The application period for Phase 1 is closed. Only Phase One winners can apply for Phase Two.
Phase Two Opens July 2023 and closes July 2024
- Educational Institution
- General Public
- Lending Institution
- Local Government
- Native/Tribal Entity
- Private Sector
- Public Utility Entity
- State Government
- Energy Infrastructure
Reserved for Energy
The $15 million Energizing Rural Communities Prize challenges individuals and organizations to develop partnership plans or innovative financing strategies to help rural or remote communities improve their energy systems and advance clean energy demonstration projects.
This prize is part of the $1 billion Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) Program, created by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED). The ERA Program supports projects that improve the resilience, reliability, safety, availability, and environmental performance of energy systems in rural or remote areas of the U.S. with populations of no more than 10,000 people.
Through workshops and community input, the ERA Program has found that two of the biggest barriers to improving energy systems in rural or remote areas are developing the necessary partnerships and securing financing.
The Energizing Rural Communities Prize has two tracks, both following a two-phase timeline:
- The Partner track — with a $10 million cash prize pool—will support plans to connect rural or remote communities to government funding, technical assistance, or a network of partners that can help implement clean energy demonstration projects.
- The Finance track — with a $5 million cash prize pool—will support plans to access capital or to develop community ownership models to help finance clean energy demonstration projects in rural or remote areas.
The application period for Phase 1 closed on May 24, 2023. Only Phase One winners can apply for Phase Two.
Other ERA funding opportunities include DE-FOA-0003045, titled Energy Improvement in Rural or Remote Areas, which provides $50 million in Federal funding and is designed to support small community-driven clean energy projects requiring $500,000 to $5 million in Federal funding, and DE-FOA-0002970, titled BIL: Energy Improvement in Rural or Remote Areas, which provides $5 million to $100 million in Federal funding to community- and large-scale demonstration projects that address region-specific energy challenges.