On Thursday, August 24, the South Carolina Energy Office (SCEO) hosted a visit with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP). This event showcased the impact of U.S. State Energy Program funding on the citizens of the State of South Carolina and introduced SCEP to South Carolina’s energy partners. Over 50 stakeholders, ranging from project partners, funding recipients, state agencies, universities, schools, community groups, and non-profits participated either in person or virtually throughout the day to share what value they had gained from their work with the South Carolina Energy Office. Stakeholders also heard from SCEP Director Dr. Henry McKoy, who provided an overview of federal funding opportunities through SCEP.
The State Energy Program provides annual formula funding to State Energy Offices throughout the country to support energy projects and programs and is administered by DOE’s SCEP office. The South Carolina Energy Office utilizes those funds to support its work to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean transportation programs throughout South Carolina.
Nearly 35 stakeholder organizations from throughout the state outlined in a slide their respective relationship with the SCEO and what they had gained from that relationship, underscoring the impact of State Energy Program dollars to their work.
The day rounded out with a tour of local projects, guided by SCEO staff, that provided a sampling of how SEP funding furthers energy efficiency and clean transportation efforts across South Carolina. The tour began at one of the City of Columbia’s parking garages where municipal partners shared their story of using Mini-Grant funding to provide new and upgraded electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in public parking facilities. Next was a visit to Benedict College, an historically Black college, that also used Mini-Grant funding to help procure an EV and charger for a clean addition to their campus police fleet. During the tour, SCEO staff pointed out Richland County School District One office buildings where energy efficiency upgrades were made possible with SCEO’s ConserFund loan program. The tour culminated at Blythewood High School’s Bengal Biodiesel Lab. SCEP and SCEO were joined by an innovative chemistry teacher, his students, high school principal, and even the District Superintendent. The Bengal Biodiesel Lab utilized Mini-Grant funds, and collaborated with other SCEO partners, to expand its chemistry laboratory which enables students to gain real-world lab experience in producing biodiesel from spent cooking oil.
According to South Carolina State Energy Office Director Sara Bazemore, “Mandated state goals are not the only way to pursue a cleaner, more efficient, and resilient tomorrow. In South Carolina, cross-sector and diverse collaboration create a lens to magnify the state’s formula State Energy Program funding into a variety of initiatives, outreach, education, and funding opportunities.”
For more information about SCEO’s programs, including the Mini-Grant program, please visit the SCEO website.