DOE Removes Cost-Share Requirements and Streamlines Application Process to Ensure Rural and Remote Communities Benefit from New Funding, Can Develop Community-Driven Energy Solutions
WASHINGTON, D.C. — As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $50 million in new grant funding made available by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for community-based energy projects located in rural and remote areas across the country. Designed to recognize and address the distinct energy challenges faced by rural communities, this funding aims to increase energy affordability and promote climate resilience in areas with fewer than 10,000 people by supporting projects with a dollar amount of $500,000 to $5 million. Today's announcement will help deliver critical energy projects tailored to benefit rural and remote communities across America and underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued commitment to ensuring no community is left behind as we build America’s clean energy future.
“President Biden understands that for America to succeed, rural America must prosper, and he’s committed to building a clean energy economy that lifts up and benefits communities everywhere,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Today’s announcement is a direct response to the feedback DOE heard from rural communities and underscores this Administration’s whole-of-government approach to deliver for rural and remote areas and eliminate barriers preventing access to federal funding.”
President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.
In the United States, the nearly one in six Americans that live in rural or remote communities are faced with unique energy challenges—such as low population density and isolation from larger electric systems—that often result in higher costs and decreased reliability. Many of the communities in need of clean, reliable, and affordable energy solutions also have difficulty accessing federal funding opportunities. To be responsive to their needs and in direct response to public feedback DOE received from individuals across the country, DOE removed the cost-share requirement and streamlined the application process for projects seeking between $500,000 and $5 million in federal funding.
This funding opportunity is managed by DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) and will support rural and remote communities as they develop and deploy sustainable energy solutions to lower energy costs, create heathier environments, and support economic development. This funding is made available through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program, which was created to improve the resilience, reliability, and affordability of energy systems in communities across the country with 10,000 or fewer people.
Applicants are required to submit Community Benefits Plans to ensure benefits spread equitably across affected communities. These plans, now included across most DOE funding opportunities, are based on a set of four core policy priorities: investing in America's workforce; engaging communities and labor; advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; and implementing the Justice40 Initiative. These key principles, when incorporated comprehensively into project proposals and executed upon, will help de-risk these projects to ensure that the transition to a clean energy economy benefits all Americans.
Read the full funding opportunity announcement for the ERA program here. The submission deadline for pre-applications is July 13, 2023, and full applications are due by October 12, 2023.
The ERA Program also supports rural and remote American communities through technical assistance, prize competitions, grants, and cooperative agreements. Learn more about the ERA Program on the OCED website.
To help Americans reduce energy costs and save money, DOE recently launched an easy-to-use online resource — the Energy Savings Hub — to connect consumers to historic tax credits, forthcoming rebates, and other savings tools that President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has made available. To learn how to access these enormous economic and health benefits, visit Energy.gov/Save.