Klobuchar, Smith Announce Federal Funding to Lower Utility Costs, Transition to Clean Energy in Hennepin County, Duluth

WASHINGTON, D.C. [04/07/22]—Today, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-Minn.) announced that Duluth and areas in Hennepin County – including Minneapolis – were selected as part of a new federal program to help local governments create a path towards clean energy.

The program will provide direct support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop community-wide action plans that address local air pollution, energy resilience, utility costs and energy burdens, and provide long-term jobs. This new program – the Communities Local Energy Action Program (Communities LEAP) – will also provide technical assistance for communities to secure funding from other federal programs, such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

“Investments in clean energy are a true win-win – strengthening our economy while addressing the growing threat of climate change,” said Klobuchar. “As we work to transition to a clean energy economy, this funding will be critical to helping communities across Minnesota reliably access clean, low-cost energy.”

“I always say that when it comes to transitioning to a clean energy economy, we can lead or follow—and I think we should lead,” said Sen. Smith. “Transitioning to a clean energy economy isn’t just essential to reduce air pollution and combat climate change; it’s a huge economic opportunity for local communities in Minnesota and across the country. This new program will help Duluth, Hennepin County and Minneapolis take charge of their clean energy future while lowering energy costs for Minnesotans.” 

“We are grateful to be in partnership with the Department of Energy and the Local Energy Program,” said Jamez Staples, President & CEO of Renewable Energy Partners. “It is our intent to use the technical assistance to advance workforce equity and resilience for underserved communities in Minneapolis.” 

More information about the new program and selected communities is available here.