The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), released a Notice of Intent, on 11/22/22, announcing $550 million to support community-based clean energy in state, Tribal, and local governments — serving more than 250 million Americans. This investment is through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program in order to support communities across the country to develop local programming and deploy clean energy technologies to cut emissions, reduce consumers’ energy costs, and help meet the administration’s goal of a net-zero economy by 2050.
The $550 million made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) represents the second time that the EECBG Program has been funded. The first time was through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. A U.S. Conference of Mayors survey of that previous EECBG funding found that 13% of grant recipients during the Obama Administration invested the majority of their funds into rebate and loan programs for both homeowners and businesses. Grants from that round of funding were used for projects such as government, residential, and commercial buildings retrofits; energy efficient street lighting upgrades; updates to building codes to encourage energy efficiency alternatives; and transportation infrastructure improvements such as bike lanes and EV charging stations. These precidents give some insight into what sorts of projects can be expected from the upcoming round of funding.
The EECBG Program will fund 50 states, five U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, 774 Tribes, and 1,878 local governments in a variety of capacity-building, planning, and infrastructure efforts to reduce carbon emissions and energy use and improve energy efficiency in the transportation, building, and other related sectors. For example, communities can use this funding to build out electric vehicle infrastructure and deploy community solar to serve areas that otherwise do not have access to electric vehicles or clean energy.
To ensure that disadvantaged communities are not left behind, the program aligns with the President’s Justice40 Initiative to help ensure that 40% of the overall benefits of clean energy investments go to underserved and overburdened communities. Applications for the EECBG Program will open in January 2023. To learn more about the program, including the list of eligible state, local and tribal governments and their formula funding allocations, visit DOE’s webpage.