1/17/24 Tobacco Commission Launches Energy Ingenuity Fund

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The new Energy Ingenuity Fund builds on the Commission’s 25 year track record of funding innovative economic development initiatives in Southern and Southwest Virginia. Just as early investments in broadband and site readiness are paying dividends for rural Virginia, this program’s energy sector investments are expected to create not just new jobs and investment in rural Virginia, but to also provide the innovative energy solutions that long-term economic prosperity requires.

Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade & Acting Executive Director of the Tobacco Commission, James E. Campos said, “During my time working at the U.S Department of Energy and in the private sector I have seen firsthand the rapid growth of energy sector over the last decade and the opportunities that growth can present to communities that are able to harness it. Energy jobs are good jobs that pay great wages and set communities up for long-term success. Southern and Southwest Virginia are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this opportunity and the Tobacco Commission is committed to helping them attract top employers who will continue to grow and diversify their economies.”

Campos continued, “This innovative program aligns with Governor Youngkin’s Compete to Win agenda that calls for unleashing our talented workforce, investing in sites and infrastructure, and elevating high-growth industries as well as the Governor’s all-of-the-above approach to energy that recognizes the need to balance factors like affordability and environmental stewardship while also ensuring reliability and maintaining Virginia’s ability to compete.”

Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission Director of Regional Energy Development and Innovation, Jerry Silva, added “I look forward to reviewing this first round of applications as they come in with our team here at the Tobacco Commission and couldn’t be more pleased that we are investing in Virginia’s energy future while also strengthening its economy.”

Energy Ingenuity Fund Program Outline

Up to $6 million is designated for energy-related projects in each of the Commission’s service regions, Southern and Southwest Virginia. A variety of energy project proposals will be accepted, with a focus on establishing a ‘best in class’ energy economy. Projects supported through this fund will capitalize on the region’s skilled workforce and promote an energy focused economy for the Tobacco Region, recognizing that regions with a strong focus on energy can better attract economic activity to their communities. Potential project areas include, but are not limited to: energy manufacturing supply chain, energy production, grid resiliency, energy storage, microgrids, hydrogen generation, smart cities, wind, small scale modular reactors, conversion of coal mines, and more.

The Energy Ingenuity Fund will solicit applications through a competitive process to establish grant and loan agreements for high impact economic development projects meeting the following objectives:

  • Deployment of resources to amplify and accelerate investment in energy projects.
  • Collaboration between key partners in energy and economic development.
  • Enhancement and expansion of the region’s energy supply chain.
  • Development of more energy resiliency in Southern and Southwest Virginia.

Funding will be considered for projects within the Southern and Southwest Virginia areas of Virginia’s Tobacco Region. See the TRRC Coverage Area Map.

For more information on TRRC program objectives please review the TRRC Strategic Plan and the Logic Models for this Program in the Plan as well as the Commission’s Funding Policies.

Application Deadline:

Energy Ingenuity Fund Program:

February 15, 2024 – Please review the program Guidelines & Request for Proposals before beginning an application. Please note that a pre-application is required before a project can move forward in the review process.

To read more about the program, and complete a pre-application (required) please visit the Energy Ingenuity Fund page of our website, revitalizeva.org.

Eligibility Requirements

Please note that:

Applicants must be either a local governmental entity or a non-profit OR must be partnering with a local governmental entity or non-profit.

All requests for grant funds require at least dollar-for-dollar (1:1) matching funds, with no more than 25% of the match requirement from “in-kind” sources.

Please see the program Guidelines & Request for Proposals for full eligibility details.

Program Contacts

For media inquiries:

Jordan Butler
Public Relations Director & Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund Manager
(804) 894-9652

Questions from partners or potential applicants:

Jerry Silva
Director of Regional Energy Development and Innovation
(804) 325-4363