WASHINGTON, D.C.—As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that applications are open for the $25 million Enhancement & Innovation (E&I) competitive grant program that aims to accelerate the clean energy transition through demonstration projects. These projects will not only support low-income homes by making them more comfortable and safer, but they are also an opportunity to explore new weatherization techniques and technology and showcase best practices that could possibly be emulated and adopted more widely among other weatherization projects.
The E&I grant program is a portion of the $3.5 billion appropriated for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, designated to implement a broader government-wide approach and deploy demonstration projects that maximize the benefits of the clean energy transition as the nation works to curb the climate crisis, empower workers, and advance environmental justice.
“Today’s funding will expand the reach of the Weatherization Assistance Program to invest in more low-income households and create clean energy jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The Enhancement and Innovation grants help support ambitious projects customized for local community needs: creating net-zero energy neighborhoods through community solar panels, addressing structural repairs necessary to complete weatherization, even establishing a workforce training program for the next generation of clean energy professionals—the sky’s the limit.”
The WAP E&I grant program aims to make homes efficient and healthy, support our energy efficiency workforce, and expand upon President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative. Complementary to the WAP program, which offers formula funding to state entities, the E&I program offers competitive funding and flexibility to allow a broader range of innovative weatherization activities including the installation of renewable energy technologies, electrification, more expansive health and safety measures, and comprehensive workforce development.
Successful grant projects will support low-income households in a variety of ways, including expanding the number of weatherization-ready homes, increasing renewable energy technology, expanding health and safety measures, and disseminating new weatherization best practices. In addition, it encourages weatherization providers to hire, train, and retain employees with good-paying jobs.
DOE intends to issue multiple awards, with a maximum individual award amount of $2 million. Eligible entities include existing WAP Grantees, WAP Subgrantees, and other nonprofit organizations.
An optional, informational webinar will be held on July 20, 2023 for potential applicants. Concept Papers are due on August 31, 2023 and Full Applications are due on January 5, 2024. DOE plans to announce E&I selections in June 2024.
Since 1976, the WAP has served seven million households, which enjoy an average of $372 in annual energy savings. Projects supported by this funding will expand the types of residential buildings eligible for energy efficiency retrofits, prepare more homes for electrification, and increase opportunities for local, clean energy jobs. It will also provide targeted benefits to communities disproportionally impacted by high energy burden, supporting the Biden Administration’s commitment to an equitable clean energy transition. Read more about past E&I grant recipients here.
Through the Office of State and Community Energy Programs, DOE is overseeing the administration of these programs, and working to ensure that no communities are left behind in the transition to a clean energy future. These programs align with President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, ensuring that 40 percent of the overall benefits of clean energy investments make a difference in communities that are energy burdened and historically underserved.