Earlier last month, I contacted Congressman Joe Donnelly about the possibility of federal funding for hydroelectric power on the St Joe river in South Bend.  Congressman Donnelly expressed support for a project such as this and suggested I contact his Grants Director, Beth Barrett. 

Today I spoke with Ms. Barrett; she noted she had received my email asking for information about possible grants for a hydroelectric plant.  She explained that the city would have a better chance at securing grant funds to help finance a project such as this if the city rather than a private developer applied for the grant.  In the latter case, she was referring to Holladay Corporation’s East Bank Village re-development proposal.

Ms. Barrett noted that at this time, there are no federal grants available for a project such as the hydroelectric plant.  Congress has not yet funded the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, signed by President Bush in December 2007, although she noted that new grants become available every day. 

Ms. Barrett recommended I contact the Mayor and members of the South Bend Common Council and urge them to support this project in preparation for when grant funding becomes available.  It would be a good idea, I would think, to also urge Congressman Donnelly to pursue funding the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block grants.