WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Friday announced $20 billion in investments to help finance clean energy projects such as installing electric vehicle charging stations, retrofitting homes to make them energy efficient, and providing communities with battery backup power.
The investment, across two grant competitions, aims to help communities that have faced historic underinvestment, senior administration officials said.
Vice President Kamala Harris touted the investment Friday afternoon in remarks at Coppin State University in Baltimore, a historically Black university, alongside Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and members of Congress.
She said that the climate crisis is one of the most urgent matters, touching on how communities in the U.S. are facing droughts, flooding and wildfire smoke.
“The climate crisis impacts everybody, but it does not impact all communities equally,” Harris said. “Poor communities, rural communities, native communities and communities of color are often the hardest hit and the least able to recover.”
The two competitions — the National Clean Investment Fund and the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator — will allocate $14 billion and $6 billion, respectively, for the projects. The funding is part of the EPA's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, an investment funded through last year's Inflation Reduction Act, a senior administration official said.
Both competitions will focus funding on low-income and disadvantaged communities, including rural and tribal communities and those with concerns about environmental justice, the White House said. At least 40 percent of funds in the $14 billion competition and all of funds in the $6 billion competition will flow to these communities, according to the White House.
Harris said the investments will also help families' budgets by improving energy efficient systems and benefit public health by promoting clean air and water.
Applications are due Oct. 12, with the aim of making selection decisions by March 2024 to allow grantees to start working on projects as early as July 2024, a senior administration official said. The EPA will host public webinars on the competitions in the coming weeks.
Before the announcement, Harris and Regan were briefed by local climate leaders.
Harris's remarks cap off the Biden administration's Investing in America tour, a weeks-long blitz by senior administration officials who traveled across the country to tout the president's economic agenda.