Current Sustainable Energy Projects

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Clearinghouse

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Clearinghouse is a project that assists in collecting, developing, organizing, and disseminating low-income energy issues, information for low-income energy providers and low-income energy issue groups. The Clearinghouse’s clients include the following:

  • state, tribal, and LIHEAP grantees
  • community action agencies and local government offices
  • low-income energy service organizations
  • fuel funds; and
  • utilities and utility regulatory commissions.

Clearinghouse information helps these groups improve management and delivery of low-income energy services, target benefits to those with highest energy burdens or the most need, initiate innovative administrative and programmatic improvements, investigate and obtain sources of supplemental and non-federal funding, reduce energy consumption by program recipients, foster energy self-sufficiency and reduce program dependency among recipients, and maximize cooperative and coordinated efforts among utilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, grantees, and organizations serving low-income people. The Clearinghouse goal is to expand and enhance information exchange on low-income energy issues with the national low-income energy network.

National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR)

NEAR is a free service for persons who want information on where to apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which may pay a portion of the energy bills of eligible low-income persons. By accessing our NEAR website, people wishing to apply for LIHEAP can find local and state contact information. They can also get details and contact information for other energy assistance resources in their states, such as utility discounts and emergency help from local charities. Queries may also be e-mailed to Please include your city, county and state in your e-mail message. Or, call NEAR toll-free at 1-866-NRG-NEAR (1-866-674-6327) for a referral to your local energy assistance provider.

The NEAR project is made possible through funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and in partnership with the Experience Works program. This program seeks placement of older workers in environments that can provide them job training and help them achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Managing Farm Energy Risks

Since 2006, NCAT has offered or sponsored “energy alternatives” workshops to over 2,200 agricultural producers and over 2,500 other people in 12 Eastern and Southern states, including USDA agency staff and educators. These workshops included both energy efficiency and renewable energy measures. Partner organizations have included the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, New England Small Farm Institute, and Piedmont Biofuels. This project has been funded by the USDA Risk Management Agency.

MontanaGreenPower Website

The MontanaGreenPower Internet site focuses on renewable energy resources and provides comprehensive coverage of renewable energy-generation issues in Montana and the region. Issues emphasized include solar PV, solar thermal, and wind. Ongoing performance of the Montana Solar Schools, Montana Agsolar, and Residential Group Purchase systems appears on the website. was developed and is maintained by NCAT, with funding from NorthWestern Energy’s Universal Systems Benefit Charge.

Home Energy Rating Service

NCAT can help developers achieve ENERGY STAR and green building certification. Please contact Dale Horton for more information. NCAT offers Home Energy Rater training and functions as a certified RESNET HERS provider.

Small Business Energy Conservation

NCAT operates the NorthWestern Energy (NWE) commercial/industrial “Business Partners” conservation program, a performance-based business electric conservation project.

Solar Retrofit Online Course

NCAT has partnered with the Pennsylvania Commission on Economic Opportunity to produce an online course about solar energy retrofit design and installations targeting weatherization providers.

Energy Star Homes in Montana

This project is aimed at increasing the number of Energy Star homes built in Montana. NCAT has become the Energy Star Builder Option Package (BOP) Provider for the state, and will recruit builders to participate in the program and also offer them technical assistance.

Helping People by championing small-scale, local, and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities, and protect natural resources.