/ Energy / Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN) Members Awarded $2.5 Million in Energy Future Grants To Enhance Clean Energy Solutions Across the Southeast U.S.

Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN) Members Awarded $2.5 Million in Energy Future Grants To Enhance Clean Energy Solutions Across the Southeast U.S.

Parul Dubey on April 15, 2024 - in Energy

ATLANTA  – The U.S. Department of Energy announced $27 million in financial and technical assistance awarded to 40 partner teams of states, local governments, and Tribes through the Energy Future Grants (EFG) Program. Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN) is excited that nine members of the network of 120 local and tribal governments secured over $2.5 million in EFG awards, signaling a significant step towards a brighter energy future for the Southeast. These grants will drive innovative projects to enhance clean energy solutions, foster community resilience, and promote equitable access to sustainable resources.

“This grant will enable us to strengthen our community’s resilience against climate change and other disruptions,” said Emily Barrett, Environment & Resilience Director with Central Pines Regional Council. “By establishing community resilience hubs, we can ensure that all residents have access to reliable power and essential resources, especially during emergencies.”

The awarded projects reflect the dedication and ingenuity of SSDN members across various regions:

EmPOWER Georgia: A Tri-City Alliance for Scalable, Equitable, and Innovative Clean Energy Solutions

Led by the cities of Decatur, Atlanta, and Savannah, this initiative focuses on developing deployment-ready blueprints for three clean energy innovations. These innovations prioritize community benefits, including energy savings for disadvantaged households, job creation opportunities, and increased energy resilience against severe weather events.

Building Community Resilience Through Regional Connections and Energy Investments, State of North Carolina

The Central Pines Regional Council, including the Town of Chapel Hill, Town of Carrboro, City of Durham, Durham County, Chatham County and Orange County, will undertake a regional technical assessment and community planning process to establish a network of energy resilience hubs. These hubs will provide backup power generation during disasters and regularly serve as central access points for energy efficiency and sustainability resources.

Greater Richmond Region Energy Savings Action Hub Planning Project

The project aims to develop a deployment-ready “Energy Savings Action Hub” program in Richmond, Virginia. This program will offer comprehensive home energy retrofit assistance, including audits, contractor referrals, access to incentives, and project financing.

Energy Future Grants have also been awarded to both Clearwater and Orlando, Florida to drive innovative projects that enhance clean energy solutions. Clearwater is creating an e-mobility roadmap for Pinellas County to reduce emissions and improve air quality, aiming for equitable access to clean mobility. Orlando plans to install energy-efficient appliances in affordable housing for previously or at-risk unhoused tenants, developed with state, county, and non-profit collaboration. Community outreach with multi-lingual services and childcare will support the initiative.

“The support from SSDN’s Local Infrastructure Hub has been critical in our success. Through their expertise and guidance, we could navigate the grant application process effectively,” said Laura Thomas, Sustainability Director at the City of Richmond, VA. “This grant will enable us to develop a program that addresses critical energy needs and enhances the quality of life for residents in the Greater Richmond region, helping ensure Richmond becomes the story of how the Inflation Reduction Act can transform a community.”

These projects exemplify SSDN members’ commitment to advancing sustainable practices and fostering community resilience in the Southeast. Three of these projects, including those in Georgia, Central Pines, and Richmond, received invaluable support from SSDN’s Local Infrastructure Hub (LIH). The LIH provided in-depth assistance in grant application processes, reinforcing SSDN’s commitment to facilitating impactful sustainability initiatives. The LIH program is one of multiple ways in which SSDN Federal Programs, and its peer network, helps advance sustainability in the southeast. SSDN’s Federal Programs provide broad-based support including  grant matchmaking and direct technical assistance to communities in identifying, applying, and managing federal funding. The successful award to the Greater Richmond Region Energy Savings Action Hub Planning Project was based on groundwork developed through the “Richmond Federal Climate Convening” and “matchmaker” support of SSDN. 

SSDN congratulates its members on their remarkable achievements and looks forward to the positive impact these projects will have on building sustainable and resilient communities across the Southeast. 

For more information about SSDN and its initiatives, including the Local Infrastructure Hub, please visit: www.southeastsdn.org/programs/ssdns-federal-programs/local-infrastructure-hub-cohorts/.

About SSDN

The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN) is a collaborative network of local government sustainability professionals dedicated to advancing sustainability initiatives in the Southeastern United States. Through knowledge sharing, capacity building, and collaborative action, SSDN members work towards creating more sustainable, equitable, and resilient communities.


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