Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Regional Commission Gets Energy Grant

The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) will be awarded $277,751 to develop a pilot energy efficiency and conservation program in the Roanoke Valley and Alleghany Highlands. The Regional Commission’s proposal was one of 26 applications that were selected for funding from over 150 submissions that came from all regions of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Commission’s new energy efficiency program will employ retired engineers and scientists to provide confidential and non-regulatory pollution prevention and energy efficiency assessments to businesses and institutions in the region.

Volunteer assessors will identify utility cost-cutting measures through on-site energy and water efficiency auditing, strategic energy management planning, technical assistance, solid waste reduction, and project implementation guidance. No-cost technical assistance and training will be provided to industries, businesses, and public facilities, including K-12 schools and local governments. The program will be modeled on successful programs throughout the nation that harness the expert knowledge of retired technical professionals, such as North Carolina’s Waste Reduction Partner’s (WRP) program.

It is anticipated that the new Regional Commission program will begin accepting request for energy assessments by Fall 2010. Several of Virginia’s Planning District Commissions played a vital role in reviewing applications and will continue to manage this program as it moves into the implementation stage.

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy partnered with the state’s 21 planning districts in order to take advantage of their well-established administrative, project management, and technical support capacity as well as their communications systems and channels with local governments and the local business and non-profit communities.

The funding is provided by the Virginia Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block (EECBG) program, which was established to help local governments, cities and counties implement strategies to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. The EECBG program was initiated as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


  1. I understand the need to utilize retired engineers and scientists as a diamond mine of experience and knowledge in their chosen fields; however, programs such as this ought to included a mentoring/internship element at all times, bringing in newly graduated and/or soon to be graduating young scientists and engineers to work along side. In our current economic climate resume building internships for young person is essential.

  2. Samuel, the Commission intends on expanding its corp of volunteers to include students and others once we get it up and running and have the technical capacity to get everyone trained. As a start, we're likely work primarily with engineers and scientists simply because we'll be able to get them out into the field that much sooner.

    -- Jeremy

  3. If the Governor's School survives Gov. McDonnell's budget cuts, RVARC might want to get involved in their mentoring program, in which students spend a semester with local professionals in their field of interest. Dr. Anthony Curtis is in charge of RVGS's mentorship program. http://www.rvgs.k12.va.us/wwwroot/courses/mentorship.html