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
- Learn more about the selected communities announced today.
- To find community-driven energy support for remote and island communities, visit the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project or explore how DOE’s Energy Storage for Social Equity Initiative (ES4SEI) is empowering urban, rural, and tribal disadvantaged communities to get on a path towards community prosperity.
- The ES4SE recently announced the selection of 14 underserved communities to receive technical assistance to leverage energy storage as a means of increasing resilience and long-term affordability.
- Read the full DOE news release.