Baltimore to get $6.37 million from U.S. Energy Dept.

Baltimore will receive $6.37 million of stimulus money from the Department of Energy, a portion of which will be used for community energy grants, according to Mayor Sheila Dixon.

Dixon said Monday at a news conference in West Baltimore that $1 million of the funds would go to community and nonprofit organizations dedicated to providing cost-saving energy improvements in neighborhood facilities.

The city will make grant applications available by spring, and is expecting to distribute awards of between $20,000 and $50,000, according to officials.

"The objectives are going to be to reduce energy, to institute behavior change that reduces energy, and it will be required to have tracking and an audit to confirm that we've reduced energy," said General Services deputy director and energy adviser Ted Atwood. "We want programs that can become ambassadors to advertise to other communities to show what we can do."

City officials cited A Step Forward, an energy-efficient housing unit that provides services for individuals recovering from addiction, as a program that would be a good candidate for funds. A Step Forward has participated in an energy-saving pilot program sponsored by Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. for about a year.

The remaining stimulus money - more than $5 million - will be used in 18 city programs, including the Baltimore Neighborhood Energy Challenge, an initiative that helps households reduce energy use. Officials say there are also plans to install building retrofits in city facilities to encourage utility cost savings.

Through December, Baltimore has received about $300 million of stimulus funds, city officials said.