Gov. John E. Baldacci announced April 21 that Maine has received a $30 million federal grant from the Recovery Act to fund energy-efficiency upgrades in Maine.

“Maine is recognized as a national leader in our efforts to improve energy efficiency,” Baldacci said. “The work that we have been doing at MaineHousing and at Efficiency Maine has demonstrated our ability to put resources to work quickly, creating jobs and reducing energy consumption.”

The competitive award was announced today by Vice President Joseph Biden and is part of $452 million in Recovery Act funding through the U.S. Department of Energy awarded to 25 communities around the country. Under the Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative, communities, governments and nonprofit organizations will work together to pioneer innovative programs to support large-scale retrofits and make energy efficiency accessible to thousands of homeowners and businesses.

The application for the grant was submitted by the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s Energy Programs Division in partnership with MaineHousing.

The grant will establish a revolving loan fund called the Maine Home Performance Fund to make buildings more energy efficient. The strategy uses grant funds to subsidize retrofits for the first three years of the program. The fund will be accessible to residents in towns that have adopted Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs that meet guidelines established by the state.

The funding will allow the program to accurately measure energy savings and document reduced carbon emissions, attracting private investors and creating a sustainable revenue stream to fund weatherization and energy-efficiency improvements.

“The Retrofit Ramp-Up funding will allow Maine to develop an innovative solution to expand residential efficiency,” said John Brautigam, director of the Energy Programs Division at the Maine PUC. “The Maine Home Performance Fund will create a new financing option that will continue our efforts to break down barriers to homeowners and businesses who want to reduce energy consumption.”

Maine has one of the highest rates of homeownership in the country. Maine’s aging housing stock and high cost of fuel shows the potential value of retrofitting homes and businesses to improve energy efficiency.

“The revolving loan fund and PACE allow us to address key barriers to homeowner investment in weatherization by reducing or eliminating the up-front costs to consumers,” said Dale McCormick, director of MaineHousing.

Maine received one of the highest awards in the competitive process. New York State Research and Development Authority received $40 million; Maine, Michigan and Los Angeles County, Calif., each received $30 million. Twenty-one other awards ranged from $5 million to $25 million.