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The U.S. Department of Energy announced the launch of an equity-focused prize competition to accelerate decarbonization and support community-driven clean energy programs and initiatives.
This American-Made Challenge is the latest in the series of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Inclusive Energy Innovation prizes, and it will support the development between community-based organizations and movements to address energy concerns, according to a Sept. 16 DOE news release. The prize will focus on the disproportional impact of climate change on marginalized communities.
“The Biden-Harris administration is working to achieve energy justice across the country by bringing the benefits of low-cost clean energy and high-quality jobs to diverse and historically underserved communities,” Acting Assistant Secretary Alejandro Moreno said in the release. “With authentic community engagement, we can make new connections with talented people and accelerate the equitable transition to clean energy on their terms.”
The Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize is a $1.5 million award for developing partnerships between local organizations to combat community-identified energy challenges, the release said. The prize also focuses on stakeholder input on the need for direct investment for local organizations to achieve community solutions for clean energy challenges, as well as meeting the goal of EERE's mission and the DOE's Justice40 priorities.
In January 2021, President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The DOE uses prizes as one branch of a strategy to evenly distribute clean energy technology benefits to all Americans, according to the release.
Historically, marginalized communities have experienced the brunt of climate change, global warming, and pollution in contrast to the general population, according to the American Made Challenge website. The prize is an effort on the DOE's part to make clean energy more accessible to said communities.