Dear Energy Communities Supporters,
As the holidays draw near, and as our team reflects on the important work of the Energy Communities IWG in 2023, it can be summed up in three words: people helping people.
Our mission is to ensure people working across the federal government come together to help drive funding from the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to further benefit people in all energy communities. We partner with state and local leaders across the political spectrum, labor unions, corporations with shared interests, and philanthropic groups, as well as many others. Our work together is starting to deliver results—and the results are encouraging.
According to a recently released report from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, “It is well-established that clean investments grew meaningfully after the IRA passed. But we find that clean investments grew especially quickly in ‘Energy Communities,’ areas with a history of fossil fuel production, where clean industry potential exists but opportunity has been scarce.”
The funds flowing to energy communities mean massive investments in good jobs, workforce development, clean water, broadband, and environmental cleanup. It should be recognized, however, that there is far more work to be done to ensure nobody is left behind. For our part, here are just a few of the 2023 bright spots where the Energy Communities IWG acted to help make a difference.
In 2023, the Energy Communities IWG:
- Facilitated more than $6 billion in federal funds to energy communities across the country. That brings total dollars awarded to energy communities since 2021 to $20 billion. Funding opportunities and related resources from across the federal government can be easily browsed and accessed in one online location at gov/funding.
- Brought people together. Senior officials from the White House and across the federal government are deeply engaged in convening people to help drive much-needed federal and private-sector investments to create and retain high-quality jobs and spur long-term economic revitalization. The Energy Communities IWG held more than 15 events and workshops (both in-person in energy communities and virtually) with thousands of stakeholders to listen to their needs and offer actionable advice with tangible resources.
- Launched Rapid Response Teams (RRTs). This year, the Energy Communities IWG deployed RRTs in Eastern Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Appalachian Ohio to understand the unique needs of communities and to reduce barriers to meeting those needs. This support includes everything from identifying relevant funding opportunities to market studies, site-specific analysis, grant logistics, and more. These latest RRTs join three others in the Four Corners region, the Illinois Coal Basin, and a pilot in Wyoming. Stay tuned, as more RRTs will launch in 2024.
- Created a “Navigator” service. The Navigator service helps people navigate the complex grants process across the federal government. It features a dedicated team of experts who are easily reachable by phone and email to answer questions and connect energy community stakeholders with federal agency partners and other resources related to grant assistance, infrastructure, and workforce development.
- Published a “Getting Started Guide.” This step-by-step guide was created to help coal and oil-and-gas workers and their communities start the process of planning or responding to economic and social changes resulting from the energy transition and other major economic shifts. The guide is available for download and has been downloaded hundreds of times since its launch just two months ago.
Let’s Get Building!
We want to share a couple examples of funding that will make a big difference in energy communities.
- Just one recent example came from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). DOE announced $275 million for seven projects to strengthen clean-energy supply chains and accelerate domestic clean-energy manufacturing in seven states nationwide. These projects will bring in more than $600 million in private-sector investments to small- and medium-sized manufacturers and create nearly 1,500 high-paying jobs in new technologies.
- Another example is the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit (48C) Program, funded through the IRA. This $10 billion program aims to increase clean-energy manufacturing and related jobs and includes $4 billion specifically for communities with coal closures.
In 2024, we anticipate additional project announcements catalyzed by ongoing appropriations and BIL and IRA funding that will create jobs, contribute local tax revenue, remediate the environment, and more. These projects contribute to supporting energy workers and communities across the country.
The year 2024 is rich with opportunities to advance our collective mission of supporting America’s energy communities—and there is nothing we can’t accomplish when we work together.