November 2023 Director's Message

Henry McKoy

Each Thanksgiving Day growing up, as my family and I gathered around the dinner table, before we could begin eating, my mother would stop us. My mother would insist (read: force) each person in the room to take a moment to share what they were thankful for. As a child, and even as a teenager and young adult, I disliked this annual ritual. I come from a large family, which meant this activity would significantly delay the start of the meal. More truthfully, there was a certain amount of anxiety with having to share that "one" thing that you were most thankful for from the previous year – even among family. 

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Blog Post: Meet DOE in St. Louis!

Marjorie F. Harris, Assistant Director of External Affairs

A mural on one of the walls at Delmar Divine, a collaborative space that maximizes the financial and human capital of St. Louis, Missouri's, social initiatives and institutions, displays the axiom "Even in the darkest of nights there is hope." The space has been a catalyst in the city's West End, supporting the work of innovative social service agencies, such as the Cabanne District Community Development Corporation (CDCDC), which invited SCEP to join them for their program, "Equitable Energy Access: Intro to the Justice 40 Initiative." 

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News

SCEP Celebrates the 2-Year Anniversary of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

A woman standing in front of a podium with the American flag and produce displayed behind her.

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP) celebrates two years since the signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). This historic investment in our nation's infrastructure, communities, and competitiveness, has allowed SCEP to take its service to the nation to higher heights, making waves throughout states, Native American tribes, local governments, nonprofits, schools, and other impactful community-serving organizations to provide funds and support equitable and just clean energy action powered by the people in those communities.

SCEP's mission to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies, catalyze local economic development and create jobs, reduce energy costs, and avoid pollution through place-based strategies is undergirded by the signing of the BIL. SCEP's programs also contribute to the Biden-Harris Administration's Investing in America agenda and focuses on providing good-paying jobs and spurring economic growth across the country.

Because of the BIL, SCEP's programs extend access to clean energy resources to disadvantaged, underserved, and energy-burdened communities, boosting the health of ALL communities and increasing efforts to achieve environmental justice. 

Apply By December 14 to Be a Part of the Second Cohort of Communities LEAP

Communities LEAP logo

Communities Local Energy Action Program (Communities LEAP) is a technical assistance program that facilitates community-wide economic empowerment through clean energy. This opportunity will support 24–32 low-income, energy-burdened communities that are also either disadvantaged or experiencing direct economic impacts from a shift away from fossil fuels. With technical assistance from Communities LEAP, communities that have been left behind for far too long can not only reap the many benefits of clean energy adoption but have a seat at the table to envision what their clean energy future looks like. At the end of the 12–18-month project period, communities will receive an action plan that prepares them to take further steps towards realizing their goals.

The deadline to apply to the second round of Communities LEAP closes December 14.

Opportunities to Work with the Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers

A map indicating the many locations of the Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers

DOE has partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (TCTACs) to remove barriers and improve accessibility for communities with environmental justice concerns. Several TCTACs are hiring staff and consultants to build up their capacity to serve communities:

The National Indian Health Board is hiring the following positions on a rolling basis:   

The International City/County Management Association is seeking technical assistance consultants to support their work with TCTACS. The Association is seeking qualified consultants to support technical assistance (TA) provided to communities as part of a new program to provide and support established TA and training for local and tribal government officials as well as local community partners. 

Reinvigorated Arctic Ambassadors Program for Alaska that is Led and Supported by DOE Offices

Arctic Energy Ambassadors Logo (no outline)

Originally conceived in 2014 under the DOE Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, the Arctic Energy Office (AE) has reinvigorated the Arctic Energy Ambassadors program to include all Alaska stakeholders and develop an AE-led network of energy leaders to help move the state towards sustainable and impactful projects that could be supported by DOE programs or other funding sources such as other federal agencies, the State of Alaska, or private sector partners.

While the deadline to be an ambassador has passed, it is exciting to know that the program will develop regional, place-based, and collaborative energy leadership in Alaska, along with resources and knowledge-sharing partnerships in alignment with the DOE's Arctic Strategy and the clean energy transition.

The Arctic Energy Ambassadors program is led by the Arctic Energy Office, in partnership with the Denali CommissionAlaska Municipal League, and with additional funding from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Office of State and Community Energy Programs.

Setting the Stage for Over $40 Million Dollars in Grants, DOE Releases Notice of Intent for Energy Auditor Training

A woman holding a stack of papers and speaking to another woman.

SCEP has recently released a Notice of Intent (NOI) for the upcoming Energy Auditor Training (EAT) Program Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). EAT will provide grants for states to support the training of energy auditors by paying the costs associated with energy auditor trainings and certifications, for the purpose of conducting energy audits, or surveys, of commercial and residential buildings. States can use this program to engage new workers or upskill existing professionals for important work in the clean energy field.

DOE intends that investments made through this competitive FOA will enhance the broader government-wide approach to support sustainable, clean energy auditing efforts in commercial and residential buildings. DOE will accomplish this by deepening partnerships and collaborative initiatives across, and among states, agencies, organizations, and DOE.

DOE expects to release the official FOA in December 2023. The FOA will include program guidance and application instructions. Additional information can be found on the program webpage and in the NOI.

Invest in Workforce Development by Replying to EERE's Request for Information on the Clean Energy Careers for All Program

A person wearing a utility jacket, safety goggles, and a hard hat holding a clipboard and smiling at the camera.

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) seeks to understand the most effective ways to engage individuals from groups that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) especially in ways that promote interest in careers that support the nation's clean energy transition. This Request for Information (RFI) seeks public input to inform EERE about its efforts to address the need for a diverse American energy workforce by leveraging organizations that are uniquely qualified to reach underrepresented communities.

Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to CECFA@ee.doe.gov no later than 5 p.m. ET on Friday, January 26, 2024.

$40 Million Invested to Expand Clean Energy Workforce Training and Enhance U.S. Building and Manufacturing Efficiency

Map of the United States identifying the locations of the industrial assessment centers, and building training and assessment centers selected for the funding opportunity.

As part of the President's Investing in America agenda and in conjunction with National Apprenticeship Week , DOE announced the selection of 17 new Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) and the inaugural cohort of 10 Building Training and Assessment Centers (BTAC).

Selectees are expected to receive a combined $40.8 million, made possible by President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to expand training opportunities for in-demand, high-quality jobs while identifying opportunities for organizations to save energy, improve productivity, and reduce waste. Selectees will also work with hundreds of industrial facilities and buildings across more than 25 states and territories, expanding the existing network to 54 IACs and 10 BTACs.

Aligned with the Biden-Harris Administration's Justice40 commitment, over 75% of these awards will go to organizations that serve disadvantaged communities, help reduce energy burdens, and increase access to high-quality, good-paying jobs for Americans facing barriers to employment.

DOE Releases Guidelines for Tribes to Help Them Apply for Over $225 Million in Rebates for Home Electrification and Appliances

Three workers wearing safety vests and hard hats standing up a large door to a building.

DOE has released application guidelines for Tribal governments to apply for $225 million in funding under the Inflation Reduction Act's Home Electrification and Appliance Rebate (HEAR) program. HEAR funds will provide rebates to low- and moderate-income households installing efficient electric technologies. HEAR offers $4.275 billion in formula grants to states and territories — in addition to the $225 million for Indian Tribes — to make home electrification upgrades more affordable. Once DOE has approved a Tribe's HEAR application, the Tribe may launch its program and begin issuing rebates. Tribal officials can review the published guidance in DOE's new Administrative and Legal Requirements Document.

This program will provide up to $14,000 per eligible household for energy efficiency and electrification home upgrades. DOE also released the final funding amounts individual Tribes will receive after DOE approves their applications, as well as an explanation of how it allocated the funds.

Renew America's Nonprofits Grant Announces 9 Prime Selectees Who Will Distribute $45 Million for Energy Improvements

Illustration of small town street with people.

DOE wants to help nonprofits do more with more, and that's why they are thrilled to announce for the $45 million Renew America's Nonprofits grant – a first-of-its-kind investment in the nonprofit sector. Funded by President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this grant will help nonprofits make high-impact energy efficiency improvements to create cleaner, healthier community spaces, while generating sustainable savings so that critical funds can be redirected toward mission-driven work.  

The Renew America's Nonprofits grant will provide $45 million in awards to nine Prime Selectees who will collaborate with nearly 40 partners to deliver energy improvements in approximately 300 facilities across 28 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is because behind salaries, energy costs are the second-highest operational expense for nonprofits, so reducing energy use can free up a meaningful percentage of funds in both the short and long-term, leading to savings that can be redirected to mission-critical work.

Read more about the selections for Renew America's Nonprofits.

19 States Receive Collectively Over $31 Million in Funding from DOE's Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants

Aerial view of a capitol building

DOE's Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program has awarded 19 state and local governments to receive more than $31 million in formula grants in this second wave of funding. Funds will be deployed to advance crucial clean energy and infrastructure upgrades in state and local governments and Puerto Rican municipios. 

The EECBG Program has $430 million in formula grant funding available to more than 2,700 states, territories, local governments, and Tribes across the country with over $377 million remaining to be awarded. The 19 grantees announced today is the second tranche of funding to be awarded from the EECBG Program. The first tranche of 16 grantees was announced in October.

For more information on the awarded states and local governments to date, see the ongoing list. Further, eligible entities can find instructions to apply on the EECBG Program Formula Application Hub.

EECBG Extends Application Deadline and Offers Technical Assistance

Aerial view of a city with a river dividing it.
  • EECBG Program Application Deadline is Extended to April 30, 2024
    The application deadline for all local governments and Tribes to apply for EECBG Program formula funding is now April 30, 2024. DOE welcomes early submissions and will review applications on a rolling basis. Eligible entities can find instructions to apply on the EECBG Program Formula Application Hub.
     
  • EECBG Program Launches Voucher Application Portal 
    SCEP's EECBG Program launched its Voucher Application Portal Monday, November 6, 2023. Eligible local and Tribal governments interested in vouchers may apply through the portal, which reduces administrative burden by providing a one-stop-shop for voucher application and processing with fewer requirements. Vouchers can be used for technical assistance and/or rebates for the purchase and installation of energy efficiency and clean energy equipment. Instructions to apply for vouchers can be found on the EECBG Program Formula Application Hub.
     
  • Technical Assistance for EECBG from NREL
    Applicants can request 10–20 hours of free support from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for help developing an Energy Efficiency & Conservation Strategy by writing to EECS_TA@nrel.gov
     
  • Apply to Host an EECBG Fellow
    EECBG-eligible local governments and Tribes may apply to host a Community Energy Fellow to support their EECBG Program projects. Applications to host a Fellow are due January 31, 2023.

National Apprenticeship Week Celebrated in Collaboration with DOE

U.S. Department of Energy's National Apprenticeship Week logo.

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is an annual celebration established by the U.S. Department of Labor and was held November 13–19, 2023. This year, DOE collaborated with the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Treasury, and other organizations to spotlight energy apprenticeship programs and their apprentices.

The event allows employers, industry associations, labor organizations, community-based organizations, workforce partners, education providers, and government leaders to host events showcasing high-quality, inclusive, in-demand career pathway opportunities through Registered Apprenticeship. DOE is highlighting occupations, credentials, and certifications within the clean energy industry.

PCNRC Rounds Out the Year with the Release of the Final Chapter in the Training Certificate Series

The Performance Contracting National Resource Center (PCNRC) is excited to announce the release of the final module of the eight-part Training Certificate Series to support the development of the performance contracting workforce.

The PCNRC Training Certificate Series provides foundational training on energy savings performance contracting (ESPC) to support the professional development of emerging and experienced professionals alike and advance successful performance contracting projects to achieve energy savings across state and local governments.

Training 8: Performance Period explains annual measurement and verification (M&V) activities and the importance of documentation to ensure a project's guaranteed savings are being met after project completion and acceptance.

The release brings users access to all 8 chapters in the series and the Comprehensive Exam. Users can earn continuing education units (CEUs) for each training taken and, after completing all training modules and the Comprehensive Exam, a certificate demonstrating their proficiency.

Finish the year strong and complete the Training Certificate Series today! Also, if you're interested in learning more about ESPCs, join DOE's new ESPC Campaign to get technical assistance on how to best leverage this tool to modernize and enhance the energy efficiency of your buildings.

DOE Releases a New Guide for Rural and Remote Areas to Do Clean Energy Projects

Collage of remote areas

DOE's Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) just released Federal Energy Funding for Rural and Remote Areas: A Guide for Communities. This new guide is for people who live or work in rural and remote areas and who are looking to plan or build clean energy projects in their communities. The guide can help you find, get ready for, and apply to federal funding and programs for clean energy.

Better Buildings Initiative Opens Applications for Better Projects and Better Practice Awards

Apply for the Better Project and Better Practice Awards

The Better Project and Better Practice Awards recognize partners for innovative and industry-leading accomplishments in implementing decarbonization, energy and water efficiency, or waste reduction projects and/or practices. The Better Project Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments at individual facilities, and the Better Practice Award recognizes the implementation of practices and procedures more broadly. Meet the 2023 award winners and learn more about these awards and the eligibility requirements.

Better Buildings Initiative partners can nominate their organization by downloading and completing the application form and emailing it to betterbuildings@ee.doe.gov. Nominations must be received no later than January 16, 2024.

Come Along for the Ride: Season Two of the Better Climate Challenge Road Show Premieres December 6

Season Two of the Better Climate Challenge (BCC) Road Show

In Season Two of the Better Climate Challenge (BCC) Road Show, DOE energy experts hit the road to see what BCC partners are doing to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. Come along for the ride as the team visits Cleveland, Ohio, to find out what the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland-Cliffs, and City of Cleveland, BCC partners, have been doing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The 2023 Sunny Awards Winners Announced for Equitable Community Solar

American Made Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar graphic

DOE crowned the winning teams of the 2023 Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar at the RE+ Midwest conference. The Sunny Awards celebrate solar portfolios and programs that increase equitable access to the meaningful benefits of community solar for subscribers and their communities. Five teams, Illinois Power Agency, Olympia Community Solar, Solar landscape LLC, Sunwealth Power Inc. and Xcel Energy Colorado, were named Grand Prize Winners, each taking home $10,000 in cash prizes for their impactful initiatives. Oregon Clean Power Cooperative was awarded a $5,000 Meaningful Benefit Award in the resilience category.

Community solar project portfolios (including one to five individual community solar installations) or programs (state-, municipal-, territory-, tribal-, or utility-run initiatives that enable, incentivize, or otherwise support the development of multiple community solar projects within a specific jurisdiction) that serve at least 50% residential customers and were energized on or after January 1, 2020, were eligible to apply for the 2023 Sunny Awards.

Cooperatives and Municipal Electric Utilities in the Southeast Advance Community Solar

A group of adults and young children at a ribbon cutting ceremony standing in front of a sign, "PWC Community Solar Farm."

With $1 million in funding from DOE's Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) awarded in 2016, the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) set out to change that. The organization studied the cost and feasibility for community solar for municipal and cooperatively-owned utilities in nine southeastern states—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia—to help open up the community solar market.

As part of the project, NCCETC developed a policy guide for each of the nine states that reviews each state's rules and laws affecting community solar.

NREL Report Highlights State, Local, and Tribal Energy Accomplishments

Illustration of a road leading into the mountains surrounded by agricultural farmlands and renewable energy technologies.

NREL and its State, Local, and Tribal Program has released its annual Accomplishments Report. The report highlights NREL's support in the development of efficient, affordable, and resilient energy systems that address the infrastructure challenges, goals, and priorities of jurisdictions at every level. Through training, adaptive tools, data, analysis, and direct technical assistance, NREL enables communities to make informed and equitable clean energy decisions and plans.

"NREL's State, Local, and Tribal Program is much more than site-specific technical assistance–it encompasses the holistic nature of systems thinking," said Sherry Stout, the laboratory program manager for the State, Local, and Tribal Program. "This can include workforce development, utilities and technology integration, the complexities of social science and energy justice, and addressing local challenges."

Explore the State, Local, and Tribal Program Fiscal Year 2023 Accomplishments Report.