The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced application deadlines for a new federal grant program that offers funding to rural communities to make investments in reliable clean energy.
The Energy Improvements in Rural and Remote Areas (ERA) Program, part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will provide $300 million for entities that build clean energy projects, increase energy affordability, and promote climate resilience.
Eligible applicants include non-profit and for-profit organizations, state, local, and tribal entities, and institutions of higher education whose projects will benefit a rural or remote area with a population of 10,000 or fewer.
Funds will be awarded in the form of cost-share grants for up to 50% of the total project cost. Examples of projects may include the installation of small-scale energy systems that operate during extreme weather events, the installation of utility-scale wind, solar, or battery storage systems, or investments in transmission development.
Applicants are required to submit a Community Benefits Plan to show how the project will support labor investments and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Concept papers for project ideas are due April 14 to the DOE. Only applicants that have submitted a concept paper will be eligible to submit the full application. The deadline to submit full applications is June 28. Application details and information on how to join the webinar can be found on the DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstration website, https://oced-exchange.energy.gov.
Lindsay Mouw is a policy associate for the Center for Rural Affairs. Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action-oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.