American-Made Challenge Empowers Community Coalitions to Work Towards Clean Energy Solutions

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Phase One winners of the inaugural American-Made Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize (CCEC). The CCEC Prize, in alignment with the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s family of prizes focused on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, is a multiphase competition aimed at developing partnerships between organizations within communities to address energy and sustainability challenges. The prize is intended to encourage and recognize coalitions assisting underrepresented communities—which are not seeing the benefits of current climate and energy investments—to address local energy challenges, focusing on clean, renewable solutions.

The prize’s goal is to incentivize the creation of community coalitions—made up of nonprofits, city governments, school systems, and other community organizations—to develop a strategy to address a local clean energy opportunity or inequity. Strategies can vary widely, but may include student education, workforce trainings, or implementation of new technologies that align with the goals of the White House’s Justice40 Initiative. U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm made the announcement from Salinas, Puerto Rico, one of the communities being awarded in Phase One.

"DOE funds hundreds of grants and prizes each year to support projects taking on real-world energy challenges, but the communities that stand to benefit the most are often least equipped to learn about and apply for them," said Secretary Granholm. "With our Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize, we’re encouraging and empowering coalitions to help get more underserved communities to the front of the line for funding that can unlock the benefits of clean energy solutions."

Each of the 10 teams selected today will receive $30,000. Teams will use these funds to build their proposed multiorganizational coalitions, clearly defining their community need, and ensuring their plan aligns with at least one DOE Justice40 policy priority. The winning teams are:  

  • Positive Energy Coalition, Tulsa, OK. The Positive Energy Coalition aims to use solar panel installation to decrease energy burdens for 1,000 North Tulsa homes, while also creating career opportunities and providing job training for North Tulsa residents in the sustainable energy sector.
  • Change is in the Air: Gresham Coalition, Multnomah County, OR. The Gresham Coalition will work to address key community issues directly tied to the energy transition, increase workforce development, and complete community air quality sensor installation with dashboard functionality.
  • The HBCU Community Development Action Coalition (CDAC), Denmark, SC; Orangeburg, SC; and New Orleans, LA. CDAC will deploy place-based initiatives and energy-related solutions, increasing awareness and opportunities for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with a new clean energy training program. CDAC will also decrease the community energy burden with community solar projects.
  • ReBuildATL Coalition, Atlanta, GA. ReBuildATL is empowering Westside Atlanta residents through workforce training, energy-efficient home retrofits, and installation of community solar to reduce energy burdens.
  • Missoula’s Clean Energy Workforce Coalition, Missoula, MT. A newly formed coalition anchored by Climate Smart Missoula Inc. will work for and with low-income women to create and scale up a workforce development pipeline in clean energy careers, increasing access to family-supporting opportunities.
  • Revitalize Our Communities (ROC) Clean Energy Coalition, Atlanta, GA. This newly formed coalition will increase community awareness about solar energy and sustainable agriculture. A solar-powered greenhouse will provide fresh fruit and vegetables in a community that lacks them, and the coalition will also support local youth in becoming certified solar installers in the community.
  • Green Business Council, (Multiple Communities). is expanding and scaling up their Green Business Council to deploy community-level projects in clean energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation, and workforce development across 10 underrepresented communities in the United States. The 10 communities are located in Fresno, CA; Washington, D.C.; Miami, FL; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Las Vegas, NV; Navajo County, AZ; Lumbee River, NC; Savannah, GA; and Mineral County, NV.
  • Team Philly, Philadelphia, PA. Team Philly is a coalition anchored by the Energy Coordinating Agency of Philadelphia Inc. that aims to create new—and expand upon existing—services that decrease energy burdens, create green jobs, and work toward an equitable transition to clean energy technologies through designated Neighborhood Energy Centers.
  • NOLA Clean Energy Collective, New Orleans, LA. The NOLA Clean Energy Collective is a coalition anchored by the Alliance for Affordable Energy. This coalition aims to use art to educate and equip underserved communities in the school system (K–12 and HBCU students) with tools to decrease their carbon footprint. The students will also learn about clean energy technologies and resources and the significance of transitioning to clean energy.
  • Asociación de Residentes de la Margarita Inc., Salinas, Puerto Rico. This community-based organization aims to provide at least 40% of their elderly and low-income residents with community solar for a more robust and resilient microgrid.  

These coalitions are eligible to compete for an additional $115,000 each in Phase Two by submitting a coalition implementation plan. The prize will conclude after Phase Three with a Summit Event, at which all competitors who complete Phase Two will have the opportunity to present their progress, then network with other communities and philanthropic partners. A $50,000 cash grand prize will be awarded to one final winning coalition at the Summit.

Learn more about DOE’s Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize and how to get involved.