The Department of Energy’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP) was recently established in 2022 through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to work with state and local organizations to significantly accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies, catalyze local economic development, and create jobs. The Office also supports the Justice40 initiative, which is intended to reduce energy costs and avoid pollution through place-based strategies involving a wide range of government, community, business, and other stakeholders.
SCEP sits under the Office of the Under Secretary of Infrastructure, which was created by BIL and established in February 2022. SCEP received approximately $10B from the Inflation Reduction Act and $6B from BIL for programs.
SCEP’s overarching goal is to be the catalyst for transforming the nation’s energy landscape. It envisions a future where clean energy technologies are accessible to all, where communities thrive economically, where energy costs are manageable, and where pollution is significantly reduced. In essence, SCEP aims to:
- Accelerate Clean Energy Deployment: SCEP seeks to expedite the adoption of clean energy technologies across the U.S. It recognizes the role of governments, communities, businesses, and stakeholders in driving this transition.
- Catalyze Local Economic Development and Job Creation: A key focus of SCEP is the promotion of local economic development and job creation. By supporting clean energy initiatives, SCEP aims to bolster economic growth at the community level, providing job opportunities for residents.
- Reduce Energy Costs: Energy affordability is a critical aspect of SCEP’s mission. By improving energy efficiency and embracing clean energy solutions, the office endeavors to make energy costs more manageable for households and businesses.
- Mitigate Pollution: SCEP is committed to reducing pollution and its adverse effects on the environment and human health. Through clean energy adoption and energy efficiency measures, it contributes to a cleaner, healthier future.
SCEP extends the capacity and capabilities of states, tribes, local governments, schools, and community-serving organizations to instill high-impact, self-sustaining clean energy initiatives that focus on low-income and disadvantaged communities. This is accomplished through the management and oversight of $16B in formula grants, competitive grant awards, consumer rebate grants, and technical assistance.
SCEP boasts a diverse portfolio of programs, each with a specific focus and impact:
- Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP): For over four decades, WAP has been instrumental in enhancing the energy efficiency of low-income households by providing resources for home energy retrofits, insulation, and modernization. Check out CEBN’s blog on WAP here.
- State Energy Program (SEP): This program provides funding and technical assistance to states, territories, and D.C. to develop and implement tailored energy initiatives. It enhances energy security, promotes state-led clean energy projects, and makes energy more affordable for residents.
SCEP has been able to evolve and expand its programs as a result of the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which invests over $370B into clean energy and climate change mitigation efforts. As a result, SCEP has introduced new programs and initiatives to capitalize on this opportunity:
- Home Energy Rebates: The program helps households save money on energy bills, upgrade to clean energy equipment, and reduce indoor and outdoor air pollution by providing rebates for improved efficiency and clean energy equipment.
- Community Energy Programs (CEP): These programs provide support and resources to local and tribal governments, public schools, nonprofits, workforce development groups, and other community-serving entities.
CEP programs include:
The State and Local Solution Center serves as a valuable resource hub for states, local governments, and K-12 school districts. It offers a wide array of technical assistance resources, funding opportunities, and events to support organizations in achieving their energy efficiency and renewable energy goals.
SCEP’s Resource Hub is dedicated to organizing technical assistance tools and resources around the Energy Efficiency Leadership Framework, which identifies barriers to significant energy and cost savings. This framework helps stakeholders navigate the landscape of clean energy initiatives and maximize their impact.
Want to know more about BIL? Explore additional entries to the Breaking Down the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law series to discover programs funded through this $1.2T investment. CEBN’s cleantech funding database includes even more opportunities.