New Pilot Program to Support Community-Driven Pathways to Clean Energy

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm recently launched the Local Energy Action Program (Communities LEAP), an initiative designed to help environmental justice communities and communities with historical ties to fossil fuel industries take direct control of their clean energy future. The Communities LEAP pilot program provides supportive services valued at up to $16 million to help communities develop locally-driven energy plans to more effectively leverage public and private sector resources to reduce local air pollution, increase energy resilience, lower utility costs and energy burdens, and create good-paying jobs.

Register for the Communities LEAP Informational Webinar on Sept. 28, 2021, 3:30–5 p.m. ET.

Submit questions or comments to The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is accepting comments regarding this competitive technical assistance opportunity until Oct. 12, 2021.

To learn more about the pilot program, please visit the Communities LEAP webpage.

New Resource: Practices for Demonstrating Energy Savings from Commercial PACE Projects

Commercial PACE Projects

DOE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) present Practices for Demonstrating Energy Savings from Commercial PACE Projects, an issue brief for state and local governments that want to improve how they track the energy impacts and performance of a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing program. By demonstrating the energy savings benefits that C-PACE programs generate, governments will be more prepared to promote and advocate for their programs. Tracking energy impacts generates benefits such as measuring progress toward policy goals, promoting program growth, and helping to qualify eligible measures. The issue brief finds: 

  • There are a range of methods to track program outcomes depending on program and project needs.
  • Program tracking can be streamlined through close alignment with existing local policies (e.g., building benchmarking ordinances).
  • There are several tools and successful models available to help state and local governments with demonstrating energy savings from C-PACE projects.    

C-PACE programs provide a mechanism for commercial property owners to finance energy improvements and can provide a variety of both private and public benefits. State and local governments authorize C-PACE programs based on the public benefits they afford, such as economic development opportunities, greater resiliency in the built environment, and energy savings. 

Download the resource and find other DOE C-PACE resources on the C-PACE Working Group webpage.

Build Your Energy Team: New Resources for States, Local Governments, and K–12 School Districts

Recently, DOE published the new Building Your Energy Team webpage on the State and Local Solution Center website that provides resources to assist states, local governments, and K–12 schools in building their energy teams, including position description templates, national programs that support public-sector energy teams, and case studies that highlight how public-sector organizations leveraged these programs to support their energy teams.

Explore the resources on the Building Your Energy Team webpage.

New SLOPE Platform Case Study

SLOPE platform case study graph

DOE and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently published their first State and Local Planning for Energy (SLOPE) Platform Story—a case study featuring Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This narrative uses interactive data visualizations to illustrate how the city and county of Milwaukee are using SLOPE to better understand their energy use and clean energy potential.

SLOPE integrates and delivers data on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation into an easy-to-access online platform to enable data-driven state and local energy planning. Look out for another SLOPE Story featuring New Mexico coming this fall.

WINDExchange Releases Tools to Help Communities Realize Benefits of Wind Energy

WIND Energy Project

Clean energy, local jobs, increased local community tax revenues, and landowner income are just some of the many benefits wind energy projects can offer the communities in which they are located—but planning such projects can be complex. To help communities weigh potential benefits and understand siting considerations of a wind energy project, the Wind Energy Technologies Office, through the WINDExchange initiative, released two new tools—a siting guide and a web-based economic development guide.

Access and learn more about these new tools at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Blog

'Solar Futures Study' Lays Blueprint for Decarbonized Grid

On Sept. 8. 2021, DOE released the Solar Futures Study, which shows that by 2035, solar energy has the potential to power 40% of the nation’s electricity, drive deep decarbonization of the grid, and employ as many as 1.5 million people—without raising electricity prices. The findings call for massive, equitable deployment of clean energy sources, underscoring the Biden Administration's efforts to tackle the climate crisis and rapidly increase access to renewable power throughout the country. Check out the report's key findings.

Becoming ESPC-Ready: Energy Savings Performance Contracting Foundational Training

As part of the DOE and National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) Return-to-Work Initiative, NASEO and the Energy Services Coalition offer Foundations of Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) training. The training is ideal for state and local governments, and other stakeholders from universities, K–12 schools, and hospitals looking to understand the basics of ESPC. The training covers how state and local governments can facilitate investments, and how facility managers can begin the process of enhancing their facility's energy performance with ESPC.

Access a webinar recording of the ESPC Foundational Training.


Energy Data Management Guide Webinar Series

Oct. 7, 2021, 11 a.m.–12 p.m. ET

Nov. 4, 2021, 11 a.m.–12 p.m. ET

Dec. 2, 2021, 11 a.m.–12 p.m. ET

DOE is hosting a 3-part webinar series that takes you through the Energy Data Management Guide, a web-based resource that provides public-sector organizations with a seven-step approach to establish a robust and sustainable energy data management program. The webinar series will examine each of the guide's seven steps; highlight case studies, resources, and tools associated with each step; and feature public-sector speakers sharing proven energy data management practices.

Register for each part of the webinar series:

This 3-part webinar series is targeted to public-sector officials from states, local governments, and K-12 school districts who are responsible for managing energy and/or energy-using assets in their organizations.


Free eProject eXpress Training

Oct. 18, 2021, 1–2 p.m. ET

Nov. 8, 2021, 1–2 p.m. ET

DOE and LBNL recently released eProject eXpress (ePX), a streamlined tool to help state and local governments implement ESPC and reap the benefits of energy efficiency. ePX unlocks new capabilities to meet the unique data management and reporting needs of the municipal and state governments, universities and colleges, schools, and hospitals market. Using ePX can significantly reduce customers' costs and staff time associated with tracking project data and contract agreements and clearly demonstrate the success of energy efficiency programs.

DOE and LBNL are providing free, one-hour webinars each month designed to guide interested users through ePX operation so they can start using ePX to strengthen their ESPC projects and programs.

Register for an upcoming ePX training webinar:

In addition to the upcoming trainings, a recording of the July 2021 ePX launch event is now available on the Better Buildings Solution Center website.

NASEO logo

2021 NASEO Annual Meeting

Oct. 13–15, 2021

Portland, Maine

The NASEO 2021 Annual Meeting will take place in-person Oct. 13–15, 2021, in Portland, Maine. The annual meeting will focus on the theme of "America's Infrastructure: Deploying Energy Innovations for Economic Growth and Climate Action." State Energy Offices and their private sector partners are poised for action in deploying innovative clean energy solutions across America's infrastructure, including grid, buildings, transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture. In partnership with local communities, businesses, and investors, states are targeting workforce development to open opportunities for higher-paying, skilled energy jobs, expanding financing and investment programs to meet the needs of underserved communities, and supporting businesses in accelerating high-impact decarbonization initiatives in every sector of the economy.

To learn more or register please visit the NASEO Annual Meeting webpage.

State and Local Leaders in the News

Greenhouse Gas Pact Will Open Door to Weatherization for Virginia Households

The 11-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that Virginia is a member of is designed to curb the emissions from fossil fuel power plants by auctioning carbon dioxide allowances. Virginia's General Assembly recently directed roughly half of the estimated $100 million in annual auction proceeds to a range of energy efficiency programs for low-income households. Close to 1 in 5 Virginia households in need of weatherization were unable to receive it due to lack of funding to address health and safety issues. Those health and safety issues, such as structural problems like leaky roofs, must be addressed before a home can be weatherized. The RGGI funds can now be used on these long-deferred and unfunded home repairs.