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Prizes and In-Kind Support to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, Individuals, Agencies, and Academic Institutions to Benefit Rural and Remote Communities

Energizing Rural Communities Prize


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);

Important Dates
Deadline: 05/24/23 Save

Grant Description
Prizes and in-kind support to USA and territories nonprofit organizations, for-profits, individuals, government agencies, and academic institutions for initiatives to benefit rural and remote communities. Funding is intended for projects to improve energy systems and advance clean energy demonstration projects. In addition to cash prizes, applicants will also receive mentorship services.

The Energizing Rural Communities Prize challenges individuals and organizations to develop partnership plans or innovative financing strategies to help rural or remote communities improve their energy systems and advance clean energy demonstration projects. 

The Energizing Rural Communities Prize has two tracks, both following a two-phase timeline: 

  • The Partner track—with a $10 million cash prize pool—will support plans to connect rural or remote communities to government funding, technical assistance, or a network of partners that can help implement clean energy demonstration projects. 
  • The Finance track—with a $5 million cash prize pool—will support plans to access capital or to develop community ownership models to help finance clean energy demonstration projects in rural or remote areas. 

This prize seeks to:

  • Demonstrate innovative and replicable partnership and financial mechanisms that act as initial steps toward clean energy projects.
  • Better prepare rural or remote communities to secure funding for clean energy projects, either through future Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) funding opportunities or other public or private funding sources.
  • Identify, understand, and further develop activities that prepare communities to complete clean energy projects.
  • Build trust and strengthen the networks between and within rural and remote communities in support of energy improvements aligned with DOE’s Justice40 priorities.

More about the prize tracks can be found at


Additional Eligibility Criteria
The competition is open only to private entities (for-profits and nonprofits), non-federal government entities such as states, counties, tribes, and municipalities, academic institutions, and individuals, subject to the requirements at

Pre-Proposal Conference
Join the OCED and NREL prize administration team for an introductory webinar on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. MT. This webinar will cover high-level details about the prize goals, structure, timeline, and strategies for developing a successful application. Staff will also answer remaining questions about the prize and the application process.

Complete the registration form to join the webinar:

Pre-Application Information
Key Dates
- Phase One Opens: March 1, 2023
- Phase One Closes: May 24, 2023
- Phase One Winner Announcement and Awards: July 2023
- Phase Two Opens: July 2023
- Phase Two Closes: July 2024
- Phase Two Winner Announcements and Awards: August 2024

All dates are anticipated and subject to change.

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant
Phase One winners will receive a cash prize of $100,000, mentorship, and will be eligible to compete in Phase Two. In Phase Two, winning competitors will be awarded an additional cash prize of $200,000 based on achievement of milestones and metrics demonstrating success, as proposed during Phase One. Phase Two competitors are expected to leverage prize funding to implement their plan developed in Phase One.

Contact Information
To apply: Click the "Solve this Challenge" on the Full Grant Text RFP.

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please subscribe by using the contact feature on the HeroX platform or message staff directly at

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