Community Benefits Plan Overview

Loan Programs Office (LPO) investments help advance the Department of Energy’s goal of achieving carbon pollution‐free electricity by 2035 and delivering an equitable, clean energy future, putting the United States on a path to achieve net‐zero emissions, economy‐wide, no later than 2050 to the benefit of all Americans. LPO utilizes Community Benefits Plans to show how projects support an equitable clean energy future. In a Community Benefits Plan, an applicant should discuss how they are engaging and will engage with Tribal governments, the neighboring communities, and stakeholders affected by the proposed project.

LPO supports applicants to ensure their project planning and applications, including Community Benefits Plans, sufficiently address the four key pillars of community jobs and justice that LPO considers when evaluating applications. LPO considers how projects:

  1. Support meaningful community and labor engagement
  2. Invest in America’s workforce
  3. Advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the workplace
  4. Contribute to the Justice40 Initiative’s goal that 40% of the overall benefits of clean energy investment flow to disadvantaged communities

Community Benefits Plan requirements are flexible to allow applicants and their partners to tailor plans to the project's and community’s needs. All Community Benefits Plans must include specific, actionable, and measurable ways the applicant intends to address each of the four key elements listed above. These key principles will help ensure broadly shared prosperity in the clean energy transition for all Americans. 

LPO considers the quality of a Community Benefits Plan among the factors that indicate the prospect of loan repayment. An applicant’s early and meaningful engagement with communities and labor and thoughtful attention to equity and justice can substantially reduce or eliminate slowdowns, defuse potential opposition, and address other risks associated with project implementation.

Community Benefits Plan Requirements

Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program – Title 17 applications must include a Community Benefits Plan. Detailed instructions are available in Attachment A to the Part II Application of the Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program guidance document.

CIFIA Carbon Dioxide Transportation Infrastructure – CIFIA applications must include a Community Benefits Plan. Detailed instructions are available in Attachment C of the CIFIA Carbon Dioxide Transportation Infrastructure guidance document.

What to Expect When Working With LPO

LPO’s Community Jobs and Justice team works with applicants throughout the process to understand how the project is approaching community benefits, share resources, and answer related questions. From early in the application process, the team supports applicants in strengthening and implementing Community Benefits Plans.

Community Benefits Plan Resources

  • Community Benefits Plan Overview – Learn more about U.S. Department of Energy Community Benefits Plans with Frequently Asked Questions about the four priorities.
  • Justice40 Initiative Overview – Learn more about the Justice40 Initiative including how DOE is defining Justice40 and what is a Justice40 Covered Program.
  • Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool – Use the Climate & Economic Justice Screening Tool, including the interactive map, to help identify disadvantaged communities that will benefit from programs included in the Justice40Initiative.
  • Energy Communities – Identify census tracts where advanced energy projects may be eligible for the section of the 48C tax credit reserved for projects in Energy Communities.
  • Good Jobs Initiative – The Good Jobs Initiative, led by the U.S. Department of Labor, provides critical information to workers, employers, and government as they work to improve job quality and create access to good jobs free from discrimination and harassment for all working people. ​