$250 Million to Tackle Climate Pollution Up for Grabs

Earlier this month, the Biden-Harris Administration announced it is making $250 million available to develop innovative strategies to cut climate pollution and build clean energy economies. These planning grants, through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are the first tranche of funding going to states, local governments, Tribes, and territories from the $5 billion Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) program created by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. The program provides flexible planning resources for states, Tribes, territories, and municipalities to develop and implement scalable solutions that protect people from pollution and advance environmental justice.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are eligible to receive $3 million in grant funds. In addition, each of the 67 most populous metropolitan areas in the country are eligible to receive $1 million for plans to tackle climate pollution locally. EPA is also making millions in noncompetitive planning grant funds available to territory and tribal governments. Later this year, EPA will launch a competition for $4.6 billion in funding to implement projects and initiatives included in these plans. States, cities, territories, and Tribes can also use this funding to develop strategies for using the other grant, loan, and tax provisions secured by President Biden’s historic legislation, including the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to achieve their clean energy, climate, and environmental justice goals.

SSEB’s member states and territories are encouraged to contact our office in order to discuss the application process for these funds.

About the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant Program

The CPRG planning grants will support states, territories, Tribes, municipalities and air agencies, in the creation of comprehensive, innovative strategies for reducing pollution and ensuring that investments maximize benefits, especially for low-income and disadvantaged communities. These climate plans will include:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions inventories;
  • Emissions projections and reduction targets;
  • Economic, health, and social benefits, including to low-income and disadvantaged communities;
  • Plans to leverage other sources of federal funding including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act;
  • Workforce needs to support decarbonization and a clean energy economy; and
  • Future government staffing and budget needs.

In program guidance released today, EPA describes how the Agency intends to award and manage CPRG funds to eligible entities, including states, metropolitan areas, Tribes, and territories.


Under the formula-based program for planning grants, the governments of all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are eligible for up to $3 million. Each state government will be expected to develop or update any existing climate action plan in collaboration with sub-state jurisdictions including air pollution control districts and large and small municipalities statewide, and to conduct meaningful engagement including with low income and disadvantaged communities throughout its jurisdiction.

Metropolitan Areas

To further EPA’s efforts to cover as much of the population as possible under regional planning grants, the 67 most populous metropolitan areas will be awarded $1 million each to develop regional planning grants with key stakeholders in their area. Communities that do not rank in the top 67 most populous areas will have opportunities to partner with their states and neighboring jurisdictions.

Territories & Tribes

The territories of Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands as well as federally recognized Indian Tribes are also eligible entities; their application process is detailed in a separate program guidance.

Tribes have a set-aside of $25 million, for grants up to $500,000 for a single Tribe or $1 million for groups of 2 or more. Territories are eligible for up to $500,000 each. Applicants are not required to provide a cost-share or matching funds for this funding.

Next Steps

States must submit a notice of intent to participate by March 31, 2023; the 67 most populous metropolitan areas nationally must submit a notice of intent to participate by April 28, 2023. EPA strongly encourages all eligible entities to review the complete program guidance documents available on EPA’s website to learn more about these planning grants, details about eligibility criteria and allocation formulas, important deadlines, and other requirements. 

This funding for climate planning will be followed later this year by $4.6 billion in implementation grant funding that will support the expeditious implementation of investment-ready policies created by the CPRG planning grants, programs, and projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the near term. Through the CPRG program, EPA will support the development and deployment of technologies and solutions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmful air pollution, as well as transition America to a clean energy economy that benefits all Americans.

Key Program Dates

States and metropolitan areas have different deadlines to notify EPA that they intend to opt-in to the climate planning grants.

  • States will have until March 31, 2023, to opt in to this grant by submitting a notice of intent to participate. The lead organization for the state will then need to submit an application, which will include a workplan and budget for the planning grant, by April 28, 2023. States can work with EPA regional offices during this time.
  • Metropolitan areas have until April 28, 2023, to opt in. The lead organization for the metropolitan area will then need to submit an application, which will include a workplan and budget for the planning grant, by May 31, 2023. Metropolitan areas can work with EPA regional offices during this time.
  • Tribes and territories have a separate program guidance, process and deadlines with applications and workplans due by June 15, 2023. EPA’s regional offices will work closely with Tribes and territories to support their successful application. They should work closely with their EPA region toward submitting an application and workplan by June 15, 2023.

By summer 2023, EPA Regional Offices expect to award and administer the funding agreements.

Please contact our office if you have any questions about the application process.


Gulf Coast LIGH₂T Hydrogen Hub Advances in DOE Application Process

A consortium spearheading development of a regional clean hydrogen hub on the U.S. Gulf Coast has received a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) encouragement letter to submit its full application for the DOE Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs funding program.

The LIGH2T group consists of the Southern States Energy Board, INEOS, Linde, MPLX and 13 consortium members.

The LIGH2T hub has the potential to become a flagship for the long-term growth of clean hydrogen development and utilization in the Gulf Coast region. It will provide access to and ownership of the region’s most extensive existing hydrogen infrastructure. Rapid, at-scale utilization of a clean hydrogen network will be supported by production, transportation, storage and access to multiple industrial end-users.

A broad range of technologies and feedstocks will be used to produce, distribute and use clean hydrogen to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions across multiple sectors, including chemical manufacturing, refining, and backup power generation. LIGH2T will also supply hydrogen to refueling stations, supporting reduction of CO2 emissions by the transport sector.

The LIGH2T consortium brings together a broad group of organizations with expertise across the hydrogen value chain. Its members include energy and industrial leaders, academia, including the University of Houston and the National Energy Technology Laboratory, as well as regional and local partners in the LIGH2T Hub communities.
The investment in this sustainable hydrogen hub will contribute long term to DOE’s goal of establishing a collaborative energy system and a national clean hydrogen network. It will also contribute to meaningful economic and community benefits across the region.

Click below to visit our program page to learn more.

Announcements Webinar

Register Now for Our Next Webinar!

Registration is now open for our first webinar of 2022. Join us March 8 at 11 a.m. ET for this educational webinar on The Future of Critical Minerals & Rare Earth Elements in the Southeast.

Now more than ever, securing and processing critical minerals (CMs) and rare earth elements (REEs) is critical to the technological progress and decarbonization of the nation’s energy grid. Electric vehicles alone require 2-3 times the amount of copper needed for traditional internal combustion engine-powered vehicles, and EV sales continue to rise. China controls more than 80 percent of the world’s REEsan imbalance that threatens U.S. energy independence and technological innovation.

How can the Southeast respond to the growing need for CMs and REEs? To answer that question and more, joining us will be:

  • Dr. Grant Bromhal, Acting Director of the Mineral Sustainability Division at the U.S. Department of Energy;
  • Danny Gray, Executive VP of Strategy and Business Operations at Green Cement Inc. and SSEB’s Associate Member Chair;
  • Dr. Michael Karmis, Director of the Virginia Center for Coal & Energy Research (Ret.); and
  • Dr. Charles Sims, Energy & Environment Program Director at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.
Announcements Documents

Fossil Energy & Carbon Management Digest Available

A new publication focused on fossil energy and carbon management (FECM) legislation in the United States is now available.

The FECM Digest is compiled in collaboration with our member states and includes a look at notable fossil energy and carbon management legislation from around the nation.

Topics covered in this edition include regulatory measures affecting fossil energy generation, carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), and various decarbonization bills.

The majority of the Digest highlights FECM legislation passed by our member states and territories within the last session. The notable bills included from outside of our membership should not be considered exhaustive.

This version is current as of November 19, 2021.


Communities LEAP Opportunity

Applications due by Dec. 17

Recently, DOE announced its Communities LEAP (Local Energy Action Program) Pilot, which aims to facilitate sustained community-wide economic and environmental benefits primarily through DOE’s clean energy deployment work.

The application deadline for the Communities LEAP Pilot is coming up. The opportunity is specifically open to low-income, energy-burdened communities also experiencing either direct environmental justice impacts, or direct economic impacts caused by a shift away from fossil fuels. Through the program, DOE will provide supportive services valued at up to $16 million for community-driven clean energy transitions.

In order to provide for transitions involving carbon capture, part of this opportunity will assist communities with evaluating whether carbon capture and storage (CCS) could be included in their long-term clean energy and clean manufacturing plans.

Are you a community leader interested in bringing carbon capture technology to your city? We can help. SSEB has decades of experience leading CCS and related energy technology programs. Reach out to our office by phone at (770) 242-7712.


Biden Appoints Federal Representative to the Board

President Joe Biden has appointed Jim Powell of Hiawassee, Georgia, as the Federal Representative to the Southern States Energy Board.

Our Federal Representative is appointed by the President as his official liaison to the Board. 

The Honorable Jim Powell will be responsible for providing an annual report to the President on the Board’s programs and activities. In addition, he will serve as an official liaison between the Board, Congress, and all federal agencies. 

He also will assist the Board in its work with the states and territories and in the development of federal energy programs of interest to the southern states. 

“All of us at the Southern States Energy Board thank President Biden for selecting Jim Powell as our federal representative,” said Ken Nemeth, the Board’s secretary and executive director.

“Jim’s extensive experience and work ethic will be essential and critical to our success during the transition period to clean energy and the development of technology innovations to curb environmental pollution,” he said.

Jim previously served as the Federal Representative during the Obama administration from 2013 to 2016. He has also served as a Georgia 9th Congressional District elected Biden delegate to the Democratic National Convention and as a volunteer member of the Biden-Harris Policy Committee.

“I am honored that President Biden has chosen me for this appointment. I look forward to working with the Southern States Energy Board and its member states and territories on energy programs and to advance the President’s Build Back Better initiative,” Powell said.

Currently, Jim is the owner and managing consultant at NORAVA Consulting, a position he has held since 2007. Prior to forming his consulting firm, he served in various capacities at the U.S. Department of Energy from 1986 to 2007. His roles included national program manager, regional director for the Southeast, and associate deputy assistant secretary. Mr. Powell also held several positions with the U.S. Department of the Navy from 1976 to 1986.

Announcements Programs

Regional Initiatives for CCUS Advancement Awarded $20 Million

On October 15, the U.S. Department of Energy announced $20 million in funding to four projects working to accelerate the regional deployment of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). The projects, representing the four corners of the country, are known as DOE’s Regional Initiatives to Accelerate CCUS Deployment.

The Southern States Energy Board leads one of the four regional initiatives. Known as the Southeast Regional CO2 Utilization and Storage Acceleration Partnership (SECARB-USA), our team of technical experts are tasked with identifying at least 50 potential regional sites to evaluate storage resource potential and infrastructure needs. The DOE funding awards approximately $5 million to our regional initiative program.

The goal of SECARB-USA is to help the United States meet its need for secure, affordable, and environmentally sound fossil energy supplies by utilizing the advancements made by the regional initiatives to continue identifying and addressing knowledge gaps.

Expanding the deployment of CCUS will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial sources and is a crucial component to achieving the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

DOE Announcement

We’re ready to continue leading a coalition of CCUS experts tasked with identifying and resolving regional challenges facing the deployment of carbon capture technologies in the Southeast! To learn more about our SECARB-USA program, click the logo below.

Announcements Meetings

61st Annual Meeting Photo Album Available

Were you unable to attend our meeting? Or maybe you did attend, but you want to relive all the great speakers, discussions, and memories?

Relive the meeting now by clicking the button below.

More information about the meeting can be found here. We hope you’ll join us next year in South Carolina with our new Executive Committee Chairman, Gov. Henry McMaster!

Announcements Meetings

Attending our Annual Meeting? Download our App!

We’re excited to kick off our 61st Annual Meeting today! As with prior events, we have an app that will help you to orient and interact while at the meeting!

Download it now to access your digital name tag, agenda, attendee list, sponsors, and more all from your mobile device or tablet.

If the event does not load automatically after downloading the app, type in the event ID from your registration confirmation email or search for 61st Annual Meeting.

Login to the app using the same email you registered with, and you will receive a verification code to finish the process.

Attendee Website

For those who prefer a web-based alternative, we also have an attendee website with much of the same functionality as the app! Use it to plan your day, contact staff, or message other attendees!

Our staff will be happy to guide you through the process of accessing the app or attendee website once at the meeting. See you in OKC!

Announcements Documents

2021 Annual Report Available

Ahead of our 61st Annual Meeting, we’ve released this year’s Annual Report.

Chairman’s Message Excerpt

From Oklahoma’s Governor Kevin Stitt:

For the 61st Annual Meeting of the Southern States Energy Board, I chose the theme, Energy Pioneers in the New Frontier. Our Nation is entering a period of unprecedented change and transition in the energy sector that includes all facets of energy, including production, transmission, environmental protection, transportation infrastructure, and workforce development. How we consume energy is changing every day.

The challenges before us are enormous, but with this change comes great opportunity. As we take these challenges head on, it is important that we recall the giants upon whose shoulders we stand today. In Oklahoma, they were pioneers like Frank and Waite Phillips, Bill Skelly, and E.W. Marland, or modern-day titans like T. Boone Pickens, Harold Hamm, and Aubrey McClendon who paved the way for Oklahoma to be a world leader in energy production.

Oklahoma and its oil & gas industry have always been pioneers and innovators in energy and can claim many of the most important events in history. We proudly recall the history of oil being discovered before the territory became a State: on April 15, 1897, a wooden oil derrick named the Nellie Johnstone No. 1 in Bartlesville, Indian Territory, enabled a plume of crude oil and water to burst through the earth, ushering a new oil industry into what would become Oklahoma. That well became the State’s first commercial oil enterprise and drew over 100,000 barrels of oil over a period of 50 years. The process of hydraulic fracturing was invented in 1949 by Halliburton in Duncan, Oklahoma, while that same technology was later combined with horizontal drilling by other Oklahoma companies who are responsible for creating the shale revolution.

We are long removed from the time when oil derricks were scattered across the prairies, and Sooners, as they were called, used the oil they collected to grease parts from their wooden wagons. When drilling began in 1897, it would take six wagons to drag a wooden rig, sometimes over a hundred miles to the drilling site.

Today, we are a premier energy producing state that has taken our “all of the above” energy policy to the next level. We remain a leader in our proud tradition of producing fossil energy, but most people are surprised to learn that Oklahoma is a leader in renewables and alternative energy. We are one of only four states in the U.S. to get more than 40 percent of our power from renewables. Our wind resources are so legendary that they were canonized in our State by Rodgers & Hammerstein.

Our unique mix of natural gas and renewables has yielded remarkable environmental results. Oklahoma has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by three times the national average as measured against the 2005 benchmark used by the Biden Administration. Using the latest numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Oklahoma has reduced its CO2 from the power sector by 35 percent while the national average is only 12 percent. We have done so while remaining the most affordable energy in the country in 9 of the last 11 quarters, according to EIA. We believe Oklahoma can legitimately boast that we have the cleanest and most affordable energy in the country.

I am proud to be Chairman of the SSEB, because it allows us to support our member states in maximizing the use of their resources in the way that is most beneficial to their citizens and states. I strongly believe that these types of policy and resource decisions are best made by state and local governments allowing the markets and trends to guide their choices. Today, we see consumers and investors demanding cleaner sources of energy with less emissions. We are proud that Oklahoma and the Southern States Energy Board are leaders in meeting those demands in a sensible and affordable way.

Since its inception in 1960, the Southern States Energy Board has been a part of our region’s pioneering spirit. From the Board’s role at the outset of nuclear power development to the age of carbon management, and from the technological innovations that cleared sulfur and nitrous oxides from our Appalachian Mountain air to the development of an interstate mechanism for remediation of environmental permitting, SSEB has been an active and strident supporter of strong state responses to energy and environmental issues.

In February of this year, the Board’s Carbon Management Program grew through final award of a new project that will test an emerging technology for direct air capture of carbon dioxide (CO2). Partners include AirCapture LLC , Crescent Resource Innovation, Global Thermostat, the National Carbon Capture Center, Southern Company, and Synapse. The Technology will be designed and tested in a fabrication facility and then transported to the National Carbon Capture Center in Wilsonville, Alabama. The direct air capture skids will be integrated into the center’s facility for operational testing. Design activities are underway now and testing will begin in 2023.

Last September, the SSEB Carbon Management Team began Phase 3 of our CarbonSAFE project, also referred to as Project ECO2S. The purpose of this activity is to determine the feasibility for establishing a CO2 storage complex in Mississippi. Critical path milestones for this venture include ensuring compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and pursuing a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Underground Injection Control Class VI permit for CO2 storage, which will be the first for a Southern States Energy Board carbon management project since the Class VI final rule was established by EPA in 2010. To date, our team has drilled three stratigraphic test wells and one groundwater test well to further assess the suitability of the geology within our area of interest. Seismic data acquisition was completed earlier this year, and data assessment is underway. This endeavor has the most partners of any Board program.

The Southeast Regional CO2 Utilization and Storage Acceleration Partnership, or SECARB-USA, is the follow-on phase to our highly successful SECARB project. The scope of our activities focuses on addressing key technical challenges to carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS); data collection, sharing and analysis; transportation and distribution infrastructure; and promoting regional technology transfer and knowledge dissemination. During the past year, our team has been examining the geology within the southern region for future technology deployment opportunities and determining infrastructure needs to connect CO2 sources to storage reservoirs or areas where CO2-enhanced recovery options may exist. The maps and routing simulations created by the team will assist developers in identifying routes that have the least human and environmental impact. Our expert team of stakeholders also has identified impediments to CCUS deployment and determined additional work that the partners will perform to eliminate these challenges.

SSEB’s assessment of CCUS opportunities in Southwest Arkansas has shown very positive results. This evaluation was requested by Governor Asa Hutchinson. The Board and its partner, Advanced Resources International, Inc., (ARI) first performed a screening study of CO2 storage and enhanced oil recovery options, which was funded by the State. Upon completion of the initial screening, the project was transferred into our SECARB project in order to use existing funding to perform more robust analyses.

On June 23, SSEB, Governor Hutchinson, Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston, Public Service Commission Chairman and Governor’s Alternate to SSEB Ted Thomas, ARI, and CRI jointly hosted a Southwest Arkansas Revitalization Workshop in El Dorado, Arkansas. The event coincided with the 100th anniversary of the January 1921 discovery of oil In Union County, Arkansas. The workshop presenters covered many aspects of the opportunity for revitalization of the oil and gas industry in Southwest Arkansas, including the concept of CCUS, why it is a viable commercial opportunity in El Dorado and surrounding areas, the legal and regulatory frameworks surrounding CCUS, asset financing options, and suitable business models and case studies.

The Southern States Energy Board’s CCUS Offshore Partnership recently received approval for its second and final phase of work. The results of the project will include high prospect areas for future offshore CCUS project development in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. This venture also will culminate in a guidance document on the legal, regulatory, and technical feasibility of offshore CO2 subsea storage projects, as well as a prospect-specific feasibility assessment for infrastructure development, operations, and decommissioning.

Another agreement that has received a five-year renewal is our project that supports the Transuranic, or TRU, Waste Transportation Working Group. These are state officials that coordinate the interstate shipments of TRU waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The project also enables SSEB to provide direct funding to states for full time staff who monitor these shipments, engage in emergency response planning, direct emergency responder training, and procure equipment. The Working Group meets twice per year, and our staff is in constant communication with the states on shipment schedules, training opportunities, coordination, and purchasing needs.

SSEB also serves as the staff for the Southern Emergency Response Council created by Southern Governors in 1972. The Council, with SSEB serving as the Secretariat, administers the Southern Mutual Radiation Assistance Plan (SMRAP) which provides mutual aid from state to state in the event of an emergency occurring at any of the region’s nuclear power plants. SMRAP is vigorously tested annually.

The Southern States Energy Board has provided innovative technical and policy leadership over many decades while being mindful of the socio-economic impacts of our actions on generations to come. The SECARB, SECARB-USA, Project ECO2S, SECARB Offshore, and Direct Air Capture projects exemplify the pioneering spirit and effectiveness of public-private partnership collaborations in designing, developing, and demonstrating the clean energy technologies of the future. However, the Board has recognized a significant need to assemble a larger group of industry stakeholders and experts to promote the rapid and transformative deployment of CCUS technologies – commercially and at a much larger scale.

Last September, we announced our collaboration with the University of Houston’s Center for Carbon Management in Energy. We are applying lessons learned and experiences in our R&D projects and demonstrations to develop a Commercialization Consortium that will accelerate CCUS deployment. We also are engaging a Leadership Team of industry and subject matter experts to provide visionary strategies in our development of a roadmap designed to achieve CCUS commercialization. The Leadership Team is composed of representatives from 33 major U.S.-based energy companies that are committed to providing us with assistance to further identify and offer solutions to remaining uncertainties impeding industry investments in CCUS technologies. We are excited to work with such an impressive group of industry stakeholders, many of whom are Associate Members!

Assembling our members and project partners in virtual meetings has become a common means of communication and collaboration for our staff since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. At SSEB, we held our first large, virtual conference just over a year ago and have hosted over 250 virtual meetings and webinars since our last Board meeting.

Earlier this year, we initiated a webinar series. This is not meant to replace our meetings but offers a unique way to gather for an hour and learn about technologies or issues that are of importance to our member states. The first webinar, held February 25th, analyzed the growing pace of electric vehicle adoption in the Southeast and examined the industry and policy response. The second event occurred on March 11th and focused on innovations in electric vehicle batteries and new facilities planned for southern states. Two subsequent webinars have focused on Regional Initiatives for Carbon Capture and Storage and SSEB’s SECARB-USA Partnership.

During the past two years of my Chairmanship, we have seen great change as a constant. The pandemic has created great strain on all of us. It has changed the way we are able to work, the way we meet, the way we deliver services, but it has also revealed the needs from health care to transportation or how the demand for energy can change so quickly. We learned to be ready for anything. I am not sure any of our member states was fully prepared for the polar vortex that hit the south last February. With temperatures remaining well below freezing for 10 days, we saw new winter peaks and unprecedented disruptions and millions without power during this powerful storm. We are seeing northern and northwestern states experiencing heatwaves causing similar disruptions in the power grid causing problems. Our work here in the SSEB is more important than ever.

With all these changes, these pioneers are facing a new frontier and we are spearheading an “all of the above” approach to energy policy. We choose energy that is produced locally, that is affordable, and that is reliable. We are a leader in wind generation and other renewable resources, ranking #2 nationally in wind production. As one of four states that receives 40 percent of our electricity from renewable resources, we have embraced a future that enables us to produce power locally and export 28 percent of our energy to neighboring states.

SSEB’s enormous portfolio of current projects and programs exceeds $457 million in 2021, a phenomenal amount considering the size of the staff. What I have focused on above is merely a part of the range of activities that are the Board’s emphasis this year. Since October 2020, SSEB has generated more than $34 million in new public-private partnerships that include energy industry, state, and federal funding. The majority of these funds support member states and territories through contracts and subawards with state agencies, colleges and universities, utility partners, energy research organizations, national laboratories, energy resource companies, and businesses in our southern region.

It is a privilege for me to serve as the Chairman of such a vigorous and constructive organization that constantly is transcending boundaries and closing the gaps between policy and technology applications!