Nov 2 -- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces three public meetings of the Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB). The meetings will be conducted in a virtual format via webcast. The purpose of the meetings will be for the EFAB to provide workgroup updates and work products for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund charge. Written public comments may be provided in advance. No oral public comments will be accepted during the meetings.
The meetings will be held on:
November 17, 2022, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m ET
December 1, 2022, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET
December 15, 2022, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET
Written statements should be received by November 10, 2022 (for the November 17 meeting), November 25, 2022 (for the December 1 meeting), and December 8, 2022 (for the December 15 meeting), so that the information can be made available to the EFAB for its consideration prior to the meeting.
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GHGRF). The GHGRF includes: (1) $7 billion for competitive grants to enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy or benefit from zero-emission technologies, including distributed technologies on residential rooftops, and carry out other greenhouse gas emission reduction activities; (2) nearly $12 billion for competitive grants to eligible entities to provide direct and indirect financial and technical assistance to projects that reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions; and (3) $8 billion for competitive grants to eligible entities to provide direct and indirect financial and technical assistance to projects that reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in low-income and disadvantaged communities. These $27 billion are available to EPA to award grants until September 30, 2024.
EPA seeks the advice of EFAB regarding the following charge questions. For each question, EFAB should provide a range of options (including research and literature references and other resources where available), outlining their advantages and disadvantages.
To the extent that the analysis needs to be differentiated depending on the three different GHGRF funding streams listed above, EPA welcomes feedback on considerations specific to each.
a. Environmental Justice / Definition of “low-income and disadvantaged communities”
i. What considerations should EPA take into account in defining “low-income” and/or “disadvantaged” communities in order to ensure fair access/that the funding benefits disadvantaged communities?
ii. How can EPA ensure that communities and organizations who have received little or no funds in the past receive priority consideration for funding? How could EPA identify the low-income and disadvantaged communities it should prioritize for greenhouse gas and other air pollution reduction investments?
iii. What kinds of technical and/or financial assistance should GHGRF funding recipients provide to ensure that low-income and disadvantaged communities are able to be direct or indirect beneficiaries of GHGRF funding? Please identify supports that could help communities with project implementation.
b. Program Efficiency
i. How can the GHGRF grant competition be designed so that funding is highly leveraged (i.e., each dollar of federal funding mobilizes multiple dollars of private funding)? How can the funding be used to maximize “additionality” (i.e., the extent to which funding catalyzes new projects that would not otherwise occur)? How can EPA balance the need for grants for capacity building and short-term results with financial structures that will allow capital to be recycled over time? Where (if at all) is it appropriate to impose sustainability requirements on direct or indirect beneficiaries of GHGRF funding?
ii. Are there programs/structures at the federal or state level that could effectively complement the GHGRF? How can EPA best leverage the GHGRF to support lasting, long-term (beyond 2024) transformation of the clean energy and climate finance ecosystem, especially for disadvantaged communities, and greenhouse gas and other air pollution reductions?
II. Program Structure
a. Eligible Recipients
i. Who could be eligible entities and/or indirect recipients under the GHGRF? What should the thresholds for deployment be – both amount and timing – for GHGRF funding by these entities? Please provide references regarding the total capital deployed by these entities into clean energy and climate projects.
ii. What eligible entities and/or indirect recipients would best enable funds to reach disadvantaged communities? What are their challenges and opportunities and how can EPA maximize the use of these channels?
b. Eligible Projects
i. What types of projects/sectors/market segments could EPA prioritize for funding through the eligible recipients?
ii. Considering each major project type/sector/market segment, discuss: 1. What are the barriers to private sector capital? 2. Please provide any citations to relevant case studies in low-income and disadvantaged communities, in terms of emissions reductions and other benefits, including cost effectiveness, wealth creation, economic empowerment, workforce development, etc. 3. What project-level gaps could the GHGRF fill for each type of project? What form could capital take to fill these gaps? Please provide references that analyze the deal-level economics for the various types of projects, including whether and how these may vary by geography. 4. Beyond assembling the capital stack for a deal, what other barriers and constraints exist that could constrict the pipeline of successful projects? What program strategies are needed to respond to these barriers and constraints?
iii. What types of contracting vehicles and structures will best support rapid deployment of clean technology solutions and direct involvement of the private sector, including in supporting disadvantaged communities?
c. Structure of Funding
i. Are there any potential program design requirements that would impact the ability of recipients to use the GHGRF program funds? How could EPA address these issues through program design? How could recipients comply with relevant federal requirements? How can EPA streamline the distribution of funds so that applicable federal and state review can be accomplished in a coordinated and efficient manner?
III. Execution, Reporting, & Accountability
a. Given the tight timeline for implementation of the funds, what are key steps that EPA could take in the short- (next 180 days), medium- (next two years before funds expire in 2024), and long-term (beyond 2024)?
b. What types of requirements could EPA establish to ensure the responsible implementation and oversight of the funding?
c. What mechanisms could eligible recipients adopt, including governance as well as other mechanisms, to ensure that their applications and subsequent implementation efforts ensure: (1) accountability to low-income and disadvantaged communities; (2) greenhouse gas emission reductions; and (3) the leveraging and recycling of the grants?
EFAB Charge: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (pdf) https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2022-10/GHGRF%20Charge%20101922.pdf
EFAB meeting notice: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-23796
EFAB website: https://www.epa.gov/waterfinancecenter/efab