October 18, 2023
2:00 pm (EDT) - 3:30 pm (EDT)
USDA Update 2:00-2:30
Keith Dennis, BEL – Intro and results from BEL effort to assist with USDA PACE and New ERA Program (5 minutes)
Clare Sierawski, USDA RUS providing an overview of the overall response to the USDA PACE and New ERA Program (10 minutes)
Alex Hofmann, BEL Experience from PACE applicants who have moved to the full application state for PACE with potential applicant guest (5-10 minutes)
Discussion (will call on Michael for 1 – 2 minutes of Stowe experience).
Electric School Bus Update – 2:30-3:00
Tracy Warren, BEL, Update to the US EPA Rebate Program (up to 10 minutes)
Joe Sikes, Conoochee Electric Cooperative, experience from a cooperative that serves 10 electric buses (up to 10 mins)
Albert Burleigh, Bluebird Buses – ESB manufacturer Update (roughly 5 mins)
Other Updates and Successes – 3:00 until 3:30 at latest
DOE – ELECTRIC Deployment
• Energy Futures
Please join us for a general update call that will include the following three topic areas:
Topic 1: USDA Announces Record Interest in their PACE and New ERA Programs
USDA has released information on the number of proposals it has received for their New ERA and PACE programs [see USDA’s press release]. The Empowering Rural America Program (New ERA), for which $9.7 billion was made available, recently closed its application window and will release more information as it processes proposals. It received 157 proposals, totaling more than double the allocated program funding, accounting for more than 750 high-quality clean energy projects in rural communities. The Powering Affordable Clean Energy Program (PACE), for which $1 billion was made available, received over $7.8 billion in applications in Fiscal Year 2023 to fund new clean energy projects and energy storage in rural America.
BEL assisted many organizations with their New ERA proposals. Many of the applicants that we assisted did not share final submissions and numbers. Based on our general experience, we believe we provided significant support on applications supporting at least:
- 100 Projects
- 4,000 MW Solar
- 2,000 MW Wind
- 2,000 MW Storage
- $13B of total cost
- Grants $4B, Loan $8B
- Annual GHG Reduction 22M+ tons
- Total GHG Reduction at least a half a billion tons
We believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg for submissions as we are not able to discuss information in detail due confidentiality of stakeholders. Hear about next steps from BEL and USDA.
Topic 2: EPA Releases New Round of Electric School Bus Rebates
The EPA has released its second round of rebate funding for electric school buses! This program was popular in rural areas in the first round and thanks to support from CoBank and others, BEL is committed to helping those getting buses to apply and have great experiences for kids, parents, and drivers.
Our top three things to know about the program this year:
- The rebates for priority school districts are up to $345,000 per bus ($200,000 per bus for non-priority)
- The priority list has changed. Check to see if a school in your area is on the EPA 2023 School Priority List
- Applicants are now required to talk to their utilities before applying. We believe this conversation is helpful and should occur as early as possible.
- BEL has developed this simple resource, which includes a link to EPA’s Program Electric Utility Partnership Template: Talking to Your Utility about ESBs
The EPA Clean School Bus 2023 Rebate Program will be open from September 28, 2023 – January 31, 2024. EPA’s Web site for this program is here. Hear about next steps from BEL and stakeholders who worked through the program’s first round of funding.
Topic 3: Additional Infrastructure Funding Program Updates
Hear an update of BEL’s support to stakeholders across a variety of infrastructure programs.
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