The Department of Energy this week announced it will offer $50 million for community-based clean energy projects in rural areas and $26 million for projects “to demonstrate how solar, wind, storage, and other clean energy resources can support a reliable and efficient U.S. power grid.”
The $50 million for projects is being disbursed to increase energy affordability and bolster climate resilience in rural or remote areas with fewer than 10,000 people, DOE said in a Thursday news release. Projects qualify if they cost between $500,000 and $5 million, with pre-applications due July 13 and full applications due Oct. 12.
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said the program is a direct response to feedback the agency received from rural communities.
Nearly one in six Americans live in rural or remote communities and face “energy challenges” such as low population density and isolation from larger electric systems, DOE said. As a result, those communities often face higher energy costs and reduced reliability, on top of existing barriers to accessing federal funding, the agency said.
Recipients of the resilient grid funding have already been chosen, with $26 million going to eight projects at 15 sites in 13 states and Puerto Rico. A Consolidated Edison project testing transmission protection strategies in New York and Virginia received $3.5 million and a Pacific Gas and Electric project to develop an automated analysis tool to detect rapid changes in the electrical grid received $2.5 million.
These “projects will deploy innovative clean energy technologies at 15 sites across the country to build and support a resilient grid that automatically adjusts to changing demands — providing Americans everywhere peace of mind in the event of interruptions to the power grid,” DOE said in a Wednesday release.
The White House said in a Thursday release the investments are part of the Biden administration’s Investing In America agenda and help serve its goal of mitigating climate risk, decarbonizing the U.S., and lowering the cost of energy for families.