Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize Funding Opportunity

November 24, 2021 | Annabelle Swift, Associate, CEBN

The impacts of climate change have not fallen evenly across the U.S., with low-income populations and populations of color facing disproportionately higher exposure to pollution and risk. These communities have also been full of innovators and change-makers, but have historically lacked access to resources from clean energy and climate initiatives. The Biden Administration has launched the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of climate investment benefits to disadvantaged communities and inform equitable research, development, and deployment within DOE. As a result, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Department of Energy (DOE) have created a new, cross-cutting funding opportunity to support community partnerships. 

The Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize will provide a total of $2.5 million in funding to up to 10 teams to advance ideas for a just and equitable transition. The winners of Phase One will receive cash awards of $200,000 each. Phase One winners will be eligible to participate in a Phase Two of the prize 12 months later, during which time it is anticipated that a total of $500,000 will be awarded to up to three teams. 

The Clean Energy Business Network is a nationwide nonprofit that serves as the small business voice for the clean energy economy. Our team is working with the Department of Energy and Small Business Administration to help ensure that federal grant dollars for clean energy technology innovation and economic growth reach a more representative range of the U.S. population. We want to make sure every eligible applicant knows about these funding opportunities and receives the support needed to successfully compete for these funds.

Learn more and get a head start on applying with the resources below.

Sign up for CEBN updates and support here.

Funding details:

  • This funding opportunity is intentionally broad. Innovators and activists in the climate and clean energy space are encouraged to apply with ideas they know will be the most impactful for their community. Both proposed and ongoing projects will be considered.  
  • NREL and DOE will be using the Justice 40 definitions for “undeserved communities.” 
  • The Department of Energy hosted an informational webinar on this prize in late November. Watch the recording here.

The application, which consists of a concept letter and a short video, is due on February 25th. 

Event Calendar:

  • Stakeholder Town Hall: An Equitable Energy Transition 
  • Ideation and Teaming Event
  • Last-Minute Questions and Office Hours
  • February 25th, 2022: Applications Due

Get a Head Start:

  • Avoid the last-minute paperwork scramble. Register your business now with DUNS, SAM, Grants.gov and PAMS so you’re ready to submit when the time comes.

Stay tuned for more events to be announced in the weeks to come! You can sign up for email updates here.