Dive Brief:

  • The Renewable Energy Siting through Technical Engagement program will dole out money to projects in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin intended to smooth the approval process for wind turbines, solar farms and energy storage projects.
  • The money comes from the $1.2 trillion Inflation Reduction Act, which was signed into law in 2022, and federal officials hope the funding will speed the construction of projects that need a green light from state and local governments.
  • “The Biden-Harris Administration is helping provide local leaders with the resources needed to deploy more clean energy to their residents in a way that is tailored to their unique needs,” U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

Dive Insight:

Public universities and state agencies will use the funding to form collaboratives to educate elected officials at the city and county level on the process of building and approving renewable energy and energy storage projects, a Department of Energy news release said.

Often, the biggest barrier to deploying that clean generation is siting and permitting,” Granholm said.

By working with local stakeholders, the administration hopes to deliver renewable energy to communities across the nation “in a way that is tailored to their unique needs,” she said.

In Indiana, for example, Purdue University’s extension service will lead a collaboration to create an engagement hub for cities and counties considering clean power generation and energy storage. The state will receive $1.9 million in the first round of funding.

Iowa will receive $1.7 million in the first round of funding so Iowa State University’s extension service can educate municipal and county officials in planning for renewable energy and energy storage projects.

In Michigan, $2 million will go to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy to provide no-cost expertise to communities considering renewable energy projects.

The effort is part of the Biden Administration’s goal of having 100% of the nation’s electricity provided through clean power sources like wind and solar by 2035, the release said.

A 2021 DOE study found that at least 80% of the nation’s electricity would need to come from wind and solar power in order to achieve that goal.

The Energy Department said it will make more information on the second round of funding available in the coming weeks.