Gov. Martin O'Malley announced $2.1 million in grants Thursday fund energy-efficiency projects aimed at low- and moderate-income families.

"These grants are an example of exactly the type of efficiency projects we had intended for Maryland communities and families when we entered into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the nation's first multi-state collaborative carbon cap-and-trade program," O'Malley said in a statement. "These grants are another step forward in our goal to take control of our energy future."

The money, which is to be made available through competitive grants to local governments and nonprofits, comes from the Strategic Energy Investment Fund.

It is the fourth year of the EmPOWER Clean Energy Communities Low-to-Moderate Income Grant Program, which is administered by the Maryland Energy Administration.

In the past two years, 87 grants have helped about 4,000 families throughout the state, officials said.

Past winners have used their grants for energy audits and assessments and appliance upgrades.

andrea.walker@baltsun.com

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