Front Porch Blog

Rural communities won billions of dollars to fund renewable energy

Now, the USDA needs your input on how to make Inflation Reduction Act funding accessible to your community

The Inflation Reduction Act will help bring renewable energy to rural America. Stock photo

Last year, rural advocates won big in the Inflation Reduction Act by securing billions of dollars for rural communities to implement clean energy. Now, the USDA Rural Utilities Service is asking for input on how to set up and roll out these funding programs.

This input will be gathered through a series of 13 virtual roundtable discussions from Jan 17-26, with each one targeted at a specific region or group of stakeholders. The roundtables will gather feedback on Inflation Reduction Act Sections 22001 and 22004, which respectively provide $1 billion in forgivable loans for renewable energy projects in rural communities and $9.7 billion for electric co-ops to transition to clean energy.

Your input will help guide the Rural Utility Service on how to structure these programs and help RUS staff understand the priorities of community members, businesses, nonprofits, local governments and local utility representatives.

The Rural Power Coalition, which is a group of advocacy organizations that includes Appalachian Voices, drafted a list of potential talking points that speakers are welcome to highlight in their remarks during the roundtable sessions. Your voice could help RUS staff determine how to balance funding awards to small and large applicants, how to calculate emissions reductions and how to prioritize investments in disadvantaged rural communities.

These public roundtables could be the last (and best!) opportunity for rural communities to have their voices heard on how these major investments in clean energy transition will be implemented in rural communities across the country. Interested participants can register for any of these sessions to listen in, but should consider focusing on one or two roundtable sessions for providing input to allow for more voices to be heard.

Please see the RUS roundtable sessions listed below and sign up to attend via the webinar registration link.

Key resources:

USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) IRA Roundtables

Highlighted Listening Sessions

Regional Listening Sessions

    Region 1: AL, CT, DE, FL, GA, KY, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VT, VA, WV

  • Electrical Generation & Transmission entities in RUS Region 1
    Tuesday, January 17, 2023 | 10:00 a.m. EST
    Webinar Registration
  • Distribution Cooperatives in RUS Region 1
    Friday, January 20, 2023 | 11:00 a.m. EST
    Webinar Registration
  • Region 2: AK, AR, HI, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MI, MS, MO, NE, OK, TX

  • Region 2 G&T Entities
    Friday, January 20, 2023 | 3:30 p.m. EST
    Webinar Registration
  • Distribution Cooperatives in RUS Region 2
    Tuesday, January 24, 2023 | 11:00 a.m. EST
    Webinar Registration
  • Region 3: AZ, CA, CO, ID, MN, MT, NV, NM, ND, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI, WY and all Territories

  • Region 3 G&T Entities
    Monday, January 23, 2023 | 3:00 p.m. EST
    Webinar Registration
  • Region 3 Distribution Cooperatives
    Thursday, January 26, 2023 | 4:00 p.m. EST
    Webinar Registration

Additional Sessions

Originally from southern Ohio, Bri has been organizing with communities in Tennessee since joining Appalachian Voices in 2017. She enjoys foraging, growing things and bringing fancy desserts to porch sits.


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