Biden administration awards $20 billion for clean energy investment in low-income communities


By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vice President Kamala Harris and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (EPA) Michael Regan on Thursday announced eight organizations that will oversee the spending of $20 billion in grants to fund tens of thousands of clean energy and transportation projects in disadvantaged communities across the United States.

The $20 billion, made available through the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) created in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, will largely be invested in projects ranging from home energy retrofitting programs to off-grid renewable energy in communities that have not had access to green financing.

The selected organizations will create a national clean financing network that will help kickstart projects over the next seven years that are expected to reduce or avoid up to 40 million metric tons of climate pollution annually.

“The grantees announced today will help ensure that families, small businesses, and community leaders have access to the capital they need to make climate and clean energy projects a reality in their neighborhoods,” Harris said in a statement.

The EPA plans to get the money to the organizations by September this year. The GGRF has been a target of congressional Republicans, who passed a resolution this year attempting to repeal what they have called a climate “slush fund.”

Three non-profit coalitions comprised of community development financial institutions, local green banks and other community lending organizations were chosen to distribute $14 billion from a National Clean Investment Fund (NCIF), that aims to support affordable clean technology projects nationwide.

Another five groups have been chosen to administer the $6 billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator, which will provide funding and technical assistance to community lenders working to back clean technology projects in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

© Reuters. Administrator Michael Regan of Environmental Protection Agency speaks during U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to East Palestine for the first time since a fiery derailment of a Norfolk Southern train a year ago released more than a million gallons of hazardous materials and pollutants, in East Palestine, Ohio, U.S., February 16, 2024. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/ File Photo

Of the $20 billion, at least $4 billion will be dedicated to investment in rural communities and $1.5 billion will be directed to programs benefiting tribal nations.

The grantees are expected to mobilize almost $7 of private capital for every $1 of federal funds they spend.