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Director’s Update – August 4, 2022

Dear Energy Community Supporter,

Thank you for your continued interest in the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (Energy Communities IWG) Director’s Updates. Read on for a reminder to submit feedback to Energy Communities IWG public comment portal, funding opportunities and deadlines, new resources from federal agencies, and a success story from Virginia. 

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

Your Input Wanted!

Time is running out to submit feedback to Energy Communities IWG’s public comment portal. Information provided will be used to help the federal working group prioritize and plan assistance to energy communities. Submit your comments at  https://energycommunities.gov/comment/.

Request for Information

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) this week released a Request for Information (RFI) on its $750 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program. This 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. The program also includes priority for minority-owned manufacturing firms. DOE is seeking input on how to design the Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant program to bolster secure, resilient clean energy supply chains, support community development, create quality union jobs, and spur economic revitalization in energy communities across the nation. RFI responses must be received no later than 5 p.m. EDT on Sept. 16, 2022. For details or to submit public comment, visit the RFI announcement.

New Funding Opportunities

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Announces Community Economic Development (CED) Program. Through its Office of Community Services, the CED program will directly support economic development, job creation and business growth in energy communities across the county. Learn more and apply here.

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Awards $1.9 Million in Coal Communities Commitment Funds to Bismarck State College. The college will use the grant to purchase equipment for hands-on training for students in various polytechnic career programs. More details here.

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Grant to Expand Manufacturing Sector in Carbondale, IL. Funded by EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment, this grant will support the reconstruction of a critical road in the Bicentennial Industrial Park, which will allow for increased traffic to accommodate expanded business in the park. More information here.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Invests $2.5 Million to Establish Business Incubator in Fairhope, AL. This Coal Communities Commitment grant will support job creation and economic opportunities in an area that has been impacted by the closure of a coal power plant. Read more here.

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Funds to Support West Virginia Small Satellite Center of Excellence (WVSSCE). This more than $900,000 grant, funded by EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment, will help develop software verification and validation testing for small satellites and create and retain 45 jobs. Read more here.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Awards $8.5 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Boost Business Growth in Kentucky. The University of Pikeville will receive a $4.4 million grant to support construction of an ag-tech research and education center and the Wayne County Fiscal Court will receive a $4.1 million grant to support construction of a natural gas line. Check out this press release for more.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Invests $2.1 Million to Boost Business Development and Job Growth in Columbus County, NC. Columbus County plans to use the Coal Communities Commitment grant for water system improvements that will support business growth and retention. It is also expected to create 110 jobs in the county. More details here.

  • U.S. Department of the Interior Releases Final Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Program Guidance. The final guidance will provide state and Tribal AML programs with overarching information concerning the interpretation, project eligibility, and priorities for use of fiscal year 2022 funds. More information here.

  • U.S. Department of Energy Issues Notice of Intent for $2.6 Billion in Funding for Carbon Capture and Transport Programs. Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Carbon Capture Demonstration Projects Program and Carbon Dioxide Transport/Front-End Engineering Design Program will help slash carbon emissions and create good-paying jobs and economic opportunity. Read more in this press release.

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

Events & Additional Resources

  • Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management Releases Interactive Diagram for Carbon Management Provisions. This diagram is an interactive online tool that highlights carbon management provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and through other DOE funding opportunities. Check it out here.

  • Appalachian Regional Commission to Host 2022 Annual Conference in Maryland on October 17-19. One Appalachia: Connection & Collaboration will highlight how the 13 Appalachian states are collaborating to bring each of ARC’s strategic investments to life. Learn more here.

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Releases Final Guidance for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). HHS provided additional resources to LIHEAP grant recipients on how to adjust the program to address extreme heat. Read the memorandum.

  • U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) Briefing Recording Now Available. If you missed the briefing with U.S. Department of Energy’s Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Kate Gordon, last month, watch the recording here.

  • Appalachia Regional Commission Launches READY Appalachia Initiative. READY Appalachia is a community capacity-building program offering flexible funding to organizations in four key economic development pillars: nonprofits, community foundations, local governments, and Local Development Districts. Learn more here.

  • U.S. Department of Energy Launches Carbon Matchmaker Tool. Carbon Matchmaker is an online information resource to connect users across the carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) supply chains. Check out the interactive map here.

Success Story

In Southwest Virginia, projects to repurpose former mine lands are abundant. This once coal-dominated area is full of potential for agriculture, renewable energy, community development and tourism. 

Virginia Energy has, and continues, to provide funding opportunities to the region to support economic development and community transition projects. Recently, grant dollars through Virginia Energy helped transform former mine lands in Lee County into harvestable farmland. The grains grown there produce a local beer, now sold internationally, and is also the focus of a partnership for college students pursuing a career in agriculture. 

The agency also helped support the construction of a distribution facility in Norton, solar energy commercialization and repurposing a former coal haul road as ATV trails to increase tourism. With more projects on the horizon, Virginia Energy is committed to revitalizing its energy communities. 

Watch this video for more on these success stories

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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