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Pilot Program Supporting Community-based Clean Energy Awareness and Education Projects Is Launched

Micro-grants Made Available to Nonprofits and Individuals for Clean Energy Promotion through Community Innovations Grants Program

Rocky Hill, Conn. (June 19, 2006)—The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) today announced that it has launched a unique test pilot program with the purpose of assisting Connecticut’s communities in supporting clean energy awareness and education. The program, known as the Community Innovations Grants Program, was launched at a meeting of the Portland Clean Energy Task Force this evening at the Portland Library in Portland , Conn. Portland will be the first Connecticut community to participate in the program.

Under the program, which is being funded with $200,000 from CCEF, the first 40 Connecticut cities and towns that have committed to SmartPower’s 20% by 2010 clean energy campaign will be offered a $5,000 block grant by CCEF. The local energy task force in each town will then coordinate a micro-grant giving process, soliciting and reviewing project proposals from non-profit organizations or individuals motivated to start up local clean energy awareness and education projects. The energy task force in each town will determine which projects to support with micro-grants of between $250 and $2,000. This program is intended to support creative new ways of promoting and supporting clean renewable energy in our communities. For more information regarding the program, visit www.ctcleanenergy.com/communities/grants.

CCEF President Lise Dondy said, “We believe some of the best ideas can come from the clean energy champions in the communities. They are the true innovators. We look forward to their creative approaches to educate their communities about the value of clean energy.”

Town of Portland First Selectman Susan Bransfield said, "Portland is fortunate to have a group of dedicated volunteers who are diligently spreading the word about clean energy. They know our town, the people, what works and what doesn’t. A grant like this will magnify our local efforts in ways that large campaigns could miss."

Andy Bauer, chairman of the Portland Clean Energy Task Force, stated, “The timing of this grant couldn’t be better. Problems with fossil fuel and nuclear power are in the news constantly. USA-based clean energy is available right now to anyone who wants it and it is therefore critical that we put resources into educating people about that choice.”

Cheryl King Fischer, executive director of the New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) said, “The New England Grassroots Environment Fund is pleased to be partnering with the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund in the creation of the Community Innovations Grant Program. NEGEF believes that all the best intentions of state and federal policies and laws are only as good as on-the-ground implementation, at all levels. The Community Innovations Grant Program will provide financial support to help communities implement renewable energy strategies across the state. These grants are a vote of confidence that volunteerism can and will contribute to the advancement of energy independence in Connecticut.”

About the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund

The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund was created by the Connecticut General Assembly and is administered by
Connecticut Innovations, a quasi-public organization. CCEF promotes the development and commercialization of clean energy technologies; the creation of clean energy supply; and the demand for electricity from clean, renewable sources in Connecticut in order to strengthen Connecticut’s economy, protect community health, improve the environment, and promote a secure energy supply for the state. CCEF’s funding comes from a surcharge on electric ratepayers’ utility bills.

About Connecticut Innovations, Inc.

Connecticut Innovations (CI) is a quasi-public organization dedicated to driving a vibrant, entrepreneurial, technology-based economy in Connecticut. CI stimulates high-tech growth by investing in: early-stage Connecticut technology companies; university/industry research collaborations; technology transfer; and, clean energy initiatives through the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. CI also fosters collaboration among government, business, non-profit and academic organizations to advance technology growth and promotes public policies consistent with CI’s mission. Since 1995, CI has been the state’s leading investor in high technology and clean energy, investing over $180 million in companies, projects and programs.

About the New England Grassroots Environment Fund

The New England Grassroots Environment Fund is a ten-year old regional community-based grants program that has funded over 1200 citizen initiatives across the region that are practicing democracy and protecting the environment. NEGEF provides seed money to citizen groups that are working at the municipal level fostering clean and healthy environments. (Check out the Grassroots Fund at www.grassrootsfund.org.)