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DOE Announces Communities LEAP Pilot, $16M In Funding for Environmental Justice And Fossil Fuel Communities

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the launch of its Communities LEAP (Local Energy Action Partnerships) Pilot program, which will provide up to $16 million to support environmental justice communities and communities with historical ties to fossil fuel industries in their transition to a clean energy economy.

As part of President Biden’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm requested that DOE increase its efforts to support community clean energy transformations in the near term. The solution: the Communities LEAP Pilot. 

The Communities LEAP Pilot initiative is open to low-income and energy-burdened communities that are either experiencing environmental justice concerns or direct economic impacts from the shift away from historical reliance on fossil fuels. Two to three dozen participating communities will receive support jointly offered by five DOE offices, for 12-18 months, to develop pathways to clean energy in their communities and sustained economic prosperity. Participating communities will identify clean energy economic development pathways or accelerate progress toward existing plans for “shovel-ready” clean energy development projects.

“The Communities LEAP initiative will be life-changing for the nation’s energy communities who need support strengthening their economies as the nation transitions to clean energy,” said Brian Anderson, Ph. D., who serves as executive director of the Biden Administration’s Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization. “The Local Energy Action Partnerships program will help communities chart their paths toward economic growth and success.”

The Communities LEAP Pilot is part of the larger DOE Place-based Initiatives effort that invests in targeted project development based on a community’s specific challenges and engages community members and stakeholders as active participants in development and implementation.

The IWG is also an initiative in this effort. Established by an Executive Order in President Biden’s first week in office, the 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 as the U.S. prepares to undergo a historic energy evolution to a carbon emission-free electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050.

“I strongly encourage all eligible communities to apply for the Communities LEAP Pilot. All of us at DOE want to empower these communities to revitalize and thrive in the decades to come,” said Anderson.

To access the eligibility criteria and applications for the Communities LEAP Pilot, visit: https://www.energy.gov/communitiesLEAP/communities-leap-register-and-apply

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