The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded $1.94 million in grants to five communities across Minnesota to address the economic dislocation associated with the closing of local electric generating plants.

DEED’s Community Energy Transition Grants Program awarded the funding, which will provide a range of economic assistance for eligible communities, including projects that increase a community’s lost property tax base and that create alternative economic development strategies to plan for financial challenges and to attract new employers to the community.

“These grants are critical to helping communities across Minnesota transition their economies as clean energy growth in Minnesota continues,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said in a statement announcing the grants. “These funds will help communities recover with a reimagined economic future.”

DEED’s Community Energy Transition Grants cover up to 100%, or $500,000, of the costs to improve the economic outlook in these hard-hit communities, according to the department.

The individual projects receiving a grant include the following:

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Becker – Sewer and Water Plan

The city of Becker is awarded $455,000 in funding for sewer and water infrastructure improvement designs and plans that will grow the Becker Business Park and mitigate the effects of the Sherco Power Plant closure.

Granite Falls – Infrastructure

The city of Granite Falls is awarded $397,480 in funding for land acquisition and sewer and water infrastructure improvement to expand the industrial park and mitigate the effects of the Minnesota Valley Generating Plant closure. Matching funds will be provided by the city.

Monticello – Strategic Transition Plan

The city of Monticello is awarded $500,000 in funding to complete a strategic analysis and associated planning tasks to mitigate the effects of the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant closure.

Oak Park Heights – Impact Studies

The city of Oak Park Heights is awarded $87,520 in Community Energy Transition funding for utility and fiscal studies to mitigate the effects of the Allen S. King Power Plant closure. Matching funds will be provided by a dedicated municipal account.

Sherburne County – Interchange Design

Sherburne County is awarded $500,000 in funding to conduct an environmental assessment and preliminary design activities for a new interchange that will improve access to the Becker Business Park and mitigate the effects of the Sherco Power Plant closure.