DOE Launches Local Energy Action Program

On September 15, 2021, the Department of Energy launched its Local Energy Action Program (Communities LEAP). The Communities LEAP initiative is designed to help environmental justice communities and communities with historical ties to fossil fuel industries develop locally-driven energy plans to reduce local air pollution, increase energy resilience, lower utility costs and energy burdens, and create good-paying jobs. With an initial investment of $16 million, Communities LEAP will assist up to thirty-six low-income and energy-burdened communities to develop local energy action plans that focus on one or more of the following:

  • Creating pathways for large-scale clean energy project planning and infrastructure
  • Evaluating the ability to use microgrids to increase community resilience
  • Creating job opportunities in fossil fuel communities or those home to heavy industries
  • Planning for clean transportation investments
  • Improving building energy efficiency
  • Enhancing investments in the nation’s clean energy supply chain and improving the energy performance and reducing the cost of industrial manufacturing

DOE also published a detailed opportunity announcement, which includes more information about eligible projects and how to apply for participation in the program. DOE is accepting comments to until October 12, 2021 to help guide the development of the initiative.