The Department of Energy is accepting applications for a $10 million funding and technical assistance program aimed at expanding state and local support of large renewable energy projects on private land.
The Renewable Energy Siting through Technical Engagement and Planning program aims to support the creation of new, or the expansion of existing, state-based programs or initiatives that improve renewable energy siting processes at the state and local levels.
The DOE anticipates awarding approximately five to seven state-based collaboratives up to $2 million each to establish or expand their programs or initiatives, as well as receive tailored technical assistance and peer-learning opportunities.
As examples of the kinds of activities that could be supported with the funds, the DOE listed:
- Engaging communities, local and Tribal governments, and other stakeholders to identify priorities and resource needs for renewable energy planning, siting, and permitting;
- Establishing a state-specific technical assistance hub that responds to questions and requests from local governments and/or tribes regarding siting and planning for future deployment of large-scale renewable energy projects;
- Conducting trainings and workshops with local governments and tribes to improve technical understanding of renewable energy planning and/or siting;
- Hiring or subcontracting to expand technical capacity on siting processes, renewable energy technologies, community engagement planning and execution, and community plan development;
- Developing state-specific resources to support community planning for renewable energy and implementation of siting best practices.
The DOE said it encourages state energy offices and university extension offices to lead or participate in applications but organizations best suited to perform these activities will vary from state to state. The DOE also said collaboratives can also include, but are not limited to, Tribal governments, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and community-based organizations.
The DOE said the collaboratives should include organizations familiar with the needs of local communities within the state, organizations with experience providing educational or technical assistance services to local communities, and organizations with expertise in renewable energy siting topics, such as environmental impacts, tax policies, zoning ordinance development. The DOE will not accept more than one application from a single state.