February 3, 2022
Dear Energy Community Supporter,
As the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities enters its second year, the IWG is committed to centralizing easy access to funding sources across the federal government, increasing awareness of these opportunities, and reducing barriers to accessing those funds. Our newsletters are an important tool to keep our energy community leaders up to date on relevant opportunities, events, and resources, so you can expect to receive these communications frequently moving forward. I encourage you to share this information with others in your network who may benefit.
IWG Clearinghouse Debut Webinar
Last week, the IWG hosted the “New Clearinghouse of Federal Funding Opportunities for Energy Communities: How to Use it and What’s Available” workshop, which highlighted the features and benefits of the IWG’s new online clearinghouse for energy communities that centralizes funding opportunities across the federal government in an easy-to-access location. Currently, the clearinghouse features 66 open or planned opportunities at a value of $46 billion. Twenty-one opportunities do not require matching funds and four more opportunities are expected to open within the next 60 days.
This webinar provided step-by-step instructions on navigating the clearinghouse, including guidance on using the robust search and filter functions, and included senior officials from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), who discussed notable funding sources available on the clearinghouse.
A livestream replay and resources from the virtual workshop can be found on the IWG website.
The IWG is also planning to host a webinar focused on funding opportunities for energy communities available in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) at the end of February. Check out our “Upcoming Events” page in the coming weeks for more information.
New Funding Opportunities
- Interior Department Announces Interagency Orphaned Well Clean-Up Program. Recently, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced an interagency initiative — including the Departments of Interior, Agriculture and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission — to address legacy energy pollution by cleaning up orphaned oil and gas wells. This is a key initiative of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which allocates $4.7 billion for abandoned well site plugging, remediation, and restoration efforts. For more information, visit the DOI website.
- USDA Launches Pilot Program for Rural Communities to Implement Renewable Energy Projects. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in January announced $10 million in grants available through its new Rural Energy Pilot Program. This program is designed to help people in rural America, particularly communities that are historically underinvested and disinvested, develop renewable energy projects that will help cut down energy costs, address climate change at the local level, and create economic opportunities. Click here to learn more.
Upcoming Funding Opportunities
- Treasury Department State Small Business Credit Initiative Capital Programs Applications Due Feb. 11, 2022. The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), funded by The American Rescue Plan, will fund state, territory, and Tribal government small business credit support and investment programs, including those that support energy communities. Initial applications for SSBCI capital programs were submitted by states, territories, and Washington, D.C., on Dec. 11, 2021. Applications must be completed by Feb. 11, 2022. More information on this program can be found here.
- USDA’S ReConnect Application Workshop — 10 a.m. EST Feb. 8, 9, and 10. The USDA Rural Development Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is providing a three-day workshop on applying for ReConnect Funds. Registration is free. The workshop will provide in-depth sessions on all aspects of the Application Intake System, deep dives into each section of the ReConnect application and live demonstrations of Application System functionality. Register here.
- U.S. Department of Commerce’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Broadband Programs Public Virtual Listening Session #4; 2:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 9. This listening session will focus on the Enabling Middle Mile Infrastructure Program. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will provide a deep dive into the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program and its parameters under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). NTIA is currently finalizing the virtual platform for this event and will open registration shortly. Please continue checking back on the Broadband USA event page for the latest updates.
- U.S. Department of Commerce’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Broadband Programs Public Virtual Listening Session #5; 2:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 23. This listening session will focus on the Digital Equity Act Programs. NTIA will provide a deep dive into the Digital Equity Act Programs and its parameters under the IIJA. NTIA is currently finalizing the virtual platform for this event and will open registration shortly. Please check back on the Broadband USA event page for the latest updates.
- Appalachian Regional Commission’s 4th Annual Outdoor Economy Conference, April 4-7, 2022. The Outdoor Economy Conference connects, educates, and inspires leaders and doers working to grow the outdoor industry and craft an economy that’s intimately tied to the well-being of their places and communities. From outdoor CEOs, conservation leaders, federal agencies, local officials, state parks to local parks, economic developers to land managers — the Outdoor Economy Conference brings everyone to the table to focus on what matters. Learn more and register on the ARC website.
- A Guidebook to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The White House released a new, (465 page) BIL Guidebook to help state, local, Tribal, and territorial partners access the $1.2 trillion in historic investment. It’s designed to help communities across America know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild. The guidebook is a roadmap to the funding available under the law, as well as an explanatory document that shows, in as much detail as currently available, program-by-program information. Learn more about the BIL Guidebook at Build.gov.
- Interior Secretary Haaland Highlights BIL Investments During Pennsylvania Visit. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland traveled to Pennsylvania on Jan. 24, where she highlighted the BIL investments to address legacy energy pollution and help energy communities clean up environmental damage caused by past energy development. The BIL includes $16 billion to help address environmental concerns of legacy energy development, including $11.3 billion for abandoned mine land reclamation efforts and $4.7 billion for orphaned well site restoration projects. This trip kicked off a multi-month, multi-state tour discussing efforts to address abandoned mine lands in the Appalachian region. Read more on the DOI newsroom.
- Department of Interior Announces $1.15 Billion to Plug Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, $1.15 billion in funding is available to create jobs cleaning up abandoned oil and gas well across the country. Addressing legacy pollution is a key initiative of the BIL and this funding will help advance the goals of the IWG by spurring job creation and economic revitalization in energy communities. Check out the DOI website to read more about this important funding opportunity.
- U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $1.2 Billion for Highways in Rural Appalachia. The U.S. Department of Transportation this week announced more than $1.2 billion for the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) toward the timely completion of designated corridors in 11 states in the Appalachian region. Under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, annual funding for the ADHS will increase 146% compared to Fiscal Year 2021, providing dedicated funding to the ADHS to spur economic growth in this historically isolated region. The total amount that will be available to the states in fiscal year 2022 is $246 million. More details on the DOT website.
On behalf of all IWG member agencies, thank you for your continued interest and support of our efforts.
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