U.S. DOE Announces $18 Million Towards Clean Energy & Economic Development in 30 Historically Disadvantaged Communities

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Building on the Successful Communities LEAP Pilot, More Localities Can Now Leverage Support to Lower Energy Bills, Develop Plans for Sustained Clean Energy and Economic Empowerment  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) yesterday announced the second cohort of communities selected as part of the Communities Local Energy Action Program (Communities LEAP), a unique technical assistance initiative designed to help disadvantaged communities and those with historical ties to fossil fuel industries take direct control of their clean energy future. The 30 selected communities will receive a total of $18 million worth of technical assistance to create tailored community-wide action plans that reduce local air pollution, increase energy resilience, lower utility costs and energy burdens, and create good paying jobs.

“Under the Biden-Harris Administration, communities that have been overburdened and underserved for far too long can now leverage the federal tools needed to bring their clean energy future to life,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Through in-depth, customized technical assistance, Communities LEAP helps give local governments, Tribes, and community-based organizations an extra boost to further their progress of actionable plans that lower costs while protecting the health and safety of all residents.”

Communities LEAP, which first launched in September 2021 as a pilot initiative, reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities to assist community-led transitions to a clean energy economy, and to build a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable future.  Communities LEAP also implements the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 commitment, which aims to ensure that federal agencies deliver at least 40% of benefits from certain investments to disadvantaged communities and advances the work of the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities, which focuses on delivering federal investments to hard-hit energy communities.

The 30 selected applicants will work with DOE and its network of technical assistance providers, as well as local coalition partners, including local and tribal governments, community-based organizations, utilities, environmental justice, economic development, and equitable investment organizations to develop roadmaps that utilize clean energy as a tool for economic development.

The second cohort of LEAP communities will pursue areas of interest including, but not limited to:

  • Clean Energy Planning and Development
  • Energy Efficient Buildings and Beneficial Electrification Planning and Investment
  • Clean Transportation Planning and Investment
  • Carbon Capture and Storage
  • Critical Minerals Resource Potential from Energy Wastes and By-products
  • Community Resilience Microgrids
  • New or Enhanced Manufacturing
  • Advanced Nuclear Technology and Support for Existing Reactors
  • Puerto Rico Community Resilience

The selected communities are:

  • Adjuntas, Jayuya, Lares, Maricao, & Utuado, Puerto Rico
  • Alabama’s Black Belt Region, AL
  • Alachua County, FL
  • Brainerd, MN
  • Carbon & Emery Counties, UT
  • Carbondale, IL
  • Detroit, Highland Park, & River Rouge, MI
  • Eastern Kentucky, KY
  • El Paso (Central El Paso), TX
  • Falls City, NE
  • Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, MN
  • Harney County, OR
  • Harris County (Northeast Houston), TX
  • Native Village of Eklutna, AK
  • Native Village of Kongiganak, AK
  • Native Village of Tyonek, AK
  • New Haven County, CT
  • Northwest Colorado, CO
  • Oakridge, OR
  • Oil City, PA
  • Orlando (Parramore Neighborhood), FL
  • Richmond, VA
  • Rosebud & Treasure Counties, MT
  • San Diego (Mount Hope), CA
  • Seattle (Beacon Hill), WA
  • Southwestern Pennsylvania, PA
  • Unincorporated Norcross, Gwinnett County, GA
  • Waynesville, NC
  • West Fresno County, CA
  • Yauco (Quebradas Neighborhood), Puerto Rico

“We are so grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration for continuing to invest in Alabama’s Black Belt,” said Representative Terri A. Sewell (AL-07). “Every community deserves clean air and good paying jobs. As we transition to a clean energy future, this program will help ensure that the people of the Black Belt are not left behind.”

“Technical Assistance is vital to develop resilient sophisticated renewable energy projects that can support the specific needs of low resourced, vulnerable communities. Yet that very same technical assistance is often out of reach for these low resourced communities,” said C. P. Smith, Executive Director at the Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de la Montaña in Puerto Rico. “We are honored to be selected for the Communities LEAP program to allow our team to leap to the next level of the energy project development process to provide cost-effective and resilient energy from renewable sources to the residents in the Cordillera Central of Puerto Rico.”

“The DOE has been outstanding in lowering the barriers to entry into clean energy for communities – like ours – that have been disproportionately energy-burdened, yet often have the most difficulty accessing resources to address those burdens,” said Marvin Lim, Executive Director of the Lucky Shoals Community Association in Norcross, GA. “We’re eager to participate in Communities LEAP to build on the work we’ve done, including through previous DOE engagement, to expand our workforce training of minority entrepreneurs/laborers, to be able to perform much-needed clean energy work right where they live.”

Communities LEAP is managed by DOE’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs and offered in partnership with DOE’s Offices of Energy Efficiency and Renewable EnergyFossil Energy and Carbon ManagementElectricityNuclear EnergyManufacturing and Energy Supply ChainsIndian EnergyPolicy, and Energy Justice and Equity.

Learn more about Communities LEAP and the selected communities announced yesterday.

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