Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit


Funding Tools for Resilient Energy

Depending upon which options municipalities, utilities, or individuals implement or take in an effort to utilize equitable resilient energy and electric power sector measures, various financing or funding options may be made available. These sources can come from a variety of places, including the federal government, nonprofits, private businesses, local governments, and more. It is important that all those involved in developing a community’s energy resilience take advantage of all the funding opportunities that may be available.

Lessons Learned

  • Public-private partnerships are a likely source of funding and should be sought out when looking to fund energy resilience.
  • Energy systems often create economic benefits for partners involved, which often incentivizes investments in these types of projects and can be used as a bartering tool.


Related Resources

Solar Works DC

The District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment’s (DOEE) Solar For All Program is an example of a city government working with local contractors to provide Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems at no cost to District residents who meet the income-restricted qualifications. The District is funding the Solar For All Program through money generated by the generation of renewable energy certificates (RECs), which can be earned through the D.C. RPS program. To qualify for the Solar for All Program, the household must be below 80% of the Adjusted Median Income (AMI) for D.C. Through this program, DOEE has been partnering with several organizations to install solar on single-family homes and develop community solar projects to benefit renters and residents in multi-family buildings. Offsite community solar provides the benefits of solar to residents who cannot install systems on their own homes but can receive credit on their electricity bill by participating. Under Solar for All, the Solar Works DC Program was launched to educate and train low-income District residents on opportunities available in the solar industry and provide increased solar capacity in the District while reducing energy costs for qualifying low-income homeowners.

New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank Grant and Loan Financing Program Guide

Created using $200 million of Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) — the New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank (ERB) provides funding for new or retrofitted distributed energy resources (DER) technologies that allow facilities to continue to operate at critical load in the event of losing power because of extreme weather. A grant and loan-providing entity, based on the model of state green banks, and a separate $3 million energy storage program, will fund renewable generation plus batteries for critical infrastructure resilience. Similar levels of funding are expected to continue over the next four years.

Maryland Resiliency Hub Grant Program

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) created a $5 million Resiliency Hub Grant Program (for FY 2019) to provide funding for the construction of community resilience hubs with solar power and battery storage. The program provides funding to microgrid developers to offset some of the costs to build a resilience hub in high-density, low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in Maryland. The program ranks applications based upon the ratio of low- and moderate-income people served. The program defines “resilience hubs” as community facilities “designed to provide emergency heating and cooling capability, refrigeration of temperature-sensitive medications and milk from nursing mothers, plug power for charging of cell phones and computer batteries, and emergency lighting.” Under this program, the purpose of a resilience hub is to provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy during power grid outages and solar power investments in at-risk communities that can also serve to reduce the cost of electricity to the hosting site during normal grid operation.

Port of Long Beach, California Microgrid

In early 2018 the Port of Long Beach, in conjunction with Schneider Electric, began planning a microgrid Solar Photovoltaic (PV) and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project (“the project”) to enhance the reliability and resiliency of the port’s electricity supply, and reduce the port’s carbon footprint, while simultaneously strengthening local workforce development initiatives, and providing paid, on-the-job training to port workers. By powering the port’s electric terminal equipment and reducing its reliance on diesel generators and the grid, the project reduces the port’s GHG emissions footprint and criteria air pollutant emissions. The project’s implementation will use union labor from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, with paid training hours to fill workers’ knowledge gaps in installing comparable microgrids. Moreover, the project enlists and provides an educational experience to students from the University of California, Irvine’s Advanced Power and Energy program, who analyze its performance data. Funding for the plan comes from a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC), combined with $2.12 million in matched funds from the Port of Long Beach. The grant requires that the project demonstrate benefits to electricity customers in the local grid in the form of enhanced reliability, lower costs, or improved safety. An overriding objective of CEC grant projects, and therefore this one specifically, is to “lead to technological advancement and breakthroughs to overcome barriers to achieving the state’s statutory energy goals.” As such, the project must document lessons learned in implementation and maintenance in promotion of replicability of similar projects, and the commercialization of microgrids more broadly.

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