Federal Energy Technical Help for Communities

February 17, 2023

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) this year launched a new up to $50 million program to help communities across the country transition to clean energy systems that are reliable, affordable, equitable, and reflective of local priorities. The Clean Energy to Communities program (C2C) will connect local governments, electric utilities, community-based groups, and others with the innovative modeling and testing tools developed at DOE’s world-class national laboratories to transform their clean energy goals and ambitions into reality. 

C2C provides integrated technical support to communities across renewable power, grid, mobility, and buildings sectors. The program seeks to provide the type and amount of support communities require to meet their unique interests and needs in transitioning to a clean energy economy. For C2C’s in-depth partnerships, this includes funding to support program participation. 

C2C offers three levels of technical assistance:  

  • Expert match: Short-term assistance (40-60 hours) with one or more technical experts to help address near-term clean energy questions or challenges for up to 200 communities. 
  • Peer-learning cohorts: Small groups of local governments, electric utilities, or community-based organizations that meet regularly for approximately six months to learn from each other and lab experts in a collaborative environment to develop program proposals, action plans, strategies, and/or best practices on a pre-determined clean energy topic. Cohorts will include approximately 100 communities in total. 
  • In-depth technical partnerships: Multi-year partnerships that provide cross-sector modeling, analysis, and validation, paired with direct funding to help a much more competitive group (4-5) selected teams of local governments, electric utilities, and community-based organizations each their large goals and/or overcome specific challenges.  

Programs are rolling out in 2023:

Expert Match Support is open as of February 2023: Submit an Expert Match application today. Expert Match is most suitable for communities that could benefit from assistance to inform time-sensitive decisions and identify and understand the range of options for achieving clean energy goals. The Expert Match technical assistance timeframe is 40–60 hours over one to two months.

Transportation program examples :

  • How could we begin to plan for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in our community?
  • How could we set goals for EV deployment? What are some considerations to be aware of regarding equitable EV deployment? What have similar communities done?
  • How can we ensure our plan for electric vehicle supply equipment deployment will lead to equitable outcomes in terms of charging and accessibility?
  • How could we estimate upfront electric vehicle supply equipment or EV costs and air-quality impacts based on different parameters in different areas?

Peer Learning Cohorts are opening soon; sign up for the newsletter. Lab experts provide a cohort of up to 15 communities with education, case studies, analysis and modeling tools, templates, trainings and facilitated collaboration to enable accelerated clean energy progress. Example transportation projects include accelerating utility-friendly transportation decarbonization.

In-depth partnerships are longer term and grant funding has not been detailed. Sign up to newsletter to get notified.

This program is led by the U.S. DOE National Laboratories. More at: https://www.nrel.gov/state-local-tribal/clean-energy-to-communities.html