South Louisiana energy project, New Orleans BioInnovation Center make first cut in competition for big federal grants

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Monday (Dec. 13) announced that two South Louisiana...
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Monday (Dec. 13) announced that two South Louisiana projects -- one in the clean energy field and the other in health sciences -- are among60 to advance from a pool of 529 seeking large shares of federal Build Back Better Regional Challenge grants.(AP Photo/David Goldman)
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 7:26 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A South Louisiana energy project and a New Orleans-based health sciences initiative have been named two of the 60 finalists still in the running to receive millions in federal grant money from President Biden’s “Build Back Better Regional Challenge.”

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Monday (Dec. 13) announced the finalists advancing from a pool of 529 applicants hoping to receive up to $100 million each for projects to develop and strengthen regional industry clusters around the country.

Among those receiving $500,000 to further develop their proposed projects before a Phase 2 deadline of March 15, 2022, were the Greater New Orleans Development Foundation and the New Orleans BioInnovation Center.

The Greater New Orleans Development Foundation project aims to build a “green hydrogen energy cluster to decarbonize the South Louisiana industrial corridor.”

The proposal says the project’s goals are to preserve traditional South Louisiana energy jobs in lower-carbon applications, train future workers for new “clean energy” jobs, and to do so in a way that “remedies historical economic, environmental and social inequities.”

The proposal’s narrative touts an array of stakeholders ranging from Acadiana to Baton Rouge to the City of New Orleans, and universities including LSU, Tulane, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, the University of New Orleans, Southern University, Xavier University and Dillard University.

The narrative also says the City of New Orleans has committed a $10 million real estate match through a “preferential lease” for the New Energy Institute of America at the former Naval Support Activity facility, the 30-acre site overlooking the Industrial Canal in the Ninth Ward that has sat vacant since being abandoned in September 2011.

The other advancing project -- the New Orleans BioInnovation Center -- proposes to transform the region spanning New Orleans to Baton Rouge into “a national leader in health sciences, with a focus on addressing obesity and chronic disease” to reduce health disparities in Louisiana.

This project’s narrative touts a coalition that includes the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, the New Orleans BioDistrict and the Baton Rouge Health District. Other partners include the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Greater New Orleans Inc., LSU Health New Orleans, Ochsner Health, LCMC, Tulane and Xavier universities and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

The Build Back Better Regional Challenge is part of the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan, aiming to boost economic recovery during the coronavirus pandemic by funding new programs to create and stabilize jobs and enhance the nation’s global competitiveness.

The finalists’ projects span 45 states and Puerto Rico

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click Here to report it. Please include the headline.

Copyright 2021 WVUE. All rights reserved.