May 21, 2013 Aerial photos of the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) (Photo by Dennis Schroeder / NREL)

DOE to spend $22 million to improve renewable energy facilities

March 27, 2024

The U.S. Department of Energy will invest up to $22 million on projects to improve siting and permitting processes for large-scale facilities to produce wind and solar energy. 

The biggest barrier to deploying clean energy is often siting and permitting, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said.  

“Solar and wind energy and battery storage are on the rise throughout America. This year, we expect these to make up a record-breaking 94% of our nation’s new electric-generating capabilities,” Granholm said. 

Solar and wind power will need to provide up to 80% of U.S. electricity to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035, so removing barriers to rapid deployment is critical, the DOE said. Many large-scale renewable energy and energy storage projects are likely to be built on private lands, where state and local authorities make permitting decisions.  

Six state-based projects will get $10 million through the DOE’s Renewable Energy Siting through Technical Engagement and Planning (R-STEP) Program.  

Iowa, Mississippi, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina and South Carolina will use the funds for statewide initiatives to provide expertise, training and technical resources to help plan for large-scale renewable energy and energy storage projects, the DOE said. 

The DOE also plans to open a second round of the program with up to $12 million in funding made available through the Inflation Reduction Act

Deploying large-scale renewable energy projects in a way that is informed by meaningful community engagement can unlock opportunities for community wealth-building, workforce development, increased grid resilience, and electricity bill savings, especially in rural or underserved communities, the DOE said. 

Collaborators on the projects include stakeholders from all sides of the energy planning process, including state and regional agencies, universities, developers, technical experts, public service commissions, farmers unions, tribes, community organizations, and other trusted entities. 

The initial $10 million will be divided between projects in the following six states: 

  • $1.9 million for Indiana, where the Purdue University Extension will lead a collaborative that will serve as a technical resource and community engagement hub to assist Indiana communities with renewable energy planning, evaluation, and decision-making.  
  • $1.7 million for Iowa, where Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will lead a collaborative that will develop and disseminate educational resources for city- and county-level officials planning for renewable energy and energy storage facilities. The collaborative will also translate materials to Spanish and provide facilitation services to Iowa communities.  
  • $2 million for Michigan, where the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will lead a collaborative that will establish a one-stop-shop for resources and experts in the field of renewable energy siting and provide no-cost technical assistance to Michigan communities. 
  • $2 million for Mississippi, where the Mississippi Development Authority Energy & Natural Resources Division will lead a collaborative that will develop a large-scale solar energy development playbook and training course and provide technical assistance in collaboration with the Mississippi planning and development districts. 
  • $2 million for North Carolina and South Carolina, where the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center will lead a collaborative that will create an online technical assistance and education hub to respond to specific concerns and needs from communities, local governments, landowners, and developers in those two states. 
  • $1 million for Wisconsin, where the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension will lead a collaborative that will engage stakeholders and expand education and facilitation services to rural communities in the state to achieve coordinated, equitable, inclusive, and transparent processes for renewable energy and battery storage facility siting. 

Photo courtesy of the DOE

Miles Smith

Miles Smith has more than two decades of communications experience in the public and private sectors, including several years of covering local governments for various daily and weekly print publications. His scope of work includes handling public relations for large private-sector corporations and managing public-facing communications for local governments.

Smith has recently joined the team as a content writer for SPI’s news publications, which include Texas Government Insider, Government Contracting Pipeline and its newest digital product, Government Market News, which launched in September 2023. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in journalism.

Don't Miss

Massive support, funding now available to improve supply-chain networks

New opportunities for multimodal freight, rail, and port projects are
A hospital hallway.

New hospitals greenlit for Amarillo, Wichita Falls

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is searching