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Director’s Update – July 14, 2022

Dear Energy Community Supporter,

The Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (Energy Communities IWG) is committed to breaking down barriers energy communities often face when searching for and accessing funds, by providing timely and relevant funding opportunities and resources. Read on for those resources and information, and follow us on social media to receive real-time news and updates: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Your Input Wanted!

Energy Communities IWG’s public comment portal is open for your feedback. Information provided will be used to help the federal working group prioritize and plan assistance to energy communities. Submit your comments by August 9, 2022 at https://energycommunities.gov/comment/.

Webinar Recap

Energy Communities IWG and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently hosted a webinar highlighting how energy communities can access EPA infrastructure dollars and receive technical assistance designed to advance local projects in their communities. The webinar, titled “U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding for Energy Communities,” focused on the two infrastructure programs relevant to energy communities: $50 billion available to improve our nation’s water infrastructure and $5.4 billion to clean up legacy pollution at former industrial and commercial sites.

The webinar recording, presentation slides and additional resources are now available on the IWG past events webpage: https://energycommunities.gov/past-event/u-s-environmental-protection-agencys-bipartisan-infrastructure-law-funding-for-energy-communities/

New Funding Opportunities

  • U.S. Department of Transportation Announces First-of-its-Kind Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program. This $1 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investment will help reconnect people to economic opportunities and essential services in their communities by replacing or improving transportation infrastructure. Learn more here.

  • U.S. Department of Energy Seeks Public Input on Clean Energy Demonstration Projects on Current and Former Mine Land. This Bipartisan Infrastructure Law program invests $500 million to support economic and community revitalization and the creation of good jobs in America’s energy communities. Read more here.

  • Biden-Harris Administration Announces $40 Million to Lower Utility Costs for American Families. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) just this month awarded more than $40 million to 21 organizations and five state agencies to help American families across the country make their homes more energy efficient and lower their utility costs. The funds from the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), bolstered by more than $3.2 billion through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help repair, electrify, and weatherize homes to save families money on their energy bills. Details here.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Invests $5.4 Million to Support Business Development in Laurens, South Carolina. This grant is funded by EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment and will be used to upgrade water infrastructure to support economic development in the area. More in this EDA press release.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Invests $3 Million in Coal Communities Commitment Funds in Orange County, Indiana. The grant will support construction of a one-million-gallon elevated water tank to expand local business growth and attract new employers. Read more in this EDA press release.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Awards $3.7 Million to Support Business Park Expansion in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. The Coal Communities Commitment grant will help the community build road, sewer and stormwater infrastructure needed to expand the local business park and is expected to create 300 jobs. Learn more here.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Awards American Rescue Plan Grant to Southern Illinois. The $5 million Coal Communities Commitment investment will support the development of the new Southern Illinois Manufacturing Academy, expanding manufacturing workforce training opportunities in the area. Read more here.

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

The following funding opportunities have application deadlines coming up in the next four weeks and can all be found in the IWG’s online clearinghouse.

Events & Additional Resources

  • U.S. Department of Energy Releases 2022 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER). This report summarizes national and state-level employment, workforce, industry, occupation, unionization, demographic, and hiring information for the energy industry. Read the report, here: https://www.energy.gov/policy/us-energy-employment-jobs-report-useer

  • U.S. Department of Treasury Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. This $350 billion American Rescue Plan program provides governments across the country with resources to maintain vital public services and build a strong and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.

  • Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) 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.

Success Story

In Northern Pennsylvania, 12 counties form an ultimate outdoor destination: the Pennsylvania Wilds. This area was historically reliant on the coal mining industry and currently faces challenges with broadband development, transportation infrastructure and economic stability. To help these communities leverage the state’s greatest concentration of public land, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) partnered with the Pennsylvania Wilds Initiative to support the Pennsylvania Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship (PA Wilds Center).

The PA Wilds Center’s mission is to integrate conservation and economic development to strengthen and inspire communities in the PA Wilds. ARC invested a $500,000 POWER grant into this mission to help develop a regional marketing strategy to grow tourism to the region. During the grant period, the annual visitor spending in the PA Wilds hit a record high of $1.8 billion and business in the area created 44 full-time jobs and 88 part-time jobs. 

Read more about this success story.

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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