Legislation prioritizes investment in environmental justice communities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2023
Contact: Contact: Kevin G. McGuire (Barragán)
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswomen Nanette Barragán (CA-44) and Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) reintroduced a bill that would create the first federal program to build 100-percent clean energy microgrids to power critical infrastructure for communities in the aftermath of an extreme weather event or power shut-off.
The Energy Resilient Communities Act takes a significant step forward in energy equity and environmental justice, by moving grant applications from low-income communities and communities of color to the front of the line for applications for clean energy microgrid grants. These grants will help combat power outages and rolling blackouts, reduce pollution, create green jobs, and fight the climate crisis.
“As the climate crisis worsens, our country is facing unprecedented extreme weather, which often leads to power outages,” said Rep. Barragán. “We have experienced this in Los Angeles and throughout California from heat waves, and across the country from a number of different extreme weather incidents – including winter storms in Texas and hurricanes in Florida and Puerto Rico. Keeping the lights on and maintaining health care and emergency services can be the difference between life or death. The Energy Resilient Communities Act will support locally-led clean energy resilience solutions for disadvantaged communities that create jobs, reduce energy costs, and cut climate pollution.”
“Across the nation, our most vulnerable communities are reeling from extreme weather events brought on by the climate crisis. And as we continue to contend with natural disasters worsened by climate change, it is critical that we work to reverse the environmental inequities and the lack of climate resiliency far too many Americans and their families face today. I’m proud to join Congresswoman Barragán to reintroduce the Energy Resilient Communities Act, which will provide investments in at-risk communities to develop vital clean energy microgrids – essential tools towards keeping the lights on for our most vulnerable communities,” said Rep. Clarke.
By creating new sustainable options for critical facilities such as hospitals, fire stations, schools, grocery stores, and senior and public housing to maintain power when experiencing extreme weather events, the Energy Resilient Communities Act will help our country fight the climate crisis and reduce air pollution.
U.S. microgrid capacity reached 10 Gigawatts (GW) in 2022, and over the last five years, 7% of renewable generation deployed in the U.S. was associated with a microgrid. There has been a 47% increase in microgrid solar and storage capacity since 2017, but greater support is needed to ensure the majority of new microgrids are zero-emission. The Energy Resilient Communities Act will support the construction of hundreds of microgrids annually powered by 100 percent clean energy.
Energy Resilient Communities Act Highlights:
- Authorizes $1.5 billion in annual grants for clean energy microgrids to support the critical infrastructure needed in the aftermath of an extreme weather event and $50 million in annual grants for technical assistance. Examples of critical infrastructure include hospitals, grocery stores, community centers, public safety facilities, public or affordable housing, medical baseline customers, and senior housing.
- A minimum of $150 million of annual authorized funding is reserved for grants supporting the construction of community-owned energy systems.
- State and local governments, territories, tribal agencies, utilities, and non-profits can apply for grants.
- Grants are prioritized for applications from environmental justice communities.
- Projects are additionally prioritized based on several criteria, including how effectively they reduce pollution and improve public health, are built on previously disturbed land, prioritize contracts for women and minority-owned businesses, utilization of apprenticeships, and whether the proposed project will be a community-owned energy system.
- The maximum federal cost share of 60%, except for environmental justice communities, where the maximum federal cost share is 90%.
- Includes Buy American provisions to maximize the creation of American manufacturing jobs in the production of materials and technology for microgrids.
- Includes worker hiring targets for each project to maximize the number of local workers, as well as economically disadvantaged workers, including those who live in environmental justice communities or were displaced from a previous job in the energy sector.
The bill can be found here.
Barragán and Clarke were joined by 42 original cosponsors of the Energy Resilient Communities Act: Representatives Jared Huffman (CA-02), Cori Bush (MO-01), André Carson (IN-07), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Jerry Nadler (NY-12), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Don Beyer (VA-08), Adam Schiff (CA-30), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), Bill Foster (IL-11), Katie Porter (CA-47), Doris Matsui (CA-07), Greg Casar (TX-35), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Grace Meng (NY-06), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Troy Carter (LA-02), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Melanie Stansbury(NM-01), Ruben Gallego (AZ-03), Lucy McBath (GA-07), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Donald Payne (NJ-10), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Jared Moskowitz (FL-23), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), and Andy Kim (NJ-3).
The Energy Resilient Communities Act is supported by Sierra Club, GreenLatinos, National Wildlife Federation, Earthjustice, Friends of the Earth, Food & Water Action, Mothers Out Front, Green for All, Eastyard Communities for Environmental Justice, Center for Earth, Energy, and Democracy (CEED), The Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters, Hispanic Access Foundation, San Diego 350, Hispanic Access Foundation, San Diego 350, Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Environmental Defense Fund.
Nanette Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Bellflower, Carson, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, Lakewood, Long Beach, Lynwood, Paramount, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, West Carson, and Wilmington. She serves as Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Health, Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Minerals Subcommittees.