09/15/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/15/2021 10:53
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today launched the Local Energy Action Program (Communities LEAP)-an initiative designed to help environmental justice communities and communities with historical ties to fossil fuel industries take direct control of their clean energy future. The Communities LEAP pilot program provides supportive services valued at up to $16 million to help communities develop locally-driven energy plans to more effectively leverage public and private sector resources to reduce local air pollution, increase energy resilience, lower utility costs and energy burdens, and create good-paying jobs.
DOE's Communities LEAP reflects the Biden-Harris Administration's goal to assist community-led transitions to a decarbonized economy, and to build a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable future.
'Clean energy is a doorway to a healthier and more prosperous future, but for too long those doors have been closed to many of our nation's communities,' said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. 'President Biden charged his administration with taking bold action to tackle the climate crisis and to center that action in equity. By providing unprecedented access to some of the nation's top experts, DOE's Communities LEAP initiative is supporting those who have carried the weight of powering our nation to develop their own solutions for ensuring a sustainable future - one that will benefit all Americans.'
The transition to a carbon-free economy lowers local air pollution and energy burdens, and is also poised to bring billions of dollars in continued investments to communities across the country while generating good-paying jobs. In 2019, renewable energy investments in the U.S. reached $55 billion and clean energy jobs paid 25% more than the national median wage - workers in the clean energy earned a median hourly wage of $23.89 compared to the national median wage of $19.14.
Communities LEAP is available to assist to up to 36 low-income communities 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. Communities participating in Communities LEAP will develop an initial roadmap for identifying clean energy economic development pathways or accelerate progress toward existing plans for clean energy development projects.
Communities LEAP participants will receive support jointly offered by five DOE offices to pursue local energy action plans that focus on one or more of the following opportunities:
The pilot will also prioritize connections to other agencies doing work to support place-based, sustainable economic development.
Participating DOE offices include the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Electricity (OE), Policy (OP), Indian Energy (IE), Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), and Economic Impact and Diversity (ED).
The initial Opportunity Announcement will be released September 15th, coinciding with the opening of the comment period. The comment period closes on October 12th. Registration opens and a final Opportunity Announcement will be issued on October 25th. Applications are due December 17th. Selections are expected to be announced in March 2022.
Learn more about this initiative, upcoming informational webinars, and how to apply.