April 6, 2022 | From City of New Orleans


NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans today announced that it has been selected as one of 22 communities nationwide to receive support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Communities Local Energy Action Program (LEAP). This “first-of-its-kind” initiative is designed to help energy-overburdened communities take direct control of their clean energy future.

Based on a competitive application process, Communities LEAP will help the City further develop climate action strategies to develop distributed solar generation with battery storage and district-scale microgrids. The program will also provide long-term jobs and economic opportunities in green industries.

“The City of New Orleans is on the front lines of climate change and at the forefront of climate action,” said Jonathan Rhodes, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Utilities. “I am proud of our team for earning a place in the Communities LEAP program. This partnership with the federal government will help the City build a more resilient, sustainable and equitable New Orleans while providing opportunities in green infrastructure for all.” 

By receiving targeted technical assistance, LEAP will provide the City of New Orleans access to additional DOE and other federal government programs, including the $1.3 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding in the near future. Participating in Communities LEAP not only reinforces the Cantrell Administration’s Climate Action plan but also ensures that New Orleans meets its C40 Cities climate leadership commitments to community-led development and delivering bold climate action that benefits all residents equitably.

“This partnership with the DOE will build on our ongoing planning and investments in climate action,” said Rhodes. “Through Communities LEAP, we will collaborate across communities, industries and stakeholders to develop a citywide roadmap for coordinated climate action.”

The transition to a clean energy economy lowers local air pollution and energy burdens while bringing billions of dollars in continued investments and generating good-paying jobs. In 2019, renewable energy investments in the U.S. reached $55 billion and clean energy jobs paid 25 percent more than the national median wage. Workers in the clean energy industry earned a median hourly wage of $23.89 compared to the national median wage of $19.14. 

As one of only 22 selected communities, the City of New Orleans will work with DOE and its network of technical assistance providers, government and non-governmental partners, community-based organizations, utilities, as well as environmental justice, economic development, and equitable investment organizations to create roadmaps for clean energy modernization pathways.

Multiple City agencies will participate as a part of the Communities LEAP team, including the Office of Economic Development, Office of Utilities, Neighborhood Engagement Office, and Hazard Mitigation Office.