‘Clean Energy to Communities’ Program Will Connect Local Leaders with DOE’s National Laboratories to Help Communities Transition to a Clean Energy Future
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today launched a new up to $50 million program to help communities across the country transition to clean energy systems that are reliable, affordable, equitable, and reflective of local priorities. The Clean Energy to Communities program (C2C) will connect local governments, electric utilities, community-based groups, and others with the innovative modeling and testing tools developed at DOE’s world-class national laboratories to transform their clean energy goals and ambitions into reality. By helping communities reach their clean energy targets, this new program reflects President Biden’s continued commitment to ensuring that every community unlocks the public health and cost-saving benefits of a clean energy future and support President Biden’s goals to decarbonize the electric grid by 2035 and achieve a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
“With C2C, we’re helping all kinds of communities — from small rural communities to sprawling urban areas — access the tools and scientific and technological expertise they need to bring their energy systems into the 21st Century” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This exciting program will help communities make informed decisions about their own energy needs and ensure reliable and affordable clean energy is available to Americans everywhere.”
C2C provides integrated technical support to communities across renewable power, grid, mobility, and buildings sectors. The program seeks to provide the type and amount of support communities require to meet their unique interests and needs in transitioning to a clean energy economy. For C2C’s in-depth partnerships, this includes funding to support program participation.
C2C offers three levels of technical assistance:
- In-depth technical partnerships: Multi-year partnerships that provide cross-sector modeling, analysis, and validation, paired with direct funding to help four to five selected teams of local governments, electric utilities, and community-based organizations each their goals and/or overcome specific challenges.
- Peer-learning cohorts: Small groups of local governments, electric utilities, or community-based organizations that meet regularly for approximately six months to learn from each other and lab experts in a collaborative environment to develop program proposals, action plans, strategies, and/or best practices on a pre-determined clean energy topic. Cohorts will include approximately 100 communities in total.
- Expert match: Short-term assistance (40-60 hours) with one or more technical experts to help address near-term clean energy questions or challenges for up to 200 communities.
C2C is led and managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), with additional support from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It leverages expertise and capabilities from across these labs, including NREL’s Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems platform, on which local leaders can see how a virtual model of their community interacts with actual and emulated clean energy infrastructure and devices, such as wind turbines, controllers, and electric charging stations—helping to de-risk future investments. C2C is funded by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
C2C builds upon NREL’s Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study, which evaluated a wide range of scenarios to help stakeholders understand possible pathways to the city’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045, and the implications of these pathways for people who live and work in the city. The study found that meeting Los Angeles’ goal of reliable, 100% renewable electricity by 2045 is achievable and will provide significant health and climate benefits.