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On This Earth Day: Applauding EPA Funding for Clean-Energy Projects

solar panels on home
Solar panels now generate about 75 percent of the electricity consumed by my home in Myrtle Beach, SC.

On this Earth Day, let's commend the Biden Administration for awarding $20 billion in federal financial support for clean-energy projects to help combat climate change and pollution in disadvantaged communities.

The source of money for this important, groundbreaking investment is the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund established in the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden's signature climate law. The funds will be invested in clean-energy technologies such as solar panels or charging stations for electric vehicles.

The program will make low-interest loans available for clean-energy projects that otherwise would be unable to be financed by banks or other lenders reluctant to support new technology or a business without a record of success.

Some $27 billion will be used to help nonprofit organizations launch and operate clean-energy projects, providing better lending rates than commercial banks. The program also helps to leverage private investments, a step that will multiply the funds actually available for clean-energy projects.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it is awarding money to eight nonprofits that have pledged to leverage almost $7 in private capital for every $1 of available federal funding. At least 70 percent of those funds will help disadvantaged communities, with financed projects estimated to reduce up to 40 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year.

That's no small potatoes, as it equals the annual emissions of almost 9 million gasoline-powered vehicles.

"Together, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund’s National Clean Investment Fund, Clean Communities Investment Accelerator, and Solar for All programs will finance clean technology deployment nationally, finance clean technology deployment in low-income and disadvantaged communities while simultaneously building the capacity of community lenders that serve those communities, and spur adoption of clean distributed solar energy that lowers energy bills for millions of Americans in low-income and disadvantaged communities," the EPA's announcement said.

EPA expects to announce additional information on the $7 billion Solar for All competition later this spring. These programs advance President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative while expanding good-paying job opportunities in domestic industries.

“Today’s announcement is a game changer. I’m pleased to see that a significant portion of these funds will invest in housing that is energy-efficient and climate resilient,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Acting Secretary Adrianne Todman. “HUD is very thankful for our very close partnership with EPA over the past year to ensure that the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund includes these essential investments.”

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has equity as its North Star, centering on communities too often left out of the conversation," noted Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm. "Now, through the historic Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, communities across the country can take full control of their clean energy future leveraging federal and private funding for tried and true solutions that will strengthen their energy resilience, slash costs for their residents and revitalize their local economies.” 

“The investments Democrats made are paying off for the American people.” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “By providing $20 billion that will flow to tens of thousands of green and climate friendly projects across the country, today’s historic announcement, made possible by our Inflation Reduction Act, is ushering in the clean energy revolution. I am especially proud that EPA has secured commitments from today’s awardees that over 70 percent of the capital – over $14 billion – will go to low-income and disadvantaged communities. These investments mean cleaner communities, lower energy costs, and jobs, jobs, jobs. I’m proud of this bold investment in communities across America and New York and confident today’s announcement will have positive reverberations for generations to come.”

“Working with President Biden, House Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act to strike a dramatic blow against the climate crisis, set our planet on a sustainable trajectory forward and stand up a clean energy economy. It was the largest federal climate investment in the history of the nation. I thank President Biden, Vice President Harris and EPA Administrator Regan for this historic $20 billion investment to help advance clean technology across America,” said House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

“Every American should benefit from the investments we make to fight climate change, no matter their zip code,” added U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “That’s why we created the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund in the Inflation Reduction Act — to ensure that these unprecedented climate and clean energy investments would especially benefit often overlooked communities, those with the greatest need. I am thrilled to see the Biden Administration swiftly implementing this critical program, which will help to lower energy costs for everyone and create good-paying jobs across the nation. Congratulations to each of the eight recipients who will bring us one step closer to a clean energy future.”

“Today’s announcement is historic. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is a first-of-its-kind program that will save Americans money on their utility bills, create hundreds of thousands of new good-paying jobs, and protect our communities from the worst impacts of catastrophic climate change. This is what investing in the American people looks like and it is an absolute game-changer for our fight against the climate crisis,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “I applaud the Biden Administration for working diligently to ensure that the program’s funds will reach those who need them most, and I look forward to the unprecedented climate progress it will help us achieve in the years ahead.”

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