$10mn US DOE Grant For Large-Scale Renewable Energy Permits

The U.S. Dept. of Energy- DOE on March 25, 2024 went on to announce almost $22 million so as to improve planning, siting, and permitting processes when it comes to large-scale renewable energy facilities. Apparently, six state-based projects will go on to receive $10 million by way of the Renewable Energy Siting through Technical Engagement and Planning – R-STEP program so as to develop as well as expand statewide initiatives that offer expertise, training, as well as technical resources to local governments as well as communities as they plan for and also evaluate large-scale renewable energy as well as energy storage projects.

DOE also went on to announce its intent to open the second round of the program with almost $12 million in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act- IRA.

Solar as well as wind energy and battery storage happen to be on the rise throughout America. In 2024, one can indeed expect these to make up a record-breaking 94% of the nation’s new electric-generating capacities, said Jennifer M. Granholm, U.S. Secretary of Energy. Often, the biggest barrier when it comes to deploying that clean generation happens to be sitting and permitting. The Biden-Harris Administration is looking to provide local leaders with resources that are needed to deploy more clean energy for their residents in a way that is customized to their exact needs.

Solar and wind power will have to provide almost 80% of U.S. electricity so as to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035, hence, removing barriers to deployment is indeed critical. A significant portion of the large-scale renewable energy as well as energy storage projects are likely to get built on private lands, where state and local authorities make the permitting decisions. Apparently, the R-STEP collaboratives will go on to evaluate requirements of their stakeholders and at the same time also develop state-specific educational materials in addition to the technical assistance programs.

Rolling out large-scale renewable energy projects in a way that is informed by meaningful community engagement can go on to unlock opportunities for community wealth-building, workforce development, elevated grid resilience, and electricity bill savings, specifically in rural or underserved communities. By way of these collaboratives, state-based entities will go on to act as trusted messengers so as to provide the capacity as well as knowledge required in case of rapid, equitable expansion as far as clean energy is concerned.

The collaboratives go on to bring together stakeholders from all sides of the energy planning process, which include state and regional agencies, developers, universities, technical experts, farmer unions, public service commissions, community organizations, tribes, and other trusted entities.

It is well to be noted that the selected collaboratives are:

• Indiana, which is led by Purdue University Extension, and the collaborative will serve as a technical resource as well as a community engagement hub in order to assist Indiana communities with renewable energy planning, evaluation, and decision-making, with the award amounting to $1.9 million.

• Iowa, is going to be led by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The collaborative is going to develop as well as disseminate educational resources when it comes to city- and county-level officials who are planning for renewable energy as well as energy storage facilities. The collaborative is going to translate materials to Spanish as well as provide facilitation services across Iowa communities. The award amount is $1.7 million.

• Michigan, led by the Michigan Dept. of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, will go on to establish a one-stop-shop when it comes to resources and experts in the field of renewable energy siting as well as offering no-cost technical assistance to Michigan communities with an award amounting to $2 million.

• Mississippi, led by the Mississippi Development Authority Energy & Natural Resources Division, this collaborative is going to develop a large-scale solar energy development playbook as well as a training course and also provide technical assistance, which would be in collaboration with Mississippi planning as well as development districts. The award amount would be $2 million.

• North Carolina as well as South Carolina, led by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, the collaborative will go on to create an online technical assistance as well as an education hub so as to respond to specific concerns as well as needs from communities, local governments, landowners, and also developers in North and South Carolina with an award amount of $2 million.

• Wisconsin, led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, the collaborative will go on to engage stakeholders as well as expand education and facilitation services to the rural communities in the state in order to achieve coordinated, equitable, inclusive, and transparent processes for renewable energy and also battery storage facilities, with an award amounting to $1 million.