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US Government Earmarks $300 Million to Bring Clean Energy to Remote and Rural Communities

March 3, 2023
The initiative will direct $5 million to $100 million toward each project with a view to ensure climate resilience and boost energy affordability

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), at the behest of the Biden-Harris Administration, has set aside $300 million to help rural communities ensure climate resilience and boost energy affordability. The government is also establishing a $15 million prize to aid the deployment and development of capacity for clean energy in remote and rural areas. These two initiatives are a key part of Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program that is funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The ERA targets boosting affordability, reliability and resilience of energy systems in rural areas, across the nation, with a population of 10,000 or lesser.

Approximately 17% of Americans reside in a remote or rural community. This segment of consumers receives substandard electrical services and has to bear the brunt of abnormal electrical bills due to isolation and reduced population density. The ERA program will back novel economic prospects in such communities and resolve the problem of abnormal energy costs at the behest of the DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations.

The $300 million initiative will direct $5 to $100 million towards each project with a view to ensure climate resilience and boost energy affordability. A multi-site demonstration project will receive up to $100 million while a single-site demonstration project will receive between $5 million and $10 million.

The DOE will provide competent applicants with equal opportunity to ensure replication in remote and rural communities all over the country. The funding is bifurcated into nine regions from a geographical perspective to provide diversity from a regional point of view in terms of access to energy, consumption of energy, climate impacts and diverse weather patterns. Applicants will have to share community benefits plans for equitable impact across this segment of communities.

The $15 million Energizing Rural Communities Prize aims to tackle two of the largest impediments to enhancing energy systems in remote or rural locales – access to financing and the facilitation of required partnerships. This initiative will facilitate partnerships by bringing communities in touch with a network of partners and government funding for the installation of clean energy projects. The prize will aid selectees in creating plans towards community ownership templates and the access of financing.

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