The Public Utilities Commission recently awarded grants for energy efficiency projects to several Midcoast towns.

Waldoboro will receive a $10,000 Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant. The town will use the grant money to do an energy efficiency survey of town-owned facilities, including the town office and public works garage. As part of the grant, the town agreed to implement at least one energy saving measure.

The grant also requires the town to form a Community Energy Plan Committee. Selectmen voted Nov. 24 to create the five-member committee. Four residents have submitted applications, said Patrick Wright, the town’s planning and development director. Anyone else who is interested in serving can contact Town Manager William Post.

“My hope is that the group will get right to work,” Wright said.

Waldoboro’s goals for the grant are to decrease the use of electricity, oil and gas; cut expenses for heating, cooling and power; reduce community wide energy consumption; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and increase the number of weatherized homes and businesses. To find out where improvements can be made, the town will hire a consultant to do an energy audit to study energy consumption and heat loss. The audit will also look at alternatives to oil and gas for providing heat and electricity.

“Possible alternatives to be investigated include wood boilers, wind energy, solar energy, geo-thermal energy or some combination, their costs, payback analysis, and potential economic and environmental savings,” according to the town’s grant application.

The grant has short-term promise, but also the potential for a significant long-term impact. If Waldoboro can find good ideas to save energy, the town could apply for a much larger grant to fund the project.

Two Midcoast towns were awarded grants for those big projects.

Thomaston received a $77,273 grant for solar panels on its wastewater treatment facility, which uses a lot of electricity. The investment will save the town $2,000 a year in electricity costs for the facility, said Manager John Fancy. He said the panels will be installed in the spring — as many as it takes to cover the roof.

“This is a project we want to get right on and we hope to have it operating as soon as possible,” Fancy said.

Warren was awarded $81,349 for energy efficiency retrofits. Town Manager Grant Watmough said the grant will fund a new roof and insulation for the fire station. The town has already installed radiant heat in the building’s floor and upgraded to insulated garage doors. The town is in the process of installing energy efficient lights.

“This should put the fire station in good shape,” Watmough said.

Last year, Warren used 2,617 gallons of No. 2 oil to heat the building. The town hopes to reduce that amount by 25 percent with the new roof and insulation. The fire station was built in 1976, and the roof has never been replaced.

Rockport, Rockland and Union also received planning project grants — like Waldoboro — of approximately $10,000.