Audit Report: Department's Implementation of Financial Incentive Programs Under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program [open pdf - 160KB]
"The Department of Energy's (Department) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, funded for the first time by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was intended to help US cities, counties and states develop, promote, implement and manage energy efficiency and conservation projects. The EECBG Program received $3.2 billion in Recovery Act funding for competitive and formula grants. Of the $3.2 billion, approximately $284 million was designated by EECBG recipients for financial incentive programs. Financial incentive programs include both lending and credit enhancement initiatives. Lending programs provide financing to borrowers, commonly through revolving loan funds. Credit enhancement programs use loan loss reserves, interest rate buy-downs or loan loss insurance to reduce a lender's risk. Both types of programs can be administered by the recipient or by a third-party contractor, e.g., a bank, credit union or community development financial institution. Since the inception of the Recovery Act, the Office of Inspector General has conducted a series of reviews on the EECBG Program which have identified various weaknesses. In particular, as noted in our report 'The Status of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Recipient's Obligations', (OAS-RA-11-16, September 2011), $879 million of the $2.7 billion in formula-based grant funding provided by the Department, or nearly one-third, remained unobligated by recipients at the time of our review. The Department has since focused aggressively on encouraging recipient spending and recipient obligations through phone calls and in-person outreach efforts. In light of the identified weaknesses and the risks inherent in establishing a large new program of national significance, we initiated this audit to determine whether the Department had managed its EECBG financial incentive programs efficiently and effectively."
Department of Energy, Office of Inspector General, Report No. OAS-RA-13-02
U.S. Dept. of Energy: http://www.energy.gov/