The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to ensuring that energy and environmental justice principles are central to its programming, policies, and activities. In this pursuit DOE recently announced nearly $170 million in new and exciting funding opportunities to support a more equitable and just clean energy future. Additionally, DOE recently announced three opportunities for public input to ensure equity and justice are integrated into new program design.
New funding opportunities to support equitable clean energy deployment
Clean Energy Deployment and Electrification for Tribal Lands & Buildings. The Office of Indian Energy announced $35 million for clean energy technology demonstrations and power unelectrified buildings.
- $20 million is available to Indian Tribes to deploy clean energy systems on tribal lands. The recording of an informational webinar held by DOE can be found here. Applications must be submitted by 5pm ET February 9, 2023. Link to the Funding Opportunity Announcement.
- $15 million is available Powering Unelectrified Tribal Buildings through the deployment of integrated energy systems or energy infrastructure. An informational webinar held by DOE can be found here. Applications must be submitted by 5pm ET February 23, 2023. Link to the Funding Opportunity Announcement.
Low-income Community Solar Fellowship. DOE launched the new Low-Income Community Solar and Energy Assistance Fellowship, which offers energy professionals the opportunity to work with state and regional organizations to make community solar subscriptions that include verified savings and consumer protections more accessible to low-income households. Applications for the 2023 cohort are due on March 6 at 5:00 p.m. ET. You can submit questions to email@example.com.
Equitable and Affordable Solutions to Electrification. The Building Technologies Office developed the American-Made Equitable and Affordable Solutions to Electrification (EAS-E) Prize, offering $2.4 million in cash prizes and technical assistance vouchers to innovators who simplify the electrification process for contractors and implementers. Phase 1 submissions are due by March 8, 2023. Link to the Funding Opportunity Announcement.
Accelerating Community Solar Investments. The American-Made Community Power Accelerator Prize is a $10 million prize competition designed to fast-track the efforts of new, emerging, and expanding solar developers and co-developers to learn, participate, and grow their operations to support multiple successful community solar projects. Funding and resources are available for developers and co-developers including tools and resources, training, free consulting, and coaching on expanding solar developers’ custom markets. Submissions must be posted or uploaded via the form online at https://www.herox.com/communitypoweraccelerator before the awards close on March 15, 2023.
Equitable Building Upgrades. The Building Technologies Office announced its Buildings Upgrade (Buildings UP) Prize offering over $22 million in cash prizes and technical assistance to multi-stakeholder teams with ideas for accelerating equitable building upgrades. Phase 1 submissions are due by July 18, 2023. Link to Funding Opportunity Announcement.
Energizing Rural Communities Prize (Pre-Registration phase). The Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations announced the $15 million Energizing Rural Communities Prize to challenge individuals and organizations to help rural or remote communities improve their energy systems. There are two project tracks. The Partner track emphasizes community partnership, while the Finance track emphasizes strategies for financing clean energy. The competition is open to individuals and organizations that may include entrepreneurs, university faculty and student groups, community organizations, tribal and local governments, financial institutions, and industry professionals. Link to Prize Announcement.
DOE announced nearly $85 million in new energy funding opportunities for schools
- Energy Champions Leading the Advancement of Sustainable Schools (CLASS). The $4.5 million Energy CLASS Prize supports local education agencies, helping establish and train energy managers to identify, plan, and implement efficiency and health upgrades in schools. Awards are available to support building institutional knowledge and personnel capacity. Phase 1 applications are due by February 28, 2023. Link to the Prize Rules.
- Renew America’s Schools! Energy Improvements at Public K-12 Facilities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is funding $80 million to make energy improvements, especially in disadvantaged school districts. Individual awards range from $500,000 to $15,000,000. Topic areas include high-impact energy efficiency and health improvements as well as innovative energy technology packages. Applications must be submitted by 5pm ET April 1, 2023. Link to Funding Opportunity Announcement.
Make Your Voices Heard!
In addition to new funding, DOE has several opportunities for communities to make their voices heard and influence the design of future programs by responding to the Requests for Information (RFIs) listed below.
Supporting Communities Hosting Transmission Lines. The Grid Deployment Office is seeking public input to help inform DOE’s implementation of a new $760 million Inflation Reduction Act provision, Grants to Facilitate the Siting of Electricity Transmission Lines. This RFI seeks input on economic development activities for affected communities, and on integrating equity, energy, and environmental justice priorities into the program design. Read the RFI here and submitted responses by email to GDOIRASection50152@hq.doe.gov by 5pm ET on February 28, 2023.
Best Practices on Home Energy Rebate Programs. The Office of State and Community Energy Programs is seeking public input on best practices for $8.8 billion in new Inflation Reduction Act funded Home Energy Rebate programs to support an equitable market for ways to improve your home’s energy performance. Read the RFI here and submit responses by email to IRAHomeRebates@hq.doe.gov or via this online form: https://forms.office.com/g/iuwKCbKpJK by March 3, 2023.
- DOE is also hosting two virtual engagement sessions at the following times:
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 7–8:30 p.m. ET
- For community-based organizations and grassroots energy and environmental justice groups.
- Please register if your organization is best fit for this session.
Thursday, Feb. 23, 1–2:30 p.m. ET
- For intermediary organizations that work with, support, or advocate for low-income households, affordable housing, and disadvantaged communities.
- Please register if your organization is best fit for this session.
Creating Place-Based Innovation Ecosystems. The Offices of Science and Technology Transitions are seeking stakeholder input about place-based innovation activities that leverage the Department’s National Laboratories and Sites to create regional innovation ecosystems. Visit Activation Energy: DOE’s National Laboratories as Catalysts of Regional Innovation by March 28, 2023 to submit comments. Do you live near a National Laboratory? Click here to find out.