DOE announces $50M in grants available for rural clean energy projects

Published on May 16, 2023 by Liz Carey

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On Friday, the U.S. Department of Energy announced it was making $50 million in new grant funding available for clean energy project in rural and remote areas across the country.

The grants, funded through the DOE’s Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program, will be managed by the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, and will support rural and remote communities as they develop sustainable energy solutions to lower energy costs, the department said.

Grants of between $500,000 to $5 million will be available to communities with fewer than 10,000 people and will support projects that address the distinct energy challenges rural and remote areas face.

“President Biden understands that for America to succeed, rural America must prosper, and he’s committed to building a clean energy economy that lifts up and benefits communities everywhere,” U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said. “Today’s announcement is a direct response to the feedback DOE heard from rural communities and underscores this Administration’s whole-of-government approach to deliver for rural and remote areas and eliminate barriers preventing access to federal funding.”

Part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the funding is part of President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda seeking to invest in the American economy from the bottom up and the middle out with a goal of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, create a manufacturing and innovation boom with good-paying jobs and building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make communities more resilient.

Applicants are required to submit a Community Benefits Plan that show how the grants’ benefits will be spread equitably. Those plans, focus on four core policy priorities – investing in America’s workforce, engaging communities and labor advancing equity, inclusion and accessibility and implementing the Justice40 Initiative.