DOE, NREL To Convene Cohorts on Microgrids and the Development of Clean Energy Strategies

Sept. 18, 2023
Applications for the next round of the DOE’s C2C peer learning cohorts are expected to open Sept. 18.

Applications for the next round of the DOE’s C2C peer learning cohorts are expected to open Sept. 18.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced last week that it is accepting applications for the next round of its Clean Energy to Communities (C2C) collaborative peer learning opportunities. Participants will work to advance clean energy strategies, including the use of microgrids.

Communities to study the use of microgrids at critical municipal facilities

Ten to 15 communities will be selected for each of three topic-based cohorts. The participants will convene regularly over a six-month period to collaborate, share best practices, workshop policies or program proposals and develop strategies to overcome barriers related to specific clean energy topics.

The communities will be joined by national laboratory experts who will provide education, case studies and tools such as templates and data models all designed to help accelerate the adoption of clean energy.

This is the third cohort to be convened. Participants will focus on:

  • Enhancing resilience at critical municipal facilities through solar, storage and microgrids.
  • Evaluating and prioritizing municipal buildings for energy efficiency and decarbonization investment.
  • Designing engagement to shape communitywide transportation electrification.

The first two cohorts included 77 communities. In the program pilot, which began in January, the teams tackled the implementation of 100% clean energy, the deployment of electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment that is both equitable and grid-friendly, and clean energy financing for low income households.

The July cohort, which is still running, is exploring EV charging infrastructure deployment, how to implement a municipal clean energy procurement strategy and incorporating community voices in clean energy planning and deployment.

Applications for round three are expected to open Sept. 18

The C2C peer learning cohorts are funded by the DOE and managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the World Resources Institute.

It is expected applications will be accepted for the third cohort from Sept. 18 through Oct. 31.

Tribes and local governments are eligible for any of the cohort topics, while metropolitan and regional planning organizations, electric utilities, community-based organizations and other public entities such as school districts, transit agencies and housing authorities may apply for select topics.

More information on the application process and topics for this cohort can be found on the NREL website.

C2C partnership program announces up to $25 million

In conjunction with its announcement of round three of the C2C peer learning cohorts, the DOE also announced the recipients of federal funds available through its C2C partnership program.

This aspect of the C2C program provides in-depth technical partnerships to help communities develop secure, reliable, resilient, equitable and affordable clean energy systems.

Community teams from Illinois, Colorado, the Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Hawaii and Alaska, working with national laboratory experts, will split $8 million in award funding. They will also have access to up to $17 million in technical assistance to research, model and deploy decarbonization strategies and clean energy systems.

“By connecting communities with innovative tools and know-how from our world-renowned national laboratories, DOE is laying the foundation for the partnerships needed to help transform local clean energy goals and ambitions into reality,” said Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Secretary of Energy.

C2C piloted this program in Fairbanks, Alaska, helping local officials and the city’s electric utility expand clean energy generation and ensure grid reliability in advance of a planned closure of a coal-fired power plant.

DOE’s new interactive clean energy investments map

The DOE also unveiled a new interactive map that shows where companies are making clean energy investment announcements across the U.S.

The map shows, at a localized level, where clean energy manufacturing announcements have been made, and where available, the value of those investments in terms of both dollars and number of jobs created.

The map is searchable by technology type, including batteries, electric vehicles, offshore wind and solar. 

According to the map, California has 52 announcements totaling more than $5 billion; Michigan’s 38 investment announcements add up to more than $18 billion.

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About the Author

Kathy Hitchens | Special Projects Editor

I work as a writer and special projects editor for Microgrid Knowledge. I have over 30 years of writing experience, working with a variety of companies in the renewable energy, electric vehicle and utility sector, as well as those in the entertainment, education, and financial industries. I have a BFA in Media Arts from the University of Arizona and a MBA from the University of Denver.