Gov. Jim Doyle announced Thursday select Wisconsin industrial firms will receive more than $14.5 million in federal funds to increase energy efficiency and save and create jobs.

Doyle said in a statement several Wisconsin paper companies — along with mining companies and small engine producers — will receive monetary awards to make the manufacturing process more efficient.?

According to Doyle’s statement, the grants will create and retain more than 400 Wisconsin jobs and will save enough energy to power 15,000 Wisconsin homes for a year.?

“Wisconsin has a tremendous opportunity to be one of the greenest manufacturing states in the country,” Doyle said in the statement. “With this funding, … [companies] can retain their competitive edge, reduce energy costs and carbon emissions, and create good-paying jobs to support Wisconsin families.”?

According to the statement, the grants are part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The United States Department of Energy will provide the grant to the state, where the state’s Focus on Energy Program will distribute the awards to the selected Wisconsin companies.?

A statement released Thursday by New North, Inc. said Kohler, a company that makes engines and plumbing equipment, will replace 800 light fixtures with more power-conserving fixtures, and it will replace steam hot water heaters with natural gas heaters.?

The statement also said Thilmany Paper, near Green Bay, will use its share of the money for air-to-air heat exchangers, which should reduce carbon emissions by 8,600 tons per year. Renewegy, a relatively new wind turbine company based in Oshkosh, will receive $525,000 to purchase new manufacturing equipment and create 40 clean energy jobs.?

Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, chair of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, said the energy grants are positive signs for Wisconsin because they are both economically and environmentally friendly.?

“I think these grants are important,” Black said. “Wisconsin can create thousands of new jobs by encouraging energy efficiency and renewable energy. This will not only save energy but will also make Wisconsin companies more competitive in the marketplace.”

Black added the grants generally help make the manufacturing process more efficient and cost effective, and most of the companies will likely use the grants to install more efficient motors and update manufacturing processes to green standards.?

Thad Nation, executive director for Clean, Responsible Energy for Wisconsin’s Economy, said in a statement Thursday the stimulus grants are fulfilling Doyle’s expectations for a cleaner Wisconsin.?

“Improving energy efficiency is a great way to make companies more competitive and create jobs, while simultaneously protecting our environment,” Nation said in the statement. “These grants and the actions of these companies are a great step forward in implementing the goals of the governor’s Task Force on Global Warming.”

Doyle’s statement also said he is calling for energy independence by pushing the state to generate 25 percent of its electricity and transportation fuels from renewable resources by 2025.?