Established by an Executive Order during President Biden’s first week in office, the Energy Communities 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.
Illinois Basin Rapid Response Team Convening
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD) Indiana hosted an event July 12 in Jasper, Indiana. The Illinois Coal Basin Rapid Response Team Regional Convening brought state and federal agencies together to discuss initiatives and resources available for helping coal-impacted communities with local governments. According to USDA RD Indiana State Director Terry Goodin, these agencies are now mobilizing community leaders in the coal basin to help improve lives in those areas. “This was a phenomenal event, and it gave us a chance to show these communities that we are there for them,” he stated.
Learn more about the Energy Communities IWG Rapid Response Teams here.
New Funding Opportunities & Announcements
- U.S. Department of Energy Announces $3.5 Million to Provide Workforce Development Opportunities in Energy Communities
The Capacity Building for Repurposing Energy Assets initiative will help local communities across the country to create a roadmap towards repurposing existing energy assets and develop a workforce necessary to help revitalize energy systems, address environmental impacts, and tackle challenges associated with retired energy assets.
- Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Awards More Than $600,000 to 25 Appalachian Nonprofits Through READY Nonprofits
ARC announced $623,996 in funding awards through READY Nonprofits, a learning track offered through READY Appalachia, a new community-capacity-building initiative. The grants will support 25 non-profit organizations from nine Appalachian states. The awards will assist these non-profits in solving critical issues and creating opportunities in their communities.
- Request for Proposal: Development of ARC’s Capacity-Building Strategy
ARC is seeking contract support to develop a strategy for long-term capacity-building in the Appalachian region for fiscal years 2025-2029. Proposals are due Sept. 30, 2023.
- Request for Proposal: ARC READY Community Foundations Training Program
ARC is seeking qualified contractors to administer the READY Community Foundations training program. The program helps Appalachian community foundation executives, staff and board members learn and improve operations, fundraising and programming skills. Proposals are due Oct. 6, 2023.
- Office of Economic Impact and Diversity’s Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit Program
The Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit Program (48(e)) provides an opportunity to create jobs, reduce costs for families and contribute to economic growth in communities that have been historically left behind. The program promotes cost-efficient clean energy investments in four categories: low-income communities, communities located on Native American land, qualified low-income residential building projects, and qualified low-income economic benefit projects. The U.S. Department of Energy will begin accepting applications in fall 2023.
- $11 Million in Research Grants Awarded to Address Energy Transitions in Underserved Communities
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $11 million in funding to 11 institutions for research to address the causes and environmental impacts of energy transitions in underserved and tribal communities.
- SCEP Notice of Availability of Tribal Allocation Formula for $225 Million Tribal Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates Program
The program’s intended formula will provide a minimum of $150,000 to every tribe that wants to administer a home electrification and appliance rebates program and allocate the remainder of funding based on local tribal housing and energy needs. Public comments on the notice are due Sept. 15, 2023.
Upcoming Funding Deadlines
The following funding opportunities and technical assistance programs have application deadlines coming up in the next four weeks and can all be found in the IWG’s online clearinghouse. To learn more about how to navigate the Energy Communities IWG Clearinghouse, click here.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Energy
- Preventing Outages and Enhancing the Resilience of the Electric Grid Formula Grants to States and Indian Tribes Applications Due Aug. 31
- Clean Energy Demonstration Program on Current and Former Mine Land Applications Due Aug. 31
- Battery Research and Development Consortium Applications Due Sept. 8
- Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) Studies for Production of Critical Minerals and Materials (CMM) from Coal-Based Resources Applications Due Sept. 11
- Operation and Planning Tools for Inverter-Based Resource Management and Availability for Future Power Systems (OPTIMA) Applications Due Sept. 14
- Underserved and Indigenous Community Microgrids (UICM) Applications Due Sept. 15
- Solar Ambassador Prize Applications Due Sept. 25
U.S. Department of the Interior
- Orphaned Well Program State Formula Grants Applications Due Aug. 31
- OSMRE Mine Drainage Technology Initiative (MDTI) Applications Due Sept. 25
U.S. Department of Transportation
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Community-Based Research for Effective Programs, Policies, and Decisions to Mitigate Cumulative Health Impacts and Environmental Health Disparities in Underserved Communities Applications Due Aug. 31
- Region 8 Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers Program (EJ TCTAC) Applications Due Sept. 11
Events & Additional Resources
- Prairie Rivers Network Webinar Series
The Prairie Rivers Network co-hosted a three-part webinar series in partnership with the University of Illinois Extension and the Just Transition Fund. The series explored state and federal opportunities focused on reinvestment in Illinois’ rural and coal communities. Part 3 of the series featured Briggs White, deputy executive director, Energy Communities IWG.
- Third Annual Appalachia Forward
The Third Annual Appalachia Forward, featuring the Energy Communities IWG, will be held on Sept. 27, 2023, at Belmont College in St. Clairsville, Ohio. This conference is meant for local elected officials and development staff. More information will be available soon.
- ARC 2023 Annual Conference
The Appalachian Regional Commission’s 2023 Annual Conference will be held Sept. 11-12 in Ashland, Kentucky. Topics of interest include expanding workforce development, growing outdoor recreation, developing entrepreneurs and building leadership and community capacity in the region. Conference registration and the waitlist are currently at capacity.
- Brushy Fork 2023 Leadership Summit
The 2023 Brushy Fork Leadership Summit, Leading Through Resilience: Imagining the Future, will be held Nov. 2-3 at Berea College. This two-day gathering will feature intensive workshop tracks, taught by regional leaders and will have prime content for non-profit development. Registration is now open.
The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs awarded funding to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe (UMUT) for its White Mesa Solar Initiative in 2021. This project aims to reduce the tribe’s dependence on outside energy sources, support tribal sovereignty and bring cost savings through tribally owned solar energy systems. The long-term goal of this project is to support the tribe’s vision of reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
The White Mesa Solar Initiative will deploy approximately 144 kilowatts of solar photovoltaic energy on seven tribal facilities on the White Mesa, Utah, portion of the UMUT homeland. The project will save an estimated $22,565 per year and $794,000 over the 30-year lifetime of the systems by capturing and utilizing solar energy to meet more than 95% of its government’s energy needs in this area of the UMUT reservation.
The UMUT tribe consists of nearly 600,000 acres in the Four Corners region across Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona where the four states meet. For more than 70 years, the tribe has relied on oil and gas business to drive its economy. While this revenue has been steadily declining, the tribe has been seeking ways to shift its focus on fossil fuels to more renewable resources and this project delivers solutions to address the revenue decline.
The project kick-started in 2022 and is expected to wrap up at the end of 2024.
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.
Brian J. Anderson, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization