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Director’s Update – October 27, 2022

Dear Energy Community Supporter,

Thank you for reading another installment of the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization’s (Energy Communities IWG) e-newsletter. Below, we highlighted important funding announcements, important deadlines, upcoming events and a success story out of Virginia.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for real-time updates as well.

New Funding Opportunities & Announcements

  • U.S. Department of Treasury Feedback for Energy Community Definition Due November 4. The Department of Treasury is responsible for implementing new tax incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act and is requesting comments on how those incentives should be implemented, including on how to approach the definition of “Energy Community” under the statute. Submit your comments here.

  • Appalachian Regional Commission Awards $47 Million Through POWER Initiative. The largest POWER funding package to date will support growth of food economies, entrepreneurship, workforce development, and more to create new jobs in 181 Appalachian counties. More details on the awards.
  • U.S. Department of Energy Seeks Public Input on Program to Enhance Energy Systems in Rural America. Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the $1 billion Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas program will strengthen the resilience, reliability, and availability of energy systems, helping communities unlock the public health and cost-saving benefits cleaner, more efficient energy provides. Submit your feedback here.

  • Appalachian Regional Commission Announces New Funding Opportunity for Local Development Districts (LDDs). READY LDDs, a program through READY Appalachia, will offer up to $100,000, with $2 million total available to Appalachia’s LDDs to hire additional staff and build local capacity. Apply today.

  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Launch Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Programs. These programs will help communities plan and deliver transformative projects for their communities that increase affordable transportation options, enhance economic opportunity, reduce environmental burdens, improve access and quality of life, and provide other benefits to disadvantaged communities. Learn more here.

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Invests $110 Million to Improve Health Care in Rural Communities. The grants include more than $9 million for 12 rural health care organizations to help 187,000 people living in energy communities. Read more.

  • U.S. Department of Energy Launches $32 Million Program to Advance Domestic Supply Chain for Critical Minerals. This Bipartisan Infrastructure Law program will support front-end engineering design (FEED) studies to produce rare earth elements (REEs) and other critical minerals and materials from domestic coal-based resources. Check out the Notice of Intent here.

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Awards 23 Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program Grants. Awarded through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the 23 grants total more than $600 million and are being awarded in 15 states. They will help expand high-speed internet deployment on Tribal lands. More information here.

  • U.S. Department of Energy Opens Applications for Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs Program. The $7 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding opportunity will help communities across the country benefit from clean energy investments, good-paying jobs, and improved energy security. Concept papers are due by November 7. Learn more here.

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

Events & Additional Resources

  • White House Releases Plan to Accelerate Infrastructure Fact Sheet. Check out this fact sheet for President Biden’s action plan to accelerate the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure and maximize the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s once-in-a-generation funding opportunities, which includes critical technical assistance programs. Access it here.

  • U.S. Department of Energy to Host Virtual Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas Workshop. Hosted by the Office of Clean Energy Demonstration, this virtual workshop will take place on November 1-2 and provide a detailed overview of the program and collect feedback from stakeholders. Register here.

  • Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities (BRECC) Community of Practice Initiative Virtual Launch. Join the Energy Communities IWG and the U.S. Economic Development Administration for the virtual launch of the BRECC on November 3 at 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET. Hear from federal leaders and the National Association of Counties (NACo) on how BRECC will support coal communities seeking to diversify and revitalize their economies. More information and event registration here.

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture to Host Final Rural Workforce Innovation Network (RWIN) Virtual Workshop. The final regional workshop will take place on November 17 and discuss how to locate federal grants, share tips on completing applications, and give an overview on federal grants management. Register today.

Success Story

Home to national forests, rivers, hiking trails and so much more, Giles County, VA is known as “Virginia’s Mountain Playground.” It is a popular tourist spot and area for local adventure-seekers to get their outdoor recreation fix.

However, some communities in Giles County struggle with a sense of “place” in downtown areas. Local leaders wanted to figure out a way to make the communities a more inviting space for visitors using outdoor spaces nearby.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Recreation Economy for Rural Communities Program provided the perfect opportunity to address these challenges. This program is a form of planning assistance for rural communities trying to leverage the power of the outdoor recreation economy to revitalize downtowns and diversify the local economy.

Giles County, VA was chosen as one of ten pilot programs for the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities Program. The county worked with the EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service to develop an action plan to support economic development by attracting residents and visitors to downtown Pembroke and other communities in the county.

Watch this video to learn 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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