The week saw several announcements of new DOE and EPA initiatives to fund and otherwise support renewable energy, smart grid, and “sustainable community” efforts.

The DOE announced last week it will be reaching out to state and local officials through a webcast focusing on how to take advantage of using CREBs. The presentation will take place Wednesday, June 24, from 3:00 to 4:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and is titled "How to Use CREBs for Financing Renewable Energy Projects on Public Lands." Click here to register and for more information. Utilities, transmission companies, and grid geeks should be aware of this DOE FOA, “Resource Assessment and Interconnection-Level Transmission Analysis and Planning,” which is open to all domestic entities (except federal agencies and federally funded research contractors and certain non-profits) and aims to develop or strengthen the capabilities in each of the Lower 48's three interconnections (those would be Eastern, Western, and Texas) to prepare analyses of transmission requirements under a broad range of alternative futures and develop long-term interconnection-wide transmission expansion plans. Applications are due August 14, 2009.

Additionally, the EPA rolled out the “Climate Showcase Communities Grant Program” a 50/50 cost-shared competitive grant program which is open to local governments and Indian tribal governments. This program specifically looks to create replicable models of "sustainable community action that generate cost-effective and persistent greenhouse gas reductions while improving the environmental, economic, public health, or social conditions in a community." Some of the proposed focus activities include:

  • energy performance in municipal operations (including municipal energy, water, and wastewater utilities)
  • energy performance in residential, commercial, agricultural, aqua-cultural, and/or industrial buildings
  • land use, transportation, or community master planning
  • reduction of vehicle miles traveled
  • solid waste management
  • agricultural, aqua-cultural, and natural resource management
  • use or supply of green power products, on-site renewables, and other clean energy supply options
  • heat island management
  • removal of barriers for greenhouse gas management, through the development of effective programs, policies, or outreach
  • other innovative activities which generate measurable reductions of greenhouse gases