The Biden administration on Friday unveiled $20 billion in investments to support renewable energy initiatives such as the installation of electric vehicle charging stations, retrofitting energy-efficient homes, and providing communities with battery backup power.
These investments, distributed through two grant competitions, aim to address the historic underinvestment in certain communities, according to senior administration officials.
Vice President Kamala Harris highlighted the importance of the investment during her speech at Coppin State University in Baltimore, a historically Black university. Joined by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and members of Congress, she emphasized the urgency of the climate crisis and its disproportionate impact on disadvantaged communities.
“The climate crisis affects everyone, but not all communities are affected equally,” Harris stated. “Low-income communities, rural communities, indigenous communities, and communities of color are often hit the hardest and struggle the most to recover.”
The two competitions, namely the National Clean Investment Fund and the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator, will allocate $14 billion and $6 billion, respectively, for various projects. These funds are part of the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, established under last year’s Inflation Reduction Act.
Both competitions will prioritize funding for low-income and marginalized communities, including rural and tribal areas with environmental justice concerns, as outlined by the White House. At least 40 percent of the $14 billion funding and the entirety of the $6 billion funding will be directed to these communities.
Harris also emphasized the positive impacts of these investments, noting that they will enhance energy efficiency in households, reduce costs for families, and contribute to better air and water quality, ultimately benefiting public health.
Interested applicants can submit their proposals by October 12, 2023. Selection decisions are expected to be made by March 2024, enabling grantees to commence their projects as early as July 2024. The EPA will be organizing public webinars in the coming weeks to provide further information about the competitions.
Prior to the official announcement, Harris and Regan held discussions with local climate leaders to gain insights and perspectives on the issue.
Harris’s remarks concluded the Biden administration’s nationwide “Investing in America” tour, during which senior officials promoted the president’s economic agenda in various locations across the country.