Competing for DOE’s $97 Billion Loan Allocation
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has allocated $67 billion for clean energy funding following the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), with $97 billion in total available for applicants including corporations, startups, and nonprofits. To be eligible for this funding, applicants must complete a new section of the grant application called the Community Benefits Plans (CBP), a supporting documentation required for requesting funding from BIL or IRA programs. The CBP accounts for 20% of a project’s overall score and requires details on how the funds will contribute to Justice40 Initiative, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA), Good Jobs, and Workforce and Community agreements.
DOE’s $97 Billion in Clean Energy Funding: How to Apply
With the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in action, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of the Under Secretary for Infrastructure has disseminated $67 billion in clean energy funding. Multiple DOE departments offer grants for corporations, startups and nonprofits, including grid reliability and renewable energy technology manufacturing. Applicants must navigate a bureaucratic system to tap into the $97 billion in funding.
Before targeting specific grants, applicants need to complete a new section of the grant application, Community Benefits Plans (CBP), an essential requirement when requesting BIL or IRA program funds.
Stay Informed with the DOE
Signing up for DOE newsletters relevant to your interests is recommended. Each office within the Office of the Under Secretary for Infrastructure publishes specific newsletters, such as Grid Deployment, Cybersecurity, Clean Energy Demonstrations, and State and Community Energy Program. Newsletters share grant application opportunities and important timelines. Sign up here.
Newsletters also announce when you can provide feedback shaping a grant’s design before it’s launched, typically during the “Request for Information (RFI)” stage of the grant process.
Understanding Community Benefits Plans
The CBP is a new requirement for every BIL or IRA program funding application, created by DOE to ensure “shared prosperity in the clean energy transition.” It accounts for roughly 20% of a project’s overall score, influencing funding decisions. The CBP assesses how your application addresses four required sections:
The Justice40 Initiative was launched by the Biden administration to address underinvestment in disadvantaged communities. The CBP Justice40 section mandates clear demonstration of how funds will benefit specific disadvantaged communities, including a timeline and plan for tracking benefits and addressing potential negative environmental impacts.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA)
Within the DEIA section, applicants must explain how the project integrates diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility objectives. This includes partnerships with businesses serving or managed by underrepresented populations, and institutions serving job seekers facing barriers.
The “Good Jobs” section requires demonstration of plans to attract, train and retain skilled labor, including commitments to worker unionization, career advancement pathways, and superior wages and benefits.
Workforce and community agreements
Applicants must describe local stakeholder engagement plans in the workforce and community agreements section, ensuring protection for all local project workers. Local stakeholders include labor unions, tribal governments, and community-based organizations.
If your application is selected by DOE, a summary of the CBP will be publicly posted for transparency and accountability. For more details, watch this DOE-hosted webinar. Further insights into specific grant opportunities will be covered soon.
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