Revitalizing America’s Energy Producing Communities 

Across America, the cities and towns that historically built their economies on fossil fuels have long sought opportunities to diversify their economies. Recently passed federal legislation will make these goals a reality, reinvesting in communities. 

With an eye to reshaping how America creates its energy independence, these communities are set to be the beneficiaries of enormous investments from new federal programs. 

How? From loans to grant programs, new legislation prioritizes communities where fossil fuel plants have shuttered. For instance: 

  • The Inflation Reduction Act authorizes $250 billion in loans to retool legacy energy infrastructure like transmission lines, refineries and power plants for the net-zero economy.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act offers a 10% increase in clean energy tax credits for wind or solar projects in places where a coal mine or power plant has closed or contracted.
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history ($21 Billion) by cleaning up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaiming abandoned mines, and capping orphaned oil and gas wells.
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law creates a $750 million grant program to support advanced energy technology manufacturing projects in coal communities 
  • The Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit (48C) program, established by the 2009 Recovery Act and expanded with a $10 billion investment under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, provides tax credits for projects that expand U.S. supply chains for clean energy technologies and critical materials for clean energy technology production, and for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions at industrial facilities. ($1.6 billion of this allocation is set aside for projects in coal communities). 

In addition, the Inflation Reduction Act addresses the needs of coal communities specifically by permanently extending federal Black Lung benefits for miners with black lung disease and their families. 

Applying to these programs may be challenging for under-resourced communities, but fortunately there is help. The State Funding Readiness Project provides free technical support to states implementing funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act  and Inflation Reduction Act in ways that advance climate equity priorities and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the Climate Program Portal maintains a technical assistance directory. 

Related stories:

Rural Communities to Benefit Big: Federal Dollars for the Clean Energy Transition 

Unleashing America’s Advanced Energy Future: Three Guides for Decisionmakers on how to use funding from the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act

How states can take advantage of federal infrastructure funds