The administration of Biden and Harris, working via the U.S. Request for Information (RFI) issued by the Department of Energy requesting public opinion on a new $1 billion initiative to boost energy production in rural or isolated regions throughout the nation. The Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) programme will strengthen the resilience, reliability, and availability of energy systems in rural and remote areas. This will help communities unlock the public health and cost-saving benefits that cleaner, more efficient energy provides. The programme is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which was signed into law by President Biden. The sustained dedication of the Biden-Harris Administration to ensuring that no communities are left behind in the historic transition to a future powered by renewable energy is reflected in the creation of the new initiative.
“In order for the United States to thrive, rural America has to be successful,” stated U.S. “Thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Department of Energy is making essential investments in energy infrastructure that strengthens the foundation of rural communities throughout the United States,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
A little less than one in six people in the United States call a distant or rural town home. These villages have a low population density and are geographically isolated from bigger electric grids; thus, their energy prices are greater and their electrical dependability is lower. In addition, rural areas have a disproportionately large concentration of families with low and moderate incomes, which means that these households have a restricted capacity to deal with the high cost of power.
The Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations will manage the ERA programme and will be tasked with identifying and demonstrating innovative solutions to make energy systems in rural or remote communities. This will be accomplished while also supporting new economic opportunities and creating high-quality jobs.
In order to create this programme, the DOE encourages public input from a broad variety of stakeholders, including those involved in the development of energy projects, utilities, community groups, environmental justice organisations, as well as state, municipal, and Tribal governments. In order to help inform the implementation of the ERA programme, the RFI seeks input on the types of energy demonstration projects, programmatic design considerations, equity, environmental and energy justice, as well as workforce and transfer of knowledge gained through ERA demonstrations. This is done to ensure that the projects selected are scalable and replicable.
As communities and interested stakeholders prepare to respond to the RFI, the DOE will host a series of workshops, both in-person and virtually, during which participants will have the opportunity to learn more about the topic, ask questions, and discuss the types of projects that can improve their energy systems.
The DOE anticipates making an announcement in 2023 on a financing opportunity to request bids for projects. If you participate in the RFI, your eligibility to participate in any financial opportunities or other possibilities emanating from this programme will not be affected in any way.