When the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed in 2022 it became the country’s largest investment in domestic energy production and manufacturing while maintaining a goal of reducing carbon emissions by about 40 percent by 2030.
Over the next decade, a lump sum of $369 billion will wend its way from the Federal coffers into various energy security and climate change programs. One of these programs is the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) that will allocate a total of $5 billion in grants to states, local governments, tribes, and territories to develop and implement ambitious plans for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other harmful pollutants.
States, local governments, and other eligible recipients of an initial $250 million, disseminated in 2023, are using the money to research and develop plans for their specific communities that will result in reducing emissions and increasing equitable outcomes. The deadline of March 1st for these preliminary climate action plans, or PCAPs, is fast approaching. The PCAPs are the basis for the program’s second phase where the communities will outline in very detailed plans, known as comprehensive climate action plans (CCAP), on how they would make use of the remaining $4.6 billion in funding set to be awarded from the CPRG.
“The IRA lays out an opportunity for communities to seek funding to assist programs and policies the communities want that otherwise may not have existed,” said Michael Gilley, Greenlink’s program manager. “The people who are putting together these PCAPs and CCAPs are doing the heaviest lifting and need all the assistance they can in order to get the money their communities need.”
The CPRG program is a huge opportunity for those on the receiving end to create inventories of their greenhouse gasses, figure out specific ways to get those numbers drastically down, ensure that the people benefiting from these reductions are equitable, and make sure they have the structure in place to turn that plan into action. That’s easier said than done.
The local government officials responsible for piecing together these very complex plans and applications may lack the necessary resources and support needed for submitting the CPRG grant applications in a timely or accurate way. Which would put the local communities at risk for not receiving their piece of the $4.6 billion in federal funding.
The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), a national nonprofit that connects sustainability experts from local governments to improve impact, pulled together a group of like minded organizations, including Greenlink Analytics, in order to provide support to those government officials putting together their CPRG applications. Together they are helping metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) across the country with various aspects of their plan development, data collection, grant writing, and more to improve chances for receiving grants from the CPRG program.
Some of the details of the CPRG grant calls for specific plans related to reduction of GHG emissions and benefits analysis for low-income, disadvantaged communities. Greenlink is specifically helping these MSAs by providing some basic GHG inventory data, carbon intensity forecasts, clean energy job forecasts, access to Greenlink Equity Map (GEM), and additional correlational analysis.
”We want to help as many MSAs as possible assemble high quality action plans, affording them the opportunity to be competitive for the implementation grants,” says Etan Gumerman, lead analyst for Greenlink. “Greenlink’s readily able to provide climate data which would otherwise require these organization to spend significant time and money ”
By the conclusion of this project, Greenlink will have provided over 50 individual reports of GHG data, carbon intensity forecasts, workforce calculations, along with access to critical low-income, disadvantaged communities information for over 16 local governments across the country, including Birmingham-Hoover, AL., Lexington-Fayette, KY., PIMA county, AZ., San Francisco, CA., and over 120 associated counties.
The following organizations are collaborating to provide this assistance: