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Director’s Update – August 18, 2022

Dear Energy Community Supporter,

The Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (Energy Communities IWG) is committed to helping energy communities across the nation access much-needed federal funding opportunities to revitalize communities. Read on to learn more about key funding opportunities, upcoming deadlines, and additional resources available to energy communities.

In addition, please follow us on social media to receive real-time news and updates: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Your Input Wanted!

The deadline to submit feedback to Energy Communities IWG’s public comment portal is extended by 30 days. We are seeking input from the public on the challenges facing energy communities, measures to address those needs, and recommendations for the Federal Government to consider.

Information provided will be used to help the federal working group prioritize and plan assistance to energy communities. Submit your comments by September 8, 2022.

New Funding Opportunities

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Invests $5.4 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Elkins, West Virginia. This grant will support the construction of a 16,000-square foot building to serve as a conference and events center and workforce development facility that is expected to create 100 jobs. More on this award.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Awards Multiple Grants to Northwest Colorado Coal Country. The cities of Craig and Hayden, Colorado received American Rescue Plan grants to support economic diversification efforts in areas historically reliant on the coal industry. Learn more about both awardees.

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Announces $11 Million for Technical Assistance Centers. The grant will establish Environmental Justice Thriving Community Technical Assistance Centers across the nation to provide technical assistance, training, and capacity-building support for underserved communities. Read more here.

  • U.S. Department of Energy Seeks Public Input on Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program. The $750 million program will support small and medium-sized manufacturers to produce or recycle clean energy products or deploy cutting edge greenhouse gas emissions reduction equipment at facilities in coal communities. Learn more and submit your comments.

  • U.S. Department of the Interior Announces Availability of Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Grant. Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this $725 million funding opportunity will help energy communities address climate impacts from legacy energy infrastructure, create good-paying jobs and catalyze economic opportunities. Find out if you’re eligible here.

  • U.S. Department of Energy Announces Nearly $6 Million Available to Develop Useful Products from Coal and Coal Wastes. This new funding will support projects that develop innovate ways to repurpose coal and coal wastes into products that can be used in clean energy technologies and could create local job opportunities for power plant communities. Learn more here.

  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Seeks Input on Thriving Communities Initiative. DOT is requesting information about the specific issues and technical areas where those living and working in disadvantaged communities need more direct assistance from capacity building providers and the federal government to successfully access infrastructure funding and advance transformative transportation projects. Submit comments by August 26, 2022.

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Winners of $500 Million American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge. Projects will solve for local talent needs, expand employment opportunities and develop training programs that support local economies. Of the 32 awardees, five are located in coal communities. Read more here.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Invests $5.5 Million in Wastewater System Upgrades to Support Business and Job Growth. Davis, West Virginia plans to use the Coal Communities Commitment grant to improve wastewater infrastructure needed to service established businesses and attract new business to the region. More on this award here.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Awards Grant to Boost Entrepreneurial Growth in Marion, Illinois. Funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities Initiative, the $3 million grant will renovate a facility to house a new business incubator that will provide small business training and entrepreneurial resources. The investment is expected to create 150 jobs. Learn more here.

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Coal Communities Commitment Grant for Henderson, Kentucky. The city of Henderson plans to use the $3 million grant for construction of a high-pressure natural gas line needed to support manufacturing growth, which will promote job creation in the region. Read more here.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Awards Grant to Support Workforce Development and Tourism in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The $2.5 million Coal Communities Commitment grant will provide space to expand workforce development and education in the metalworks industry and increase heritage tourism opportunities in the region. Read more about this award.

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.5 Million to Support Manufacturing Business in Ottawa, Illinois. The city of Ottawa will use the Coal Communities Commitment grant to make infrastructure upgrades to service current and future manufacturing businesses, helping diversify the economy and create nearly 600 much-needed jobs. More on this award.

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Awards Assistance to Coal Communities Initiative Grant to Pineville, West Virginia. The $3.9 million grant will be used to construct three buildings needed to support carbon products manufacturing and diversify the local economy. Learn more here.

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

Events & Additional Resources

  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to Host Webinar on $750 Million Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program Request for Information (RFI). Join DOE on August 16, 2022, from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. for more information on the RFI. This Bipartisan Infrastructure Law program will enable small and medium-sized manufacturers to produce or recycle clean energy products or deploy cutting edge greenhouse gas emissions reduction equipment in response to coal mine and power plant closures. Register here.

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Community Economic Development Presentation Available. For information on the Community Economic Development Focus on Energy Communities program, eligibility requirements, application criteria, and application submission and review process, check out this presentation.

  • White House Releases Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) State Fact Sheets. Each fact sheet provides detailed information about announced funding and projects in each state, along with anticipated funding by category over the next five years. Check out the BIL’s impact in your state.

Success Story

In the southwestern corner of Virginia, St. Paul, a former coal and railroad community, is shifting its economy toward outdoor recreation and tourism. A cornerstone of this effort is the Clinch River.  

The Clinch River is one of North America’s most biodiverse rivers, running past downtown and offering countless outdoor recreation opportunities. For decades, community leader Kathy Stewart and other St. Paul residents have educated and involved community members on river upkeep and care. The Clinch River Valley Institute and Wetlands Estonoa are two educational programs that encourage residents to engage in service-based learning about the river.

After exploring and learning about the river, visitors can choose from an array of activities in St. Paul –  many of which were built with the help of Appalachian Regional Commission funding. From Spearhead Trails for ATVs to outdoor business Clinch Life Outfitters, to the revitalized Western Front Hotel, St. Paul leverages its outdoor assets to attract tourism and grow the economy.

Check out the full story here.

On behalf of all IWG member agencies, thank you for your continued interest in programs that support people living and working in America’s energy communities. Please feel free to share this newsletter with others in your network who may benefit.

Best regards,

Brian J. Anderson, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization
Director, National Energy Technology Laboratory
U.S. Department of Energy

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