DOE Announces $366 Million to Accelerate Energy Security in Rural America

Electrical transmission tower and power lines

This week the Department of Energy (DOE) announced more than $366 million for 17 projects across rural and remote American communities. The funding will accelerate the development of clean, sustainable energy deployment with community driven projects such as building microgrids to ensure energy security with reliable, affordable energy.

Rural and remote communities face a unique set of energy challenges due to their small populations and isolation from larger electrical systems, resulting in higher electric bills, unreliable energy supplies, and/or no access to electricity at all.

The projects just announced are part of DOE’s Energy Improvement in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program. The ERA program is focusing on energy solutions ranging from solar with battery storage systems and microgrids, to heat pumps, biomass and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Solar + Storage Microgrids for Rural Community Health Centers Project: (projects in: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee) — the clean, resilient energy systems developed through this project will benefit up to 175 health center sites, ensuring energy reliability for critical medical equipment, refrigeration of insulin and vaccines, and continuity of care during emergencies and power outages.

Energy Resilience in Rural Northern Wisconsin (24 sites across Wisconsin) — this project plans to increase regional energy reliability with the deployment of 23 microgrid systems. Wisconsin’s Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy (OSCE) will promote local workforce development—particularly for construction and permanent project jobs, and provide clean energy education to residents. OSCE also aims to deploy solar power, battery storage with smart controls, and electric vehicle charging stations.

Energizing Rural Hopi and Navajo with Solar Powered Battery-Based Systems (projects in: Navajo and Hopi communities in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) — this project plans to install 2.5 kW off-grid solar and battery storage systems to electrify 300 Tribal homes, increasing energy resilience and electrification rates in the communities. The project includes a program to increase the number of Tribal solar-installation professionals, and host training and education for participating households on solar electric energy systems and best practices to ensure the longevity of battery storage systems. This electrification project will fulfill essential household power needs, including lighting, and refrigeration for food and medicine.