut is that as the solicitations come out, we are trying to distribute and communicate and have on our website information about the various solicitations."
The task can be daunting as the U.S. Dept of Energy issues more and more competitive solicitations. Some states have consultants in Washington D.C to specifically track stimulus opportunities. Matt Fritz of the Governor's office says the state relies on its Congressional delegation and contacts within federal agencies for information. But Representative, John Larson, a longtime advocate for advancing fuel cell technology in Connecticut says there's always room for improvement.
"The important thing is to be an advocate and aggressively go after this money."
The CT Clean Energy Fund is working with an outside consultant and plans to post updates on stimulus opportunities at its website, ctcleanenergy.com