US announces $16m for community-driven clean energy plans

It has launched the Local Energy Action Programme, designed to help environmental justice communities and communities with historical ties to fossil fuel industries ‘take direct control of their clean energy future’

The Big Zero report

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $16 million (£11.8m) of funding to help communities develop locally-driven clean energy plans.

It has launched the Local Energy Action Programme (Communities LEAP), which is designed to help environmental justice communities and communities with historical ties to fossil fuel industries “take direct control of their clean energy future”.

It aims to help communities to leverage public and private sector resources to reduce local air pollution, increase energy resilience, lower utility costs and energy burdens and create well-paid jobs.

According to the DOE, in 2019, renewable energy investments in the US reached $55 billion (£39.8bn) and clean energy jobs paid 25% more than the national median wage.

Communities LEAP will assist up to 36 low income communities that are either experiencing environmental justice concerns or direct economic impacts from the shift away from historical reliance on fossil fuels.

Participating communities will develop an initial roadmap for identifying clean energy economic development pathways or accelerate progress towards existing plans for clean energy development projects.

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said: “Clean energy is a doorway to a healthier and more prosperous future but for too long those doors have been closed to many of our nation’s communities.

“President Biden charged his administration with taking bold action to tackle the climate crisis and to centre that action in equity. By providing unprecedented access to some of the nation’s top experts, DOE’s Communities LEAP initiative is supporting those who have carried the weight of powering our nation to develop their own solutions for ensuring a sustainable future – one that will benefit all Americans.”

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