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Director’s Update – September 7, 2022

Dear Energy Community Supporter,

The last few weeks have been busy for the Biden-Harris Administration and federal agencies with the announcement of several investments in energy communities. From the enaction of the Inflation Reduction Act, to the establishment of an Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (Energy Communities IWG) Rapid Response Team and more, the Administration has committed numerous resources to assist energy communities in revitalizing their economies. This newsletter highlights information on those programs, resources and events available to energy communities.

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

The IWG Announces Four Corners Rapid Response Team

The Energy Communities IWG recently announced the creation of a new Four Corners Rapid Response Team (RRT), bringing together 11 federal agencies and their regional staff to partner with local officials and community leaders in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah as they navigate the region’s energy transitions and transformations.

The announcement followed a visit by federal leadership to the Farmington/San Juan County region, focused on prioritizing federal and private investments in energy communities across the Four Corners. The one-day trip featured tours of the Chuza oil and gas wells and the San Juan Solar project near the San Juan Generating Station, as well as a private roundtable discussion to address challenges facing energy communities and identify opportunities to support energy and economic transition in the Four Corners region. At this event, the U.S. Department of the Interior also announced $560 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to reclaim abandoned oil and gas wells across the country.

The Four Corners RRT will be led by Los Alamos National Laboratory, and will include support from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Interior, Labor, Transportation, Health and Human Services, and Treasury, along with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Economic Development Administration (EDA).

For more information on the new RRT, read this news blog.

Your Input Wanted!

There are only a few days remaining to submit feedback to Energy Communities IWG’s public comment portal. All information received will be used to help prioritize and plan assistance to our nation’s energy communities. Submit your comments by September 8, 2022.

President Biden Signs Inflation Reduction Act

Last month, President Biden signed into law the historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022, the single largest investment in climate and clean energy solutions in American history. The IRA will build a brighter future for rural Americans by lowering costs and invests in rural communities to expand access to affordable clean energy and energy efficient upgrades. It also invests in revitalizing economies of energy communities across the country, creating good-paying union jobs and supporting workers in coal, oil and gas, and power plant industries by:

  • Reinstating funding for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.
  • Authorizes $250 billion in loans through the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office to repurpose legacy energy infrastructure.
  • Provides a 10% bonus tax credit for wind and solar projects that are developed in places that have seen a coal mine or power plant close or have seen employment losses as a result of contractions in the fossil fuel economy.
  • Delivers tax credits for clean energy manufacturing projects that are developed in energy communities where coal mines and power plants have closed.

Learn more about how the IRA supports energy communities here.

New Funding Opportunities

  • Appalachian Regional Commission Announces $73.5 Million ARISE Funding Opportunity. The Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE) makes $73.5 million available for large-scale, multi-state projects that drive regional economic transformation. This funding will support the development of new opportunities across multiple states. Learn more and apply here.

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (EJ TCTAC) Program Application is Open. The new technical assistance centers established with this funding will provide training, assistance, and capacity building on writing grant proposals, navigating federal systems, and effectively managing grant funding. Submit your applications to the EJ TCTAC program by October 4, 2022.

  • Biden-Harris Administration Announces Recreation Economy for Rural Communities (RERC) Program. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Appalachian Regional Commission, and Northern Border Regional Commission are collaborating on this program, which will provide assistance to 25 small and rural communities to identify strategies to grow outdoor recreation economies and revitalize Main Streets. Learn more here.

  • U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Issues Final Rule Extending Abandoned Mine Land Program Through 2034. This extension provides for continued funding to states and Tribes for reclaiming hazardous abandoned mines, replacing polluted water supplies, and reducing legacy pollution in coalfield communities, and was made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. More details here.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Invests $4.3 Million to Support Job Growth in Tazewell, Virginia. Part of the Coal Communities Commitment, this grant will provide the water and sewer infrastructure capacity needed to service a new manufacturing facility, creating jobs in the coal-impacted region. This EDA press release has more.

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Awards American Rescue Plan Funds to Springfield, Missouri. The city, which is located in a region impacted by the decline in coal use, plans to use the funds for transportation infrastructure improvements to support supply chain resiliency and increase inbound and outbound cargo capacity at the local warehouse and logistics hub. Learn more about this project here.

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2 Million in Coal Communities Commitment Funds for Infrastructure Upgrades in Ironton, Ohio. The funds will be used to upgrade roadway and water infrastructure needed to attract new businesses to the city and diversify the local economy. Read more here.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Awards $1 Million Grant to Support Autonomous Technology Innovation in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The University of North Dakota plans to use this Coal Communities Commitment grant to conduct an economic impact study for the states Unmanned Aerial Systems network to help diversify the economy of a state impacted by the declining use of coal. More in this EDA press release.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Supports New Workforce Training Center in Marion, North Carolina. The Coal Communities Commitment grant will be used to establish a workforce training center for manufacturing, construction, and trail development courses and certifications. For more on this award, click here.

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $6.4 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Develop a New Business Facility in Duffield, Virginia. Funded by the EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment, this grant will provide workspace and related infrastructure for use by new and existing businesses. This project is expected to create nearly 300 jobs. Read more here.

  • U.S. Economic Development Administration Supports Small Businesses and Economic Diversification Efforts in Wayne County, Michigan. This investment, funded by EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment, will help the Downriver Community Conference create a new regional economic development manager position to oversee a community-inclusive strategic planning process to redevelop two coal plant sites and establish a new small business technical assistance program to help diversify the local economy. More details here.

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

Events & Additional Resources

  • U.S. Department of Energy to Host Listening Session on Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) Program. The IAC program has provided energy assessments and trained the next generation of energy-savvy engineers for more than forty years. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law offers a historic opportunity to expand this program to community colleges, trade schools, and union training programs. Join DOE on September 19 to learn about the new opportunities and to share your input on program design.

  • U.S. Department of Energy and Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs to Host Webinar. Funding Your Energy Future is a free virtual workshop will provide guidance on funding opportunities to support tribal communities transitioning to a cleaner and more sustainable future. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, September 7 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. In addition to providing tools and resources, this webinar will also focus on how tribal communities can position themselves to participate in the energy transition to benefit their communities, including discussions from tribes leading the way. Learn more and register here.

  • IWG to Host “Federal Resources for Environmental Remediation and Economic Development” Panel at West Virginia Brownfields Conference. Join us on Thursday, September 15 at 1:30 p.m. ET in Huntington, WV or virtually for a panel on federal funding available to the Mountain State. Get your ticket today by choosing the “Federal Resources Panel ONLY” option here.

  • Reminder to Submit Input for the U.S. Department of Energy’s 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.

  • White House Releases “How the Inflation Reduction Act Helps Rural Communities” Fact Sheet. For specific information on how the IRA supports rural communities, including energy communities, check out this fact sheet from the White House.

  • White House Publishes State Fact Sheets Highlighting Inflation Reduction Act Provisions. Each state fact sheet outlines how families can save on their utility bills, get tax credits for electric vehicles and energy-saving appliances, and access the economic opportunities of the clean energy future. Find your state’s fact sheet here.

  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hosts Clean Energy on Mine Lands Workshops. Through the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, DOE will host three workshops to provide a detailed overview of the Clean Energy Demonstration Program on Current and Former Mine Land to interested stakeholders and collect feedback on the program. Register for the workshops here.

  • U.S. Department of Energy and United States Energy Association Host Carbon Conversion and Utilization Workshops. This series of in-person and virtual workshops will solicit input and ideas on challenges and opportunities for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Carbon Conversion and Utilization Procurement grant program. Register today.

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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