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President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda Supports 17 Projects Across 20 States and 30 Tribal Nations and Communities, Bringing Clean Energy, High-Quality Jobs, and Energy Justice to Every Pocket of America

TEMECULA, CA — As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that rural and remote communities in Minnesota will benefit from part of a $45.3 million investment in a local clean energy project. This is part of a more than $366 million investment in 17 projects across 20 states and 30 Tribal Nations and communities to accelerate clean energy deployment in rural and remote areas across the country. This funding—made possible by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—will support a variety of community-driven energy projects in rural and remote regions, such as building microgrids for community health centers to ensure electricity for critical life-saving equipment or constructing a new hydroelectric facility on Tribal lands to improve access to reliable, affordable energy. Today’s announcement underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s deep commitment to building an inclusive and equitable clean energy future that creates safer, more resilient communities, enhances Tribal energy sovereignty, strengthens energy security, and delivers new economic opportunities in every pocket of the nation.

“President Biden firmly believes that every community should benefit from the nation’s historic transition to a clean energy future, especially those in rural and remote areas,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to the President's Investing in America agenda, DOE is helping revitalize communities across America—ensuring thriving businesses, reliable access to clean energy, and exciting new economic opportunities, now and for generations to come."

In line with President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative to advance energy and environmental justice, all 17 selected projects are located in or adjacent to disadvantaged communities that are disproportionally overburdened by pollution and historically underserved. Rural and remote communities face a unique set of energy challenges due to their smaller populations and isolation from larger electrical systems, including higher electric bills, unreliable energy supplies, and/or no access to electricity at all. For example, 21% of Navajo Nation homes and 35% of Hopi Indian Tribe homes remain unelectrified, according to a 2022 report by DOE’s Office of Indian Energy. Of the electrified homes within Tribal communities, 31% reported monthly outages. Of the nation’s 350 persistently poor counties, 300 are rural. Low-income residents consistently face an “energy burden”, or percentage of household income spent on energy bills, that is three times higher than other households.

Accelerating Clean Energy Deployment in Rural and Remote Communities

The projects announced today are part of DOE’s Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program, which is managed by the DOE Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED). The ERA program leverages DOE’s expertise in resilient energy solutions while recognizing the unique environmental, cultural, and economic landscapes of rural and remote communities. The selected projects cover a range of clean energy technologies, from solar, battery storage systems and microgrids to hydropower, heat pumps, biomass, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

At least 12 projects will support Tribal communities, such as the Navajo and Hopi Nations, who plan to install solar and battery energy storage systems to provide electricity for 300 homes. Another project expects its proposed Tribal clean energy projects to save each Taos Pueblo household in its service area $700 per year, highlighting the cost-savings benefits that come with the transition to a clean energy future.

The Minnesota project selected for award negotiation: 

Microgrids for Community Affordability, Resilience, and Energy Decarbonization (CARED) (7 communities across Anza, CA; Arivaca, AZ; Clinton, MT; Cooke City, MT; Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, MN; Decatur, TN; Cherry Lane, NC): $45,280,000 in federal cost share 

This project plans to create a consortium of rural electric cooperatives and deploy microgrids (including solar PV, battery storage systems, and distribution upgrades) in seven rural communities across the country. 

It is anticipated that these projects will create an estimated 85 full-time temporary jobs. 

The consortium plans to create strategies tailor-made for communities and share best practices with their broader utility cooperative membership of almost 900 utilities.  

Learn more about the 17 projects selected for award negotiation here.

As part of President Biden’s commitment to investing in America’s rural and remote communities, advance environmental and energy justice, and strengthen Tribal energy sovereignty, each ERA selectee is required to develop and ultimately implement a comprehensive Community Benefits Plan (CBP)—which will be informed by early and meaningful community engagements in each region. As part of the Department’s commitment to transparency, OCED will hold a series of national and regional virtual briefings to provide information on the selected projects, OCED’s approach to clean energy demonstrations, and opportunities for community engagement. Learn about ERA engagement opportunities and register to attend here.

Selection for award negotiations is not a commitment by DOE to issue an award or provide funding. Before funding is issued, DOE and the selectees will undergo a negotiation process, and DOE may cancel negotiations and rescind the selection for any reason during that time. Lead applicants also may change during the award negotiations process. If awarded, OCED will evaluate these projects through a phased approach to project management that includes “go/no-go” decision points between each project phase where DOE reviews and evaluates implementation progress, including community benefits.   

OCED manages the ERA program and will provide project management oversight for the projects announced today. The ERA program has also included additional rural and remote opportunities such as the Energizing Rural Communities Prize and ERA Fixed Grant Award Program. OCED is collecting feedback and data from previous applicants, rural communities, and stakeholders to inform the development of future funding opportunities under the ERA program.

Learn more about how OCED is supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach in addressing the climate crisis and delivering a clean and equitable energy future for every American.


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