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Energizing Rural Communities Prize awarded to CERTs and White Earth Tribal & Community College

Congratulations to all five Minnesota projects receiving the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Energizing Rural Communities Prize!

CERTs is thrilled to be included with our partner White Earth Tribal and Community College for our Rural Clean Energy Training Pathways project. 

Minnesota projects to receive prizes besides CERTs + WETCC:

  • Making Mr. CEF'S (Minnesota Rural Clean Energy Finance), Capital Stack Burger, Motley, MN
  • Region Nine Development Commission, St. James, MN
  • Smart Grid, Magnolia, MN
  • The Morris Model Partnership (, Morris, MN

More about the Energizing Rural Communities Prize

The $15 million 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. 

This prize is part of the $1 billion Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) Program, created by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED). The ERA Program supports projects that improve the resilience, reliability, safety, availability, and environmental performance of energy systems in rural or remote areas of the U.S. with populations of no more than 10,000 people. 

Through workshops and community input, the ERA Program has found that two of the biggest barriers to improving energy systems in rural or remote areas are developing the necessary partnerships and securing financing. 

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. 


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