A new federal program would offer $1.5 billion in grants for clean energy microgrids under a bill introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill aims to help fund clean energy microgrids for critical infrastructure, with a focus on low-income communities and communities of color. The Energy Resilient Communities Act is designed to help combat power outages and rolling blackouts, reduce pollution, create green energy jobs and fight climate change. Last year, 546 microgrids were installed in the United States. About 86% of them were at least partly powered by fossil-fueled generators, according to the lawmakers.
Ranking clean energy microgrids
The bill would authorize $1.5 billion in annual grants for clean energy microgrids to support the critical infrastructure needed in the aftermath of an extreme weather event. It also offers $50 million for technical assistance. The legislation reserves at least $150 million of annual funding for grants supporting community-owned energy systems. State and local governments, territories, tribal agencies, utilities and non-profit organizations could apply for grants, with a priority given to environmental justice communities. Other factors that affect the ranking of planned microgrid projects include how effectively they reduce pollution and improve public health, whether they are built on previously used land, whether they support women- and minority-owned businesses and whether the proposed project will be a community-owned energy system. The grants would support up to 60% of a project’s cost. If the project is in an environmental justice commune, the grant could cover up to 90% of the cost.
Eligible critical infrastructure
Eligible critical infrastructure includes hospitals, grocery stores, community centers, public safety facilities, water systems, public or affordable housing, medical baseline customers and senior housing.
Energy Resilient Communities Act
The Energy Resilient Communities Act prioritizes energy equity and environmental justice by putting grant applications from low-income communities and communities of color at the front of the line for clean energy microgrid grants that will help combat power outages and rolling blackouts, reduce pollution, create green jobs, and fight the climate crisis.
The Energy Resilient Communities Act:
Energy Resilient Communities Act has broad support from environmental justice, climate action, and conservation groups.
Sources: https://haaland.house.gov and https://microgridknowledge.com
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