This page includes answers to frequently asked questions for the Communities LEAP Pilot Initiative. These will be updated as we receive questions from potential applicants and interested parties.

Application Questions

1. Where can I find an application for this initiative?

The application rules and guidance can be found on the Communities LEAP website.

Applicants will be able to apply for this opportunity through the application portal when the application period opens on October 25, 2021. Prospective applicants who have previously registered will be sent a link to the application portal.   
 

2. How do I apply?

All applicants must register prior to applying. Registration will open on October 25, 2021. By registering, you are agreeing to receive occasional email updates about this opportunity. Registered applicants are eligible to apply through the application portal, and will be emailed a link to the application portal upon successful registration.

The registration and application steps are web-based and require an internet connection to upload application documents. Application submission requirements are included in section 5 of the Opportunity Announcement.

3. How do I know if I have successfully registered?

Registrants will receive a confirmation email upon registration. Once registration is accepted, registrants will receive a link to the application portal.  

4. How do I know if I’ve successfully uploaded an application?

Registered applicants who have successfully submitted an application will receive a confirmation email. 

5. If I have a question or comment related to the application process, how do I submit a comment or question?

You may submit questions or comments to the opportunity’s email address: CommunitiesLEAPInfo@hq.doe.gov. The comment period will be open from September 15 – October 12, 2021.   

6. How will I be notified if selected or not?

Notifications of selection or non-selection will be sent via email to the email address listed as the lead organization in the application. Please note that not every member of the multi-stakeholder team will be notified of selection or non-selection. For selected communities, the email will contain instructions on next steps.  

7. When is the application deadline?

The deadline for application submission is December 17, 2021. Dates are subject to change, and relevant date changes will be posted to the opportunity website. Registrants will also receive notification of relevant changes by email. Please note that it is the sole responsibility of any interested applicant to check the Communities LEAP website for any changes to deadlines or other relevant information.  

8. What if I missed the deadline? Can I still submit my application?

To ensure fairness to all applicants, DOE will not accept late applications.  

9. How will my application be screened?

Applications will be screened for compliance with the eligibility requirements and application requirements laid out in sections 3 and 5, respectively. Applications that do not meet these requirements will not be considered. 

10. How will my application be evaluated?

Applications will be considered according to the evaluation criteria laid out in section 6 of the Opportunity Announcement. Evaluation criteria include: 1) technical merit and viability; 2) community capacity building; 3) multi-stakeholder team composition and capabilities; 4) transformative impact. Other selection factors are outlined in section 9 of the Opportunity Announcement.  

11. When will announcement of selection take place?

DOE anticipates announcing selections on March 28, 2022. Dates are subject to change. 

12. What happens after selection?

Applicants will be notified of their selection/non-selection via email. Selected applicants will be given further instructions via email.  

 Questions Related to DOE Support

13. How much money can my community expect to receive under this opportunity?

Communities will not be receiving direct financial assistance through this opportunity. Selected communities will be receiving DOE support through either the Launch track or the Accelerate Track through a provider selected from DOE’s network.  

14. What are the different topic areas that this technical assistance covers?

Communities may choose to pursue one or more pathways towards energy and economic development. Suggested pathways are as follows:

  • Renewable Energy Planning and Development 
  • Energy Efficient Buildings and Beneficial Electrification Planning and Investment 
  • Clean Transportation Planning and Investment 
  • Carbon Capture and Storage 
  • Energy Site Reclamation 
  • New or Enhanced Manufacturing 
  • Community Resilience Microgrids 

More information about each of these pathways can be found in section 2 of the Opportunity Announcement. Applicants are required to describe the technical assistance they are seeking in their application.  

15. Should I apply under the Launch Track or Accelerate Track?

The Launch Track is designed for applicants that need assistance identifying one or more areas of clean energy and economic development to pursue. Launch Track applicants will need to identify specific pathways leading to economic, environment, and other community-wide benefits.  
 
The Accelerate Track is meant for applicants that have already identified areas of clean energy and economic development to pursue. Accelerate applicants must include documentation of their existing community-wide roadmap or strategic plan towards clean energy and economic development in their application.   

16. What is the expected duration of the project period?

The project period for both the Launch Track and Accelerate Track will last for up to 18 months from the finalization of the award. 

17. My company offers an innovative clean energy technology – how can my company get involved in Communities LEAP?

DOE is not providing information or assistance to explore opportunities to partner with eligible applicants. You are encouraged to keep an eye out for other DOE funding opportunities that may be more suitable. Current Funding Opportunity Announcements from the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy are at https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/. Current Funding Opportunity Announcements from the DOE Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management and the DOE Office of Electricity are at Solicitation | netl.doe.gov

18. Can I get feedback on my draft application from the Communities LEAP team?

No – the Communities LEAP team is unable to offer advice to potential applicants about the merit of an application or applying community. For questions regarding eligibility or compliance with the submission requirements, please email communitiesleapinfo@hq.doe.gov.

19. Are you accepting letters of interest from organizations that wish to participate in the DOE’s network of TA providers?

DOE is not soliciting statements of interest or proposals from technical assistance providers for this opportunity.

Community Eligibility and Multi-Stakeholder Teams

20. How do I know if I am eligible to apply to this opportunity?

Eligibility requirements for this opportunity are laid out in section 3 of the Opportunity Announcement. Data on each of the four criteria can also be found at Datasets for DOE 2021 Communities LEAP Pilot - Submissions - EDX. While these data are provided at the census tract level, census tracts do not necessarily have the same physical boundaries as a community but were used as they provide the closest proxy based on publicly available information collected using an empirically robust method. Applying communities should describe how they meet the eligibility criteria in their application even if these data do not specifically show that they are eligible.

21. I have questions about eligibility that are specific to my community/multi-stakeholder team. Where can I find answers?

You are encouraged to reach out to the Communities LEAP team via email – communitiesleapinfo@hq.doe.gov – with eligibility questions. Please note that we cannot answer questions about the likelihood of selection or offer advice on how to improve an application.

22. Can a public entity apply as part of a multi-stakeholder team? Can it serve as the lead applicant?

Yes. The public entity can serve either as the lead applicant or as part of the multi-stakeholder team.

Background Information

23. Communities LEAP supports communities with environmental justice concerns. How does it relate to the Justice40 Initiative?

The Communities LEAP program is consistent with the President’s commitment to environmental justice and energy transition communities.  As the Justice40 Initiative continues to evolve, DOE will continue to assess the programs and investments to which Justice40 applies.