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$10.7 Billion in Electric Sector Funding Announced – BEL Commits to Provide Support

The Beneficial Electrification League (BEL) is providing comprehensive support to public power utilities to implement clean energy projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and to maximize the impact of IRA direct/elective pay tax credits while the window is open. BEL is uniquely positioned to facilitate the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act in the public power sector. This is due to our ongoing support for electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, joint action agencies, and generation and transmission cooperatives, collectively comprising thousands of utilities.

Our primary focus is helping secure funding through IRA Section 22004, known as "Empowering Rural America (New ERA)," and its sister program, "Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE)," and state-level 40101(d) programs while leveraging use of IRA direct pay tax credits. BEL is also actively engaged in a variety of other Federal programs, including assisting tribes via their electric providers on Bureau of Indian Affairs and DOE electrification programs, and supporting state cooperatives and municipal utilities in Appalachia to modernize electric systems and lead to more reliable, affordable, resilient, and energy-efficient utilities.

Background on USDA PACE and New Era Program

On May 16, the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced nearly $10.7 billion in federal funding for rural electric cooperatives, the largest federal investment in rural electric infrastructure since electrification 1936.

BEL President Keith Dennis believes this funding will be central to advancing the goals of beneficial electrification.

“As agencies roll out their infrastructure programs, BEL has focused on providing utility partners actionable analysis and practical next steps. Thanks to generous supporters, we are committing significant resources to ensuring broad, equitable access to this funding for any utility seeking to invest in their systems,” said Keith Dennis.

“Investments in the grid are investments in rural communities and improved quality of life; we are honored to be in a position to partner with the electric sector to implement this program.”

The USDA’s Rural Utilities Service has a total of $10.7B in funding available under the IRA:

  • Empowering Rural America (“New ERA”) makes $9.7 billion available for loans, grants, loan modifications and other financial assistance to support the purchase of renewable energy systems, zero-emission systems and carbon capture systems (Section 22004). Funding also may be used to deploy these systems or to make energy-efficiency improvements to generation and transmission systems of eligible entities. Read more in the New Era Notice of Funding Opportunity is available here!

Don't have time to read the New Era Notice of Funding Opportunity?

Read our New Era NOFO summary memo here

  • Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) provides $1 billion in RUS loans for developing renewable energy infrastructure (Section 22001). The funding is available to renewable-energy developers and electric service providers, including municipals, cooperatives, and investor-owned and Tribal utilities to help finance large-scale solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower projects and energy storage in support of renewable energy systems. The PACE Notice of Funding Opportunity is available here!

Don't have time to read the PACE Notice of Funding Opportunity?

Read our PACE NOFO summary memo here

The PACE and New ERA application window has officially closed. BEL is grateful that we had the opportunity to help support the USDA and its applicants through the Letter of Intent phase. We have already learned of applicants moving to the next phase and we plan to continue to support applicants through the duration.

If you are part of an electric cooperative, municipal utility, or tribal energy stakeholder who may apply for USDA funding, please email infrastructure@be-league.org or signup here to become part of our cohort receiving updates on the program and available resources.