DOE offers funding to support rural clean energy projects

By Erin Voegele | April 03, 2023

The U.S. Department of Energy in March opened a $300 million funding opportunity under the Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) Program, which aims to improve the resilience, reliability and affordability of energy systems in communities across the country with 10,000 or fewer people. Bioenergy projects are among those eligible to apply for the funds.

The funding opportunity includes two topic areas. The first topic area includes community-scale demonstration projects and is focused on proposals to implement clean energy projects with a federal cost share of between $5 million and $10 million using one or more clean energy technologies that advance resilience and provide other benefits to one or more rural or remote communities. The second topic area is for large-scale demonstrations and focuses on proposals to implement clean energy projects with a federal cost share of between $10 million and $100 million. These large-scale demonstration projects should benefit multiple communities. Eligible projects include bioreactors that use locally available biomass to replace fossil fuel generation.

According to the DOE, funding for the program is organized into nine geographical regions to reflect regional diversity in energy consumption and access, varying weather patterns and climate impacts.  

Concept papers for ERA program funds are due April 14, with full applications due June 28. The DOE plans to make four to eight awards under the first topic area and three to 20 awards under the second topic area. Additional information is available on the DOE website.



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