Deadline
-
July 31, 2024
3:00 pm
ET

Regional Energy Democracy Initiative (REDI)

Information

Description

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Regional Energy Democracy Initiative (REDI) is a technical assistance and capacity building program intended to help communities meaningfully engage in the design and implementation of community benefits associated with DOE funded projects in Texas and Louisiana in the U.S. Gulf South region.

As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative, DOE has mandated the implementation of Community Benefits Plans (CBPs) for all clean energy projects funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). CBPs serve as a crucial mechanism to ensure that communities burdened by the energy system can benefit from these investments. However, many communities lack the capacity to fully engage in the development of community benefits.

The regional consortium will be comprised of a institution of higher education(preferably a Minority Serving Institution (MSI)), non-profit organizations, labor organizations, legal services, and philanthropic groups working together to support the implementation of CBPs, in Texas and Louisiana.

Through regional consortia, REDI will:

  • Provide expertise, training, and technical resources to community-based organizations,
  • Coordinate a regional benefits strategy (see Q and A for definition) with local stakeholders to inform overall community benefits and commitments, in partnership with regional communities.
  • Track DOE investments, and associated community benefit commitments across the Gulf South region, as well as monitor implementation progress of the Regional Benefits Strategy
  • Connect communities with external resources to further advance community priorities.  

The Department of Energy has committed a total of $5 million to support REDI in its initial year. This investment is intended to support consortium partner(s). One consortium will be selected to perform the tasks described for the Gulf South region. Funding for this initiative was made possible by contributions from DOE’s Office of Energy Justice and Equity, Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, Office Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains, and the Grid Deployment Office,  

Objective

The Regional Energy Democracy Initiative is intended to help communities better plan and more meaningfully engage in the development of community benefits and commitments associated with DOE funded projects, to ultimately support an energy future that is reflective of community voice and solutions.   

In the Gulf South, DOE has made billions of dollars in investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. These investments in grid improvements; capping of orphan and marginal wells; carbon capture, storage, and transport; and clean hydrogen, wind, and solar energies aim to transform regional energy infrastructure to improve energy resilience, decarbonize vital industries, and make way for a clean energy transition. Each of these investments required a community benefits plan at application that described how each project will engage collaboratively with host communities and labor, how they will lead to good, family-sustaining jobs, create opportunities for all Americans equitably, and create enduring benefits to disadvantaged communities.

Community benefits plans provide a vital and timely opportunity to address these inequalities to reduce energy burdens, remediate pollution, build resilience, and clean energy businesses, jobs, and training programs for disadvantaged communities.

To best serve disadvantaged communities and the federal investments, it’s vital to coordinate and synergize community benefits plans in the region. Through its regional consortia, REDI will: 

  • Coordinate training programs that are accessible to disadvantaged communities and not duplicative of each other. 
  • Ensure that communities are prepared to engage in the development and implementation of community benefits and aware of the opportunities they present. 
  • Ensure that communities have access to legal support and services as they seek to build community benefits and labor agreements. 
  • Ensure that community priorities for cleanup, investment, and resilience are met.  

For projects in the region, the work of REDI will help them to: 

  • Connect with informed communities.
  • Identify how to best align project goals with community priorities.
  • Learn best practices from other community benefits plans and projects.
  • Streamline engagement across the Department of Energy offices and funded projects.  
  • Attract additional capital from philanthropic sources to supplement and extend benefits that are beyond the scope of any one project.  

REDI will help draw together communities and projects, maximizing and interconnecting community benefits plans to improve the wellbeing, environments, opportunities, and resilience of communities that are vital to the U.S. economy and the global success of a clean energy transition.  

Event Updates

How to Participate

  1. Attend the Informational Webinar/Objective Strategic Session on June 6th, 2024 from 3:00-4:00 PM ET: Click Here to RSVP
  2. Attend the informational Office Hours session on July 18th, 2024 from 3:00-4:00 PM ET: Click Here to RSVP
  3. Download the Capabilities Overview Template: Click Here to Download
  4. Complete submission and upload here: Click Here to Submit (Submissions are due NLT July 31st, 2024 at 3:00 PM ET)

Important Dates

Opportunity Announcement

Objective Strategic Session

Is this a meaningful opportunity for your organization? Do you need more information to help you decide? Please attend the Objective Strategic Session [June 6, 2024 from 3:00 - 4:00 PM ET] to ask questions and to gain a better understanding of EJE program requirements. Click Here to RSVP

Information "Office Hours" Session(s)

Informational Office Hours [July 18, 2024 from 3:00 -4:00 PM ET] ENERGYWERX and the U.S. Department of Energy will host open office hours for potential applicants. Participants are encouraged to come prepared to ask questions. Click Here to RSVP

Submission Deadline(s)

Submissions are due No Later Than July 31st, 2024 by 3:00 PM ET

Process Details

Timeline(s)

Resources from Webinar(s)

Coming soon.

Slide Deck(s)

Coming soon.

Transcript(s)

Coming soon.

Video Recording(s)

Coming soon.

Webinar Q&As

Coming soon.

Eligibility & Review Criteria

Eligibility and Review Criteria

  • Applicants must show their record of work in Texas and Louisiana 
  • Applications as the Prime Applicant/Lead Organization are strongly encouraged to be a Minority Serving Institution (MSI)
  • Applicants must have a depth of experience and expertise in at least one of the roles described in the table below
  • If applying as a full consortium with all the roles described below filled by partner entities, then each party’s requirements should have their individual budget needs noted in the Application – as well as included in the total funding requested in Submittable.
  • All parties must be reflected in the proposed budget. 

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

Download

How can I find other partners to work with on a REDI proposal? 

The informational webinars will provide important opportunities to meet and connect with other regional organizations interested in this opportunity.

DOE’s Office of Energy Justice and Equity is interested to hear from any applicants who have skills, resources,and experience to offer in any of the five areas of expertise described above.Your organization can apply as an individual that is able to meet one or moreof he listed roles, or as part of a group of organizations.

DOE, led by EJE, will select the best consortium possible from the pool of interested organizations.

Why is REDI focused in the Gulf South? 

REDI Gulf South will serve as a pilot for this initiative in other regions of the U.S. that are likely to receive multiple BIL and IRA awards from different offices. As a national hub for energy production and industry and greenhouse gas emissions, the Gulf South is a vital place to implement decarbonization, green energy infrastructure, and manufacturing. There are already more than 40 DOE awards being negotiated in this region, each with a CBP.

Related to its history and industry, this region is also prominent in the Environmental Justice movement. Communities in the region pioneered citizen and community science and have fought for their right to know about environmental hazards and their right to a healthy environment where all people thrive. This region has both tradition and experience that positions it to work across sectors for a clean and just transition.

Why is REDI a Consortium? 

Community Benefits Plans are multi-faceted requiring a depth and breadth of knowledge and resources in five areas:

  1. Community engagement and trust earned through historical collaborations
  2. Labor engagement and workforce development
  3. Expertise and Experience with Community Benefits Agreement, Pore Space negotiations and agreements, Project Labor Agreements and other legal agreements relevant to clean energy projects 
  4. Experience with workforce and training program developments
  5. Experience with economic development and building relationships with foundations and donors.

It is unlikely that any one organization can meet all of these needs and so we aim to draw together a novel consortium that is able to specialize in particular area and interconnect resources in a way that best serves communities and DOE funded projects.

 

What is a Community Benefits Plan? 

Community benefits plansare requirements associated with Department of Energy funding awarded through BIL andIRA. CBPs help to ensure that DOE-funded projects provide concrete andlasting benefits to communities hosting energy projects in terms of

  • Community and workforce engagement practices
  • Good jobs
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility
  • Justice40, the effort to direct at least 40% of benefits from certain federal investments to US communities who are overburdened and under resourced

You can learn more about CBPs here: About Community Benefits Plans | Department of Energy

You can learn more about Justice40 here: Justice40 Initiative | Environmental Justice | The White House

What is a Regional Benefits Strategy?  

One key function of REDI will be to network communities, projects, and existing community benefit plans to identify strategic opportunities for developing effective benefits that serve disadvantaged communities by centralizing resources, developing shared training programs, and identifying common issues (e.g.,gaps in emergency management response, preparedness, and recovery) and effective strategies to address gaps and build on opportunities.   

We refer to this synergistic activity as a “Regional Benefits Strategy.” It can help streamline and guide how project developers plan and implement their CBPs by identifying priorities for investment and benefits that communities have expressed and can support the pooling of resources to maximize effectiveness. The Regional Benefits Strategy should reveal the unique needs of each community, while also identifying common strategies and goals, such as accessible and effective workforce training for disadvantaged communities.

This strategy should be developed with and for communities in the Gulf South and aims to minimize potential engagement fatigue by reducing the need to engage with every individual project developer. The strategy will be transparently developed, data- and community-driven, accessible, and publicly and freely available online.

What legal support  will REDI provide? 

Possible areas of legal support that REDI could provide are:

  1. Advice on best practices for the development and implementation of Community Advisory Boards.
  2. Advice on the development of formal agreements such as Project Labor Agreement and Community Benefits Agreements.
  3. For Carbon Storage support in understanding Pore Space rights and agreements.

How will REDI work with existing regional programs like Environmental Justice Thriving Community Technical Assistance Centers (EJTC TAC)? 

There are several existing centers in the region with funding from DOE and other agencies. REDI will share resources with these centers and collaborate with them to connect communities with their existing services. REDI will not duplicate services already available to communities but rather support communities in connecting with their services.

For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency’s TC TACs are excellent resources for learning about federal funding opportunities and grant development. REDI would connect communities with their grant support services rather than duplicating them.

Questions

If you have any questions, please contact ENERGYWERX: info@energywerx.org

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