With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now cleared to implement dozens of new programs designed to enable an equity-driven, multi-sector decarbonization strategy. One IRA-activated program that can support the needed scale of our efforts is the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, a $27 billion investment to spark equitable, community-driven projects that rapidly reduce the climate consequences of our economy.
As one of the newest additions to the Clean Air Act, the Fund will support low-income and disadvantaged communities, such as those referred to in the Justice40 Initiative, by financing zero-emission technologies and clean energy projects that demonstrate measurable reductions in greenhouse gases. Funding can be expected to be available between 2023-2024, but first the EPA must undertake the process required to develop the rules that will govern this brand new program by February 12, 2023.
At this stage in the policy development process, the EPA is currently requesting input from the public on a broad set of questions, such as how the Fund should be designed, how to prioritize projects, what entities can support successful decarbonization of communities, and other input to ensure the Fund’s success. A tremendous opportunity is on the table to prompt clean energy investments and support a growing clean energy workforce. However, there are still many questions that need answers to ensure the Fund produces measurable results.
How will it work? The EPA is tasked with distributing $27 billion by September 30, 2024 via a competitive grant program to Eligible Fund Recipients. Eligible Recipients include states and local governments as well as nonprofit, publicly funded or charitably supported capital providers that can provide rapid financial assistance for low- and zero-emission products, technologies and services.
The funds are to be used by Eligible Recipients to provide financial and technical help for Qualified Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Projects. Qualified Projects are any project, activity, or technology that reduces or avoids greenhouse gas emissions and assists communities in meeting emission reduction goals.
The Fund’s total of $27 billion will include:
- $7 billion for the rapid deployment of zero-emission technologies (this could include things like distributed, rooftop technologies and energy efficiency measures) while ensuring communities benefit from these investments.
- $11.97 billion is earmarked for direct financial and technical assistance while prioritizing projects that typically lack access to financing. Investments in this category can be used to help establish new or support existing entities that provide financial assistance for emissions reduction projects.
- $8 billion is specifically allocated for financial and technical assistance in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
- $30 million will go to the EPA to administer the Fund.
Community engagement is foundational to the success of any program, and there are many new considerations to take into account. From now through December 5, 2022, the EPA wants to hear from you, on everything from which organizations and projects should be eligible, to how low-income or disadvantaged communities are prioritized.
To submit comments on the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and to learn more about the program, follow these five simple instructions:
- Visit www.regulations.gov
- In the search bar, copy and paste Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2022-0859
- Click on “Memo Opening Docket for Public Access” and review the memo for more background information.
- Next, review the “Fund Request for Information Final” for specific instructions on how to submit comments.
- Let Sustainable Pittsburgh know about your comments!