The Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program received $1 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to improve the resilience, reliability, and affordability of energy systems in communities across the country with 10,000 or fewer people. ERA aims to fund community-driven energy projects that demonstrate new energy systems, deliver measurable benefits to customers and build clean energy knowledge and capacity throughout rural America. Learn more.

$1,000,000,000 in Funding

With $1,000,000,000 funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the ERA program strives to modernize electric generation facilities, address disproportionately high electricity costs, and support new economic opportunities in America’s rural and remote communities.

Program Announcements

The ERA Program includes three funding opportunity announcements. Read the latest updates on Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas.

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Pre-applications due
July 13, 2023
Full applications due
October 26, 2023
Expected date for DOE Selection Notifications
March 2024
Expected timeframe for Award Negotiations
Spring 2024

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Concept papers due
April 14, 2023
Full applications due
August 2, 2023
Expected date for DOE Selection Notifications
Winter 2023/2024
Expected timeframe for Award Negotiations
Spring 2024

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Phase 1 open, close & winner announcements
March - July 2023
Phase 2 open
July 2023
Phase 2 closes
July 2024
Winner announcements 
August 2024
A bald eaglelooks over St. Paul Harbor in Kodiak, Alaska with turns on the ridgeline. (Photo by Dennis Schroeder/NREL)
A bald eagle looks over St. Paul Harbor in Kodiak, Alaska with turns on the ridgeline. (Photo by Dennis Schroeder/NREL)

The ERA program provides financial investment, technical assistance, and other resources to advance clean energy demonstrations and energy solutions that are replicable and scalable. 
 
The ERA program will leverage DOE’s expertise and experience in resilient energy solutions to modernize electric generation facilities, address disproportionately high electricity costs, and support new economic opportunities in rural and remote communities. 
 
Technical assistance is available to advise applicants during the funding opportunity process through the Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas Technical Assistance and Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (TCTACs) programs. Learn more about the support provided by each in this ERA Program Technical Assistance Overview fact sheet.

Program Goals

  1. Deliver measurable benefits to energy customers in rural or remote areas by funding replicable energy projects that lower energy costs, improve energy access and resilience, and/or reduce environmental harm 

  2. Demonstrate new rural or remote energy system models using climate-resilient technologies, business structures that promote economic resilience, new financing mechanisms, and/or new community engagement best practices 

  3. Build clean energy knowledge, capacity, and self-reliance throughout rural America 

Eligible Uses

  • Overall cost-effectiveness of energy generation, transmission, or distribution systems;
  • Siting or upgrading transmission and distribution lines;
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation by rural or remote areas;
  • Providing or modernizing electric generation facilities;
  • Developing microgrids; and
  • Increasing energy efficiency.

Resources

NEW: OCED has released its Federal Energy Funding for Rural and Remote Areas: A Guide for Communities. This guide is for interested parties seeking federal funding and support for local energy projects in rural or remote communities.

The ERA fact sheet and the Technical Assistance fact sheet detail the support both programs provide. You can also access the Rural or Remote Area Geospatial Dashboard tool, which comes with a video tutorial for guidance.

OCED held three public workshops to hear directly from state, local and Tribal governments, utilities, private sector project developers, and others in rural and remote communities on the energy challenges and types of projects that can improve their energy systems as part of the development of the ERA program.

Follow the links below to view the video recordings and slides from OCED’s ERA Virtual Workshop:

OCED News 

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