Communities LEAP Provides Technical Assistance to Support Community-Driven Energy Transitions

Illustration of clean energy technology inside a lightbulb. Text on image: $18 Million Technical Assistance Opportunity to Advance Community-Driven Clean Energy Transitions.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is launching the second round of Communities LEAP (Local Energy Action Program) to support efforts in disadvantaged communities and those with historical ties to fossil fuel industries to take direct control of their clean energy future. Communities LEAP, which first launched in September 2021, is releasing guidance for eligible communities to apply for more than $18 million worth of technical assistance to develop and advance locally driven energy plans to reduce local air pollution, increase energy resilience, lower utility costs and energy burdens, and create good-paying jobs.

Communities LEAP reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal to assist community-led transitions with decarbonizing their economies and building a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable future.

“Communities LEAP has proven to be a valuable platform for DOE to support community-led energy and economic development work, particularly in those communities who have historically faced challenges participating in DOE programs,” said Dr. Henry McKoy, Director of DOE’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs. “Most importantly, Communities LEAP meets communities where they are and supports the energy technologies, investments, and strategies that work best for them.”

Communities LEAP Cohort 2 is available to assist an additional 24-32 low-income, energy-burdened communities that are either disadvantaged or experiencing direct economic impacts from the shift away from historical reliance on fossil fuels. Applicants must include at least one community-based organization and one local government or tribal entity.

Communities LEAP participants will receive support to pursue local energy action plans that focus on one or more of the following areas of interest:  

  • Clean Energy Planning and Development
  • Energy Efficient Buildings and Beneficial Electrification
  • Clean Transportation Planning and Investment
  • Carbon Capture and Storage 
  • Critical Minerals Resource Potential from Energy Wastes and By-products 
  • Community Resilience Microgrids 
  • New or Enhanced Manufacturing 
  • Advanced Nuclear Technology and Support for Existing Reactors
  • Puerto Rico Community Resilience (open only to Puerto Rico communities)

At the end of the technical assistance period, each participating community will have an action plan that prepares it to take further steps toward realizing its goals, including leveraging federal, state, and local funding or financing opportunities, participating in programs offered by philanthropic organizations, and/or partnering for private sector investment.

Over the two years since the Communities LEAP pilot launched, DOE and its partners have extended support to 24 communities to facilitate sustained community-wide economic empowerment through clean energy, improve local environmental conditions, and open the way for other benefits primarily through DOE’s clean energy deployment work. Examples of projects pursued by communities include analyzing building characteristics to inform strategies that help residents save money on energy bills, exploring resilience hubs to keep residents safe during extreme weather, building hydrogen facilities to store excess clean energy generation, and capturing local carbon pollution to improve air quality.

This technical assistance opportunity is managed by DOE’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs and offered in partnership with DOE’s Offices of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Grid Deployment, Electricity, Policy, Indian Energy, Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains, Nuclear Energy, and Economic Impact and Diversity. While this is not funding opportunity announcement, selected communities may have the opportunity to receive funds- up to $50,000 - for services rendered to help implement the technical assistance. 

The application deadline is December 14, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. ET. Selections are expected to be announced March 2024.

Learn more about this initiative, upcoming informational webinars, and how to apply.