“It’s pretty historic,” said Adam Guzzo, the program’s manager at the DOE. “It’s also really popular amongst state, local and tribal governments, particularly local governments, because ... it’s pretty flexible in its uses and so it really allows them to determine what is the most important use of these funds to meet our particular local needs.”
Georgia’s Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) received the state’s maximum allocation for distribution to smaller jurisdictions. The agency has 180 days to award the money to cities and counties that are not eligible for direct federal funding. Recipients will be selected using a formula that prioritizes disadvantaged communities in accordance with new federal guidance that seeks to target historically underserved communities, including those that are poor, rural, made up of racial minorities and overburdened by legacy pollution.
Kris Anderson, director of energy resources at GEFA, said the agency looks forward to administering the funds on behalf of Georgia communities that want to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and other clean energy projects.
Cities and counties that are eligible for direct funding have until April 30, 2024 to apply to the federal government for their allocations.
The funding was announced the same day the federal government released the Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5), a sweeping report that found the Southeast was among the most at-risk regions when it comes to the impacts of climate change, including more damaging storms, deadly heatwaves and floods.