U.S. DOE Releases Requests for Information and Stakeholder Input for Energy Programs
Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Funds
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) appropriated $250 million to U.S. DOE to make funds available to states to implement the Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund Capitalization Grant Program (Sec. 40502). Funding provided through this program will enable states to capitalize revolving loan funds (RLFs) and provide grants to conduct commercial and residential energy audits, energy upgrades, and retrofits of building infrastructure. These loans and grants will help ensure that homes and businesses are efficient and clean. The IIJA gives states flexibility in designing and implementing these RLFs, within limits set by the statute and the Secretary of Energy. U.S. DOE is seeking to create program guidance and technical assistance options that will assist States and stakeholders to design, manage, and improve RLFs. As a result, U.S. DOE has released a new request for information (RFI) to collect promising, innovative, and best practices for designing RLFs. Click here to view the full RFI. Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to no later than 11:59 PM Eastern on May 6.
Energy Improvements at Public School Facilities
U.S. DOE seeks input regarding the implementation of Section 40541 of the IIJA, which provides $500 million in grant funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and alternative fuel vehicle projects at public school facilities. U.S. DOE aims to facilitate substantial additional investment, prioritize schools with high needs, minimize administrative burden, and build enduring capacity in local educational agencies (LEAs) to maximize impact equitably and efficiently. U.S. DOE is seeking information on the following six categories:
  • Capacity Development
  • Needs Assessments
  • Criteria and Metrics
  • Workforce
  • Leveraging Funds
  • Partnership Structures
Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to no later than 5:00 PM Eastern on May 18Click here to view the listing for this RFI, and click here to access the RFI document directly.
Funding for Cost-Effective Implementation of Updated Building Energy Codes
U.S. DOE has issued an RFI seeking input from stakeholders to inform the implementation of the IIJA’s $225M in funding for improved building energy codes. Through the RFI, U.S. DOE is requesting public input regarding the solicitation process and structure of a potential Resilient and Efficient Codes Implementation Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). U.S. DOE is considering approaches which can enable sustained, cost-effective implementation of building energy codes, in accordance with Section 40511 of the IIJA. The information collected will not be published. Click here to access the official RFI and submit public comments no later than 5:00 PM Eastern on May 20.
Formula Grants to States for Preventing Outages and Enhancing the Resilience of the Electric Grid
Under Section 40101(d) of the IIJA, DOE will provide grants to States to improve the all-hazards resilience of their electric grids. The types of resilience investments permitted under this program may range considerably according to the needs of respective applicants and may include the hardening of assets (i.e., making them less vulnerable to threats), as well as the deployment of more sophisticated capabilities such as the real-time control and coordination of system assets, including inverter-based resources (DERs) and microgrids, so that they may quickly provide services under emergency situations. Resilience investments may also include the provision of tools to support modeling and analysis efforts that can assist in the determination of solutions that would improve all-hazards resilience. These grants offer a unique opportunity to advance the capabilities of States and their communities to address current and future resilience needs. Section 40101(d) stipulates that DOE allocate funding annually through grants to States according to a formula that includes such parameters as population, land area, and the historical precedence for experiencing disruptive events. The Notice of Intent (NOI) provides information on DOE’s plans for implementation of Section 40101(d).
Alongside the release of this NOI, DOE invites public comment via an RFI regarding the formula grants. The purpose of the RFI is to collect stakeholder feedback to inform DOE’s structuring of such formula grants to States and Indian Tribes. DOE is specifically seeking feedback on the formula grant program NOI, draft application and award requirements, and draft award formula allocation, all of which can be found here. DOE will hold a public webinar on May 5 from 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Eastern to provide additional information. Click here to register. Responses to this RFI are due to DOE by May 27 at 11:59 PM Eastern and responses should be submitted to
Eleven UTK Students Receive Scholarships, Fellowships to Advance Nuclear Energy Leadership
Through the University Nuclear Leadership Program, U.S. DOE is awarding more than $5 million in undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships to students pursuing nuclear engineering degrees and other programs relevant to nuclear energy. The awards include 61 scholarships for undergraduates and 28 fellowships for graduate students at U.S. colleges and universities. Through this program, undergraduates at 4-year institutions will receive $10,000, and undergraduates at 2-year institutions will receive $5,000, all to help cover education costs related to degrees supporting nuclear energy research and innovation. A separate three-year graduate fellowship provides $52,000 each year to help pay for graduate studies and research. Fellowships also include $5,000 to fund an internship at a U.S. national laboratory or other approved research facility to strengthen the ties between students and U.S. DOE's energy research programs.

Students at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville have been awarded a total of seven undergraduate scholarships and four graduate fellowships through this program, with the University of Tennessee-Knoxville receiving more awards than any other institution in this round of the program. Since 2009, U.S. DOE has awarded close to 929 scholarships and fellowships, totaling approximately $55 million to students pursuing nuclear energy-related degrees. Click here to see a list of all recipients under this round.

Metro Nashville Releases Climate Action Plan Survey to Solicit Community Input
In 2020, Nashville Mayor John Cooper established a Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC) of over 50 community volunteers. In early 2021, the SAC presented its recommendations to address climate change. Now, the Metro Nashville SAC has released a Climate Action Plan Survey in order to solicit feedback from the community on how the city should approach planning for climate action. The survey should take approximately ten minutes to complete. Click here to access the survey. 
U.S. DOE to Partner with U.S. Department of Health on LIHEAP Community Solar Subscription Platform
The U.S. DOE National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) will partner with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop and pilot a digital platform that will manage the enrollment, use, and monitoring of community solar system subscriptions for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) recipients. LIHEAP is an HHS program that assists eligible low-income households with home energy costs. The partnership will support the NCSP target to enable community solar systems to power the equivalent of 5 million households and create $1 billion in energy bill savings by 2025.

Connecting LIHEAP-eligible customers with low-income-focused community solar subscriptions through this platform will reduce the cost of customer acquisition, reduce low-income household energy bills, and increase the deployment of community solar projects. The partnership will address barriers to community solar adoption by low-income households and enable equitable access to community solar benefits by:
  • reducing customer acquisition and management costs;
  • lowering electricity bills and high energy burdens for LIHEAP-eligible households;
  • building investor confidence in low-income community solar programs;
  • expanding the community solar market; and
  • creating clean energy jobs.
Click here to learn more about the NCSP.
NREL Releases Report on State-Level Employment Projections for Clean Energy
As part of the State Energy Program’s Workforce Development Initiative, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has published a clean energy jobs forecasting report, titled State-Level Employment Projections for Four Clean Energy Technologies in 2025 and 2030. The report provides a simple and transparent method to estimate the size of the workforce needed to support modeled deployments for energy efficiency in buildings, stationary battery energy storage, solar photovoltaics (PV), and land-based wind in 2025 and 2030.

The report also includes fact sheets for all 50 states. In Tennessee, as of 2020, the report finds that there are 4,213 solar workers, 445 wind workers, 650 battery storage workers, and 1,702 energy efficiency workers. According to the report, to keep up with an advanced deployment scenario of advanced energy technologies, Tennessee will need to create a total of 15,950 new jobs across these four sectors by 2030, representing an increase of 228%. Click here to access the full report.
Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship
The U.S. DOE Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship program, managed by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, funds recent graduates and energy professionals to work with critical energy organizations to advance clean energy solutions. The program recruits talent from diverse backgrounds to spend up to two years supporting the work of eligible host organizations, which include electric public utility commissions, municipal and cooperative utilities, and grid operators, such as regional transmission organizations or independent system operators.
Projects may address a wide range of topics, including, but not limited to, grid modernization, equitable and affordable access to clean energy and energy efficiency, integration of electric vehicles and building electrification, resilience planning, interconnection, and rate design.
The deadline for prospective host institutions and fellowship candidates to apply is May 6. Click here to apply as a host institution. Click here to apply as a fellowship candidate.
TWIG Monthly Program
Tennessee Women in Green (TWIG) will hold its monthly program on May 6 at 8:30 AM Eastern, which will feature special guest Amanda Garcia, director of the Tennessee office of the Southern Environmental Law Center. Garcia and her team work across the state to protect Tennessee’s clean water, promote clean energy, preserve its natural resources, and ensure a healthy environment for all. Garcia will share some of her office’s recent work to address climate action in Middle Tennessee, including environmental protection activities for the Duck River during severe weather events as well as addressing a proposed methane gas pipeline that would run through Stewart, Houston, and Dickson Counties. Click here to register.
ACEEE Events
2022 Energy Efficiency Finance Forum
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) will hold its 14th annual Energy Efficiency Finance Forum in White Plains, NY from May 23-25. Financing will play a key role in dramatically reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years, and the forum will address how the country can finance a rapid scaling of deep building retrofits as well as other energy-saving initiatives. Attendees will explore creative and innovative ways to finance projects that are essential for reducing energy waste, saving money, creating jobs, and meeting climate goals in the process. Click here to register.
2022 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
ACEEE will hold its 22nd biennial Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings in Monterey, CA from August 21-26. Energy efficiency and demand flexibility in buildings are critical parts of local, state, federal, and utility decarbonization strategies, enabling higher penetrations of variable renewable energy sources and electrification. As we transition to the new clean energy economy, when and where demand-side resources provide grid services is increasingly important for a reliable, low-cost, decarbonized future. At the same time, rapid changes in policies and programs signal a shift in approaches to bring equity and environmental justice to the forefront of climate solutions. The Summer Study will bring professionals from around the world to discuss the science and policies that equitably advance efficiency in our built environment and reduce climate impacts. Click here to register.
Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience (RACER)
The U.S. DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) recently announced the Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience (RACER) funding opportunity, which will award $25 million in funding for projects that enable communities to utilize solar and solar-plus-storage in order to prevent disruptions in power caused by extreme weather and other events, and to rapidly restore electricity if it goes down.
Projects will foster engagement and ongoing communication among multiple stakeholders such as utilities, municipal planners, emergency responders, community groups, and others, especially in underserved communities located in areas vulnerable to extreme events causing frequent energy and power service disruptions. In addition, projects will develop and demonstrate rapid energy restoration technologies based on the community resilience plan in order to increase the durability of PV systems. The Topic Areas under this funding opportunity include:
  • Topic Area 1: Innovative Community-Based Resilience Planning
  • Topic Area 2: Automation Strategies for Rapid Energy Restoration
  • Topic Area 3: Innovative Solutions to Increase the Resilience and Hardening of PV Power Plants
Concept papers under this FOA are due on May 26 by 5:00 PM Eastern, and full applications are due July 25. Click here to view the full FOA.
American-Made “Shine On” Awards for Inclusive Solar Outreach
The Shine On Awards for Inclusive Solar Outreach is a competition designed by U.S. DOE to identify and share best practices in communications campaigns reaching diverse and underrepresented audiences. These awards recognize communications and marketing campaigns that demonstrate excellence in strategic, effective, inclusive, and meaningful communication to diverse audiences across digital, video, podcasts, marketing, mobile, print, social media, and more.
U.S. DOE is soliciting the talents of organizations, businesses, and communications professionals engaging diverse audiences to help expand the equitable adoption of solar energy, especially in underrepresented communities, and increase the diversity of the solar workforce by sharing and encouraging the wider adoption of best practices. Campaigns must fit one of the following award categories:
  • Residential solar adoption
  • Community solar subscription
  • Solar co-op subscription
  • Utility-scale solar community engagement
  • Workforce recruitment and/or retention
Applications for the Shine On Awards are due June 10. Click here to register and compete.
U.S. EPA 29th Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory
U.S. EPA recently released its 29th annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (GHG Inventory), which presents a national-level overview of annual greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2020. Net U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 5,222.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020, a nearly 11% decrease in emissions from 2019. The sharp decline in emissions from 2019 to 2020 is largely due to the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on travel and economic activity. However, the decline also reflects the combined impacts of several factors, including population trends, energy market trends, technological changes including energy efficiency improvements, and the carbon intensity of energy fuel choices.
The GHG Inventory covers seven key greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride. In addition to tracking U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, the Inventory also calculates carbon dioxide that is removed from the atmosphere through the uptake of carbon in forests and other vegetation. Click here to access the complete report.
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