Good news for the nearly 150 homeowners who were left in the lurch when the state pulled $22 million from the Efficiency Kansas program earlier this summer.
The Kansas Commerce Department, which received the $22 million to fund commercial-energy projects, announced it would return $1.5 million in stimulus money to cover the 150 loan applications still pending in the Efficiency Kansas program.
Since its inception in April 2009, Efficiency Kansas helped more than 600 homeowners cover the cost of energy-efficiency upgrades by offering low- to no-interest loans. The energy-efficiency upgrades included everything from fixing leaky windows to replacing aging furnaces. Loans totaled $4.7 million.
Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration transferred money from Efficiency Kansas to the commerce department so millions of dollars in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money wouldn’t go unspent in Kansas.
Soon after, homeowners who had applied for loans — but hadn’t received final approval — were told they had to wait for alternate sources of funding. The $1.5 million that’s back in their coffers will cover those loans.
Kansas Corporation Commission spokesman Jesse Borjon said the agency is still looking for alternate sources of funding from the private sector to help keep the loan program going.
As for the Kansas Commerce Department, the agency announced last week that two projects would be funded with the remaining $20.5 million:
West Plains Energy would receive $12 million for a biomethane production facility at an ethanol plant near Oakley.
$4.9 million will go toward purchasing harvesting and transportation equipment for plants that are used for making bioenergy. The money would be granted to the Wichita-based Kansas Alliance for Biorefining and Bioenergy, which was formed in 2009 with a $4.1 million grant from the Kansas Bioscience Authority.