DOE will assist 22 communities with locally tailored pathways to clean energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the inaugural communities selected as part of the Communities Local Energy Action Program (Communities LEAP), a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to help energy-overburdened communities take direct control of their clean energy future. The 22 communities will receive support from DOE to create community-wide action plans that reduce local air pollution, increase energy resilience, lower utility costs and energy burdens, and provide long-term jobs and economic opportunities. DOE’s pilot Communities LEAP reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities to assist community-led transitions to a clean energy economy, and to build a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable future.  

Communities LEAP helps communities across the nation develop place-based approaches to building the clean energy economy of the future. By providing targeted technical assistance, LEAP will open the door for communities to access significant, additional DOE and other federal government programs, including those included in the $1.3 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Communities LEAP also implements the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 commitment, which aims to ensure that federal agencies deliver at least 40% of benefits from certain investments to disadvantaged communities and advances the work of the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities, which focuses on delivering federal investment to hard-hit energy communities. 

The transition to a clean energy economy lowers local air pollution and energy burdens and is also poised to bring billions of dollars in continued investments to communities across the country while generating good-paying jobs. In 2019, renewable energy investments in the U.S. reached $55 billion and clean energy jobs paid 25% more than the national median wage. Workers in clean energy earned a median hourly wage of $23.89 compared to the national median wage of $19.14. 

The 22 selected communities will work with DOE and its network of technical assistance providers, government and non-governmental partners, community-based organizations, utilities as well as environmental justice, economic development, and equitable investment organizations to develop roadmaps for clean energy economic development pathways. The inaugural Communities LEAP localities will pursue strategies for planning and investment in: 

  • Energy efficient buildings and beneficial electrification 
  • Clean energy development 
  • Clean transportation and enhanced mobility 
  • Carbon capture and storage 
  • Critical minerals recovery 
  • Resilient microgrids and energy storage 
  • Manufacturing and industry opportunities 

The selected communities are: 

  • Alachua County, Florida
  • Bakersfield, California
  • Birmingham (North Birmingham), Alabama
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Columbia Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Oregon, Washington, Idaho
  • Duluth, Minnesota
  • Hennepin County, Minnesota
  • Highland Park, Michigan
  • Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
  • Jackson County, Illinois
  • Kern County, California
  • Lawrence, Massachusetts
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Mingo & Logan Counties, West Virginia
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Pembroke Township and Hopkins Park, Illinois
  • Pittsburgh (Hill District), Pennsylvania
  • Questa, New Mexico
  • Richmond, California
  • San José, California
  • Seattle (Beacon Hill), Washington

Communities LEAP is supported by six DOE offices: Energy Efficiency and Renewable EnergyFossil Energy and Carbon ManagementElectricityIndian EnergyPolicy, and Economic Impact and Diversity

Is there lead in your drinking water? Meet the startup building rapid tests for your tap

Read the full story in Forbes.

Stemloop is building simple paper-based tests to detect lead, copper, and other contaminants in water samples. These tests exploit molecules first found in microbes that sense and respond to chemicals in the environment.

EPA Strategic Plan FY 2022-2026

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This Strategic Plan deepens EPA’s commitment to protecting human health and the environment for all people, with an emphasis on historically overburdened and underserved communities. For the first time, EPA’s final Strategic Plan includes a new strategic goal focused solely on addressing climate change and an unprecedented goal to advance environmental justice and civil rights. These priorities are integrated throughout the Plan’s programmatic goals and cross-agency strategies, which are supported by long-term performance goals EPA will use to monitor and communicate progress.

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Read the full story from Princeton University.

Most global carbon-budgeting efforts assume a linear flow of water from the land to the sea, which ignores the complex interplay between streams, rivers, lakes, groundwater, estuaries, mangroves and more. Climate scientists now detail how carbon is stored and transported through the intricacy of inland and coastal waterways. The work has significant implications for enforcing the carbon calculations that are part of international climate accords.

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Read the full story at Grist.

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Read the full story at Utility Dive.

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Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

NatureWorks, a manufacturer of polylactic acid (PLA), a low-carbon bioplastic made from renewable agricultural resources, will automate their new, greenfield plant in Thailand, converting sugar cane to the polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymer, called Ingeo. ABB, a global technology company, will manage the automation.

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Read the full story in the New York Times.

Developers have long used open spaces and nature as selling points for their projects, like planned communities centered on golf courses, developments built in and around nature preserves and a new trend known as agrihoods, which integrate subdivisions with working farms.

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Study examines the chemical GenX in water: Is it different than other PFAS?

Read the full story from the University of Buffalo.

Last fall, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that GenX chemicals were more toxic than the “forever chemicals” they were developed to replace.

Now, a new University at Buffalo-led study examines what happens when GenX –chemicals used in food packaging, nonstick coating and other products – interacts with water.

How the largest global meat and dairy companies evade climate scrutiny

Read the full story at Civil Eats.

Professor Jennifer Jacquet examined the top 35 meat and dairy companies—which together, account for a large percentage of greenhouse gas emissions—and found that half aren’t even measuring their impact.