Shaheen Introduces Legislation to Help Rural Communities Benefit from Investments in Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency
(Washington, DC) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced The Energy Circuit Riders Act, legislation to help ensure communities in rural America can take advantage of historic investments in energy efficiency and clean energy. Shaheen’s bill would establish a new grant program within USDA Rural Development to help eligible entities hire local, on-the-ground experts that travel to rural communities and provide assistance on projects that can help save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“From the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to the Inflation Reduction Act, we’ve made historic investments in energy efficiency and clean energy and it’s critical that rural communities take advantage of these resources to the fullest extent,” said Senator Shaheen. “We’ve seen what these programs can do in the Granite State to lower costs for families and protect our environment—it's time we make sure all of our communities benefit.”
These Energy Circuit Riders would work with multiple local governments in rural areas to provide assistance, such as energy planning, energy audits, grant writing, identifying federal, state, local and utility-based energy incentives and more. The legislation is modeled after a successful Energy Circuit Rider program in New Hampshire run by Clean Energy NH, a nonprofit based in Concord, New Hampshire.
“The IIJA and IRA are transformative investments in America's transition to zero carbon technologies, but if we want communities with fewer resources to receive these funds, they need help. Energy Circuit Riders can provide unbiased advice to communities, assist them in accessing federal grants and rebates, and deploy clean energy in local communities.” said Sam Evans Brown, Executive Director of Clean Energy New Hampshire.
Shaheen’s legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators, Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). The legislation is also endorsed by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
Shaheen leads legislative action in the U.S. Senate to support energy efficiency projects and initiatives. Recently, Shaheen visited Exeter's Town Office to highlight a federal energy efficiency grant from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), commonly called the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, coming to Exeter and how it is leveraging efficiency and weatherization funding from NHSaves. In addition, Shaheen successfully included critical provisions of her energy efficiency bill – the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESIC) – with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) in the IIJA. Shaheen was also a key supporter of the Inflation Reduction Act, which included provisions for clean energy and climate investments in New Hampshire.