Local governments can engage with state energy offices to influence the development and implementation of state and federal energy programs. Through these interactions, local government officials may be able to secure technical support for their own planning and implementation processes, secure funding for energy projects, or otherwise influence energy policy.
Engaging with State Energy Offices
All local governments.
Local governments’ opportunities to engage with state energy offices to advance their energy goals will vary based upon their state office’s scope of work and responsibilities. The roles and responsibilities of state energy offices vary by state, but can include:
- Administering federal and state energy grant programs
- Advising and working with legislators, governors, state agencies, businesses, and communities on energy issues
- Advocating on behalf of businesses and residential energy consumers with state energy regulators
- Assisting with planning and providing technical support to achieve energy and climate goals
- Supporting technology research and deployment
- Educating the public on energy and climate issues
At a minimum, most state energy offices oversee and administer federal and state grant programs that pertain to energy efficiency and renewable energy. Examples include:
- U.S. State Energy Program (SEP): A federal program that provides states with funding and technical assistance to enhance energy security, advance state-led energy initiatives, and maximize the benefits of decreasing energy waste. States have the flexibility to tailor their use of funds to state energy needs and goals, and there is often a focus on supporting local government efforts
- U.S. Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP): A federal program that provides states with funding to reduce energy costs for low-income households using energy efficiency.
- State programs: Many states have their own state-funded grant programs as well.
While state energy offices commonly administer these programs, there may also be other relevant state grant programs administered by either a state energy office or other state offices, which may be included on state website listings of state grant opportunities.
Local governments can start by familiarizing themselves with the roles and responsibilities of the state energy office by reviewing its website. Once they have determined the scope of the energy office’s responsibilities, local governments may wish to meet with state energy officials to explore areas for collaboration, stay informed about state energy office activities and program offerings, and apply to grant programs. Local governments can also partner with others to participate in state energy office activities and use available programs.
The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) is a national nonprofit association for governor-designated energy officials from each of the 56 states and territories. Its website provides a general summary of the roles and responsibilities of state energy offices.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program maintains a list of state energy offices and provides an overview of what they do.
Key Federal Programs That Support State Energy Offices and Local Government Projects:
- U.S. Department of Energy – State Energy Program: This website provides information on the State Energy Program’s goals and previously funded projects.
- U.S. Department of Energy – Weatherization Assistance Program: This website provides information about the Weatherization Assistance Program’s goals and previously funded projects.
To review examples of local governments that have utilized one or more engagement pathways to advance their renewable energy goals, visit the Engagement Tracker in the Local Government Renewables Action Tracker.