Energy-saving initiatives launched in state municipalities

U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. John Carney (all D-Del.) recently joined USDA Rural Development State Director Bill McGowan to announce energy-saving initiatives in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties through the Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant Program.

Delaware’s first recipient of this program, the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation, will loan funds to seven rural municipalities to convert existing street lights to more affordable LED lights. The municipalities — Middletown, Smyrna, Clayton, Dover, Milford, Seaford and Lewes — will receive loans in total of $593,120 for 10 years at zero-percent interest.

The USDA loan will support the installation of 700 new LED street lights in the eligible communities, saving customers thousands of dollars annually while reducing harmful carbon dioxide emissions.

“Every little thing that we do to become more energy efficient has a larger ripple effect,” said Carper. “Not only are we protecting the environment, but we are also easing budgetary pressures on our municipalities, and that’s a win-win situation.”

“Saving energy is a common-sense way to lower energy costs, help the environment, and boost our nation’s energy security,” Coons said. “Energy efficiency is an enormous opportunity that more communities should be taking advantage of.

“This investment by USDA Rural Development and the facilitation of Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation will help seven Delaware communities reduce their energy consumption and reap some of the benefits modern energy efficiency can offer.”

“This project is a great example of federal and local partners working together to support jobs, enhance public safety, and protect the environment,” said Carney. “Improvements like this shine a light on the many unique and attractive things Delaware towns offer for residents, visitors and businesses.”

“Small towns are the backbone of rural Delaware,” said McGowan. “When towns work together and take advantage of opportunities such as the Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant Program today through Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation, it benefits all of us who call these communities home.”

“DEMEC is very happy to participate in this joint effort of Federal, State and Local organizations,” said Patrick McCullar, president and CEO of the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation. “This project is a great example of our mission — jointly advancing our common goals of increasing energy efficiency and improving quality of life in our member communities here in Delaware.

“We are very excited about working with the USDA and Tony DePrima of the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility to do this very beneficial and cost-effective LED street lighting project for the betterment of our Delaware communities.”