WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 11, 2023) – Last week, senior Biden-Harris Administration officials announced billions of dollars in additional investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act to support fossil energy workers and spur long-term economic revitalization in energy communities.
President Biden worked with Congress to rescue the American economy, small businesses, and families from the brink in the midst of a once-in-a-generation pandemic and has overseen the strongest job recovery ever. As a result, historic investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act present energy communities with a multitude of opportunities to revitalize communities, diversify workforces, and support energy workers. The influx of funding comes on the heels of the two-year anniversary of the creation of the Interagency Working Group (Energy Communities IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization.
Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation John Podesta noted, “This legislation puts some gas in the car and now someone needs to step on the pedal to get the car going again, and that will come from the communities across the country.”
In honor of its two-year anniversary, the Energy Communities IWG released Revitalizing Energy Communities: Two-Year Report to the President, its first public report since the initial report in April 2021 to preview the Administration’s path forward to ensure the nation sustains momentum in building a clean energy future made in America and powered by American workers. The interagency working group coordinates the delivery of federal resources to revitalize local economies, clean up legacy energy assets and support energy workers in coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities.
“It’s very clear that the workers who powered the last century of industry and innovation can power the next one, and now, thanks to President Biden’s investments in America, we have the resources that can help them bring this new energy economy to life.” said U.S Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm
“Coal workers and residents in energy communities have been the backbone of the American economy for decades and they must be at the center of our nationwide economic investment,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
“This is clearly not just an administration priority but an administration passion,” said Energy Communities IWG Executive Director Dr. Brian Anderson. “Our actions are community-driven, worker-focused and place-based.”
As part of the event, senior Biden-Harris Administration officials made announcements about the latest efforts to support energy communities and reinforce the President’s commitment to invest in America to ensure no American is left behind as the nation’s transitions to a clean energy economy. The U.S. Department of Treasury released guidance on the Inflation Reduction Act energy community tax credit bonus and the U.S. Department of Energy announced funding to deploy clean energy projects on mine lands and a $16 million investment to build a first-of-a-kind critical minerals production facility. Read the White House factsheet on last week’s event here.
The event brought together federal officials; private sector executives; philanthropic and labor leaders; financial investors; and energy community representatives from the 25 priority energy communities. Energy community stakeholders participated in two robust roundtable discussions with federal officials to discuss challenges and identify solutions to support economic growth in energy communities.
Heidi Binko, Co-Founder of the Just Transition Fund commented, “This is about real people and [the Administration is] making a difference in the lives of real people in rural America.”
Peter Hille, President of the Mountain Association stated that the real work is to “…help communities recreate themselves as places people can live and choose to live. ”
Over the past two years, the Energy Communities IWG has focused on listening to energy communities and directing more investments to more communities more quickly.
- Hosted more than 25 events.
- Launched three Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) in the Four Corners, Illinois Basin and a pilot in Wyoming.
- Engaged with more than 9,000 energy community stakeholders across the nation.
In 2023, the Energy Communities IWG will continue to build strategic partnerships and connect energy community stakeholders with opportunities available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. The Energy Communities IWG will launch additional webinar series highlighting federal funding, resources and technical assistance opportunities including part-two of the “What the Inflation Reduction Act Means for Energy Communities” series.
The Energy Communities IWG will also launch a new Getting Started Guide and Navigator feature to provide technical assistance for transitioning communities. In partnership with energy community stakeholders, the Energy Communities IWG will partner with stakeholders to successfully launch new RRTs to provide dedicated federal support to assist priority communities with navigating energy and economic transitions. In May, the Energy Communities IWG will join the Appalachian Regional Commission and Rural Partners Network for federal convening designed to strategically allocate federal resources to support the launch of a RRT in Eastern Kentucky.
Established by an Executive Order during President Biden’s first week in office, the IWG is pursuing a whole-of-government approach to create good-paying union jobs, spur economic revitalization, remediate environmental degradation and support energy workers in coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities across the country. The IWG supports the Administration’s goals of a carbon emission-free electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050.