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Energy & Sustainability Washington Update — August 2023

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law & Inflation Reduction Act Opportunities

Visit our Energy Funding Matrix for a roundup of all of the various clean energy opportunities. We update the matrix on a biweekly basis and welcome any inquiries about how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, along with other relevant federal opportunities, may impact your business or organization.   

IRA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Opens Two Funding Opportunities

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), a $27 billion program created by the Inflation Reduction Act, recently announced two funding opportunities totaling $20 billion. The deadline to apply to these grant competitions is October 12, 2023.  These two opportunities are in addition to the $7 billion Solar for All Competition announced in June. From the Environmental Protection Agency:

  • The $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund will provide grants to support two-to-three national clean financing institutions, enabling them to partner with the private sector to provide accessible, affordable financing for tens of thousands of clean technology projects nationwide. These national nonprofits will enable individuals, families, nonprofits, governments, small businesses, and others to access the capital they need to deploy a diverse suite of clean technology projects in their homes, businesses, and communities, which will reduce pollution while creating jobs, accelerating progress toward energy security, and lowering energy costs. And by mobilizing significant amounts of private capital, these national nonprofits will ensure that every dollar of public funds generates several times more in private investment. At least 40% of the funds from the National Clean Investment Fund will be dedicated to low-income and disadvantaged communities, including those that are rural communities, Tribal communities, communities with environmental justice concerns, energy communities, and persistent poverty counties. The deadline to apply to this grant competition is October 12, 2023. 
  • The $6 billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator will provide grants to support two-to-seven hub nonprofit organizations, enabling them to provide funding and technical assistance to public, quasi-public, not-for-profit, and non-profit community lenders working in low-income and disadvantaged communities—supporting the goal that every community in the country has access to the capital they need to deploy clean technology projects. These hub nonprofits will enable hundreds of community lenders—such as community development financial institutions (including Native CDFIs), credit unions, green banks, housing finance agencies, and minority depository institutions—to finance clean technology projects in low-income and disadvantaged communities while also mobilizing private capital and building the enduring capacity of community lenders to finance these projects for years to come. 100% of the funds from the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator will be dedicated to low-income and disadvantaged communities.

DOE Proposal for Energy Efficient Water Heaters

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed new energy efficiency standards for water heaters that, when finalized, will take effect in 2029. Reflecting input from industry stakeholders, the proposed standards would require the most common-sized electric water heaters to achieve efficiency gains with heat pump technology and gas-fired instantaneous water heaters to achieve efficiency gains through condensing technology. According to DOE, the proposed standards would save consumers $11.4 billion on their energy and water bills every year. 

State-Based Home Energy Efficiency Contractor Training Program

Funding for states to train residential energy contractors was announced by the DOE to provide $150 million in grants for states to reduce the cost of training, testing, and certifying residential energy efficiency and electrification contractors. Also referred to as Contractor Training Grants, the program will provide states with funds to develop and implement workforce training programs for residential efficiency and electrification projects to help consumers save money on their energy bills. The Administrative and Legal Requirements Document provides details on this funding opportunity.

New DOE Voucher Program to Bring Innovative Technologies to Market

The DOE Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), in collaboration with the Offices of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), announced a new Voucher Program, which will provide $27.5 million in in-kind commercialization support to organizations that have a role in bringing innovative energy technologies to market nation-wide. This new program is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as part of the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). The Voucher Program leverages DOE’s recent partnership intermediary agreement with ENERGYWERX, which will work directly with program participants and facilitate the third-party support needed to accelerate commercialization of their clean energy technology. The Voucher Program currently offers four kinds of support: 1) Pre-Demonstration Commercialization Support; 2) Performance Validation, Modeling, and Certification Support; 3) Clean Energy Demonstration Project Siting/Permitting Support; and 4) EERE Commercialization Support. DOE intends to open the program for submissions later in summer 2023.

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R. Neal Martin

ML Strategies - Senior Director of Government Relations

R. Neal Martin is a Senior Director of Government Relations at ML Strategies. He focuses on transportation, infrastructure, clean energy, trade, and federal appropriations, leveraging his many years of experience in government and government relations.