Joint Agency Effort to deploy $510 Million to Support Drop-In Aviation and Marine Biofuels

Yesterday, President Obama announced that the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (“USDA”), Energy (“DOE”), and Navy (“USN”, and together with the USDA and DOE, the “Agencies”) will invest up to $510 million over the course of the next three years to support advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to power military and commercial transportation. This is a follow up to President Obama’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future (the “Blueprint”).  In the Blueprint, the President expressed a desire to begin construction on at least four commercial-scale cellulosic or advanced bio-refineries over the next two years and challenged the Agencies to work together to spur the development of competitively priced substitutes for diesel and jet fuel.

The USDA, DOE and USN responded to the Blueprint by signing a Memorandum of Understanding  (the “MOU”). The MOU outlines a plan for the Agencies to partner with the private sector to construct or retrofit several drop-in biofuel plants and refineries. The agencies have stated goals of limiting our nation’s dependence on foreign oil for national, providing tactical and strategic advantages for our military and creating economic opportunities in rural communities. We expect that the USDA will take the lead on addressing feedstocks, the DOE will take the lead on technology, and the USN will be the initial primary consumer of the advanced biofuels.

 

Each of the Agencies have committed to spending $170 million over the next three years and an Executive Steering Group (the “ESG”) will be established to coordinate the programs. It is expected that the ESG will work with the Agencies to develop and release solicitations to industry beginning in December 2011. The solicitations will be issued in accordance with the Defense Production Act (50 U.S.C. App. 2061 et seq), the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act (15 U.S.C. 714 et seq), the Economy Act (31 U.S.C. 1535) and other appropriate authorities. Consequently, rights in inventions made as a consequence of, or in direct relation, of these solicitations will be administered in accordance with the applicable Agency’s governing laws and policies.

Unused ARRA Grant Funds Related to Electric Vehicles, Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Infrastructure Projects

Puget Sound Clean Cities Coalition has announced that it has roughly $400,000 in unused ARRA grant funds available for alternative fuel vehicle and infrastructure projects. 

Examples of eligible vehicles include:

  • Vehicles using alternative fuels recognized by the Energy Policy Act (complete list here: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/epact/about/epact_fuels.html);
  • Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles;
  • Electric Hybrid Vehicles (including certain Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles);
  • Hydraulic Hybrid Vehicles;
  • Neighborhood Electric Vehicles; and
  • Certain Bio-Diesel Vehicles (if replacing gasoline powered vehicles). 

Infrastructure projects must be related to the storage, distribution, dispensing of advanced fuels or electric vehicle supply equipment. Examples of eligible infrastructure projects include:

  • New dispensing facilities, or additional equipment or upgrades to existing refueling sites;
  • Facility upgrades or building modifications necessary to accommodate alternative fuels for fleet garages and other maintenance centers;
  •  Solar charging systems dedicated to providing on-site vehicle motive electrification

Funding requests must be between $100,000 and $400,000 with a minimum 10% non-federal match. Precise requirements of this grant are located at http://www.pugetsoundcleancities.org/documents/CleanCitiesFY09FOAModification007.pdf

ODOE Announces Funding for Small Renewable Projects Gone

Earlier this year, the Oregon Department of Energy (“ODOE”) allocated $10 million in tax credits for renewable energy projects with costs of less than $500,000 (“Tier One Projects”). On Wednesday, October 13, ODOE announced that it will no longer accept applications for Tier One Projects because as of October 11 ODOE had received applications for credits in excess of the $10 million allocated for Tier One Projects. ODOE expects funding for Tier One Projects to become available in January 2011.

Understanding "Beginning Construction" Under Section 1603

The Treasury Department recently issued a series of FAQs in an effort to clarify when projects will be treated as having "begun construction" for purposes of the section 1603 grant. As you may be aware, a project that otherwise qualifies for the grant but is not placed in service before the end of 2010 may still be eligible for the grant if construction on the project is begun in 2009 or 2010 and the project is eventually placed in service before the applicable "credit termination date." The new FAQs address a number of the unanswered questions. However, the framework adopted by the Treasury Guidance and the new FAQs is complex, and there appears to be a considerable amount of confusion among developers about how the "beginning construction" requirement can be met. Therefore, we thought it important to issue this alert.

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Clean Energy Jobs Focus of New Manufacturing Solicitation Issued by the DOE

On August 12, 2010, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a new loan guarantee solicitation for renewable energy manufacturing projects.  The Commercial Technology Renewable Energy Manufacturing Projects solicitation (the "Solicitation") is supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the "Recovery Act") through Section 1705 of the Loan Guarantee Program and is focused primarily on providing new green energy jobs and the deployment of renewable energy technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The solicitation specifically identified "Eligible Projects" to include renewable energy manufacturing projects or facilities located in the United States that:

  • Manufactures Commercial Technology products that support the generation of electricity or thermal energy from renewable resources;
  • Has Project Costs greater than seventy-five million dollars ($75,000,000);
  • Is able to obtain a credit rating equivalent of "BB" or better from Standard & Poor's or Fitch, or "Ba2" or better from Moody's, as evaluated without the benefit of any DOE guarantee or any other credit support;
  • Will create or retain jobs in the United States; and
  • Otherwise meets all applicable requirements of Title XVII, including Section 1705, the Solicitation, including all attachments and all applicable requirements of the Recovery Act.

The Solicitation also provided, for illustrative purposes, examples of the types of Eligible Projects that may qualify, which include the following:

  • wind energy component or systems manufacturing facilities;
  • solar photovoltaic (PV) component or system manufacturing facilities;
  • concentrated solar power component or system manufacturing facilities;
  • hydropower component or system manufacturing facilities;
  • geothermal component or system manufacturing facilities;
  • other geothermal power cycle component or system manufacturing facilities; or
  • ocean wave, tidal, and river current (e.g. hydrokinetic) component or system manufacturing facilities
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DOE Issues Waiver Under Section 1605 of ARRA for Solar PV Equipment Projects

From our colleagues Jere Webb and Jason Davis:

On August 6, 2010, the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (“EERE”), through delegated authority by the Department of Energy, issued a nationwide limited public interest waiver under Section 1605 (the “Buy American Provisions”) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Recovery Act”) for EERE-funded projects for incidental and/or ancillary solar Photovoltaic (“PV”) equipment when such equipment is used in solar installations containing either domestically manufactured PV cells or panels.

After recognizing that the Buy American Provisions do not contain a requirement with regard to the origin of components in manufactured goods used in a project, but rather that the focus of the Buy American Provisions is on whether the solar panels are manufactured in the United States, the EERE granted a public interest waiver to the Buy American Provisions for six months (ending February 6, 2011) for the purchase of the following solar PV equipment: (1) domestically-manufactured panels containing foreign-manufactured PV cells; (2) foreign-manufactured panels comprised of 100 percent domestically-manufactured PV cells; and (3) any ancillary items and equipment (including without limitation charge controllers, combiners and disconnect boxes, breakers and fuses, racks, trackers, lugs, wires, cables, and all other incidental equipment with the exception of inverters and batteries) utilized in either #1 or #2, regardless of country of origin. According to the EERE’s research on the domestic solar manufacturing industry, this waiver would allow approximately nine companies to compete for grantees’ solar PV projects (of the nine, four companies produce solar PV panels in the United States). The EERE also states that the waiver does not apply to thin-film solar PV panels.

As noted above, this waiver expires on February 6, 2011, but the waiver is unclear whether the solar PV project must be completed by the expiration date or whether the solar PV equipment (that qualifies under the waiver) simply must be purchased by the expiration date. A review of an EERE waiver, dated March 19, 2010, applying to the purchase of light emitting diode LED lighting and HVAC units (although the waiver circumstances in this instance were quite different from the solar PV equipment waiver), might suggest that the solar PV equipment waiver will apply to those circumstances where the recipient of Recovery Act funds has taken substantial steps to commit funds for the purchase of solar PV equipment, such as placing an order or executing a contract for such equipment prior to the waiver expiration date; however, the absence of similar detail in the solar PV equipment waiver leaves quite a bit of uncertainty. Hopefully the EERE will issue future guidance to clarify the expiration date terms.

The complete solar PV equipment waiver is expected to be posted soon to the EERE’s website at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/recovery/buy_american_provision.html.

Good News and Bad News for DOE's Loan Guarantee Program

There has been a wave of good and bad news this past week regarding the DOE's Loan Guarantee Program.  On the positive side, Secretary Chu announced on Friday that the Department would be adding an additional compliance period for the Innovative Solicitation.  The current deadline for the Part I application under the program is August 24th.  Secretary Chu announced the applications would be accepted until October 5th thus providing six more weeks of time to applicants.  Secretary Chu did not extend the Part II deadline and cannot extend the September 30, 2011 start construction deadline as that deadline was established by the Stimulus Bill itself.  Still, the extension was generally viewed as a respite and perhaps an indication of a willingness to further extend the program.

On the bad news side, the Senate approved the FMAP state aid bill to avert teacher layoffs and pay for Medicaid which is to be funded in part by taking $1.5 billion in funds that the Stimulus Bill appropriated to the DOE Loan Guarantee program.  Clearly driven by Pay-Go requirements, this is a reminder of the $2.0 billion fleecing that the Loan Guarantee Program suffered when Cash for Clunkers program was passed.  While it has been promised that the funds will be restored, the fact that the Cash for Clunkers funding has not yet been restored raises concern about whether the restoration will occur. 

SHOW ME THE MONEY: DOE Offers $1.85 Billion in Solar Loan Guarantees

Saturday was a great day for solar energy: the DOE offered two conditional loan guarantee commitments:

  • $1.45 billion loan guarantee to Abengoa Solar Inc. for the construction and start-up of a concentrating solar power (CSP) generating facility in Solana, Arizona and a
  • $400 million loan guarantee to Abound Solar Manufacturing for the assembly of state-of-the-art thin-film, cadmium-telluride solar panels.

ABENGOA SOLAR: Once operational, the CSP plant will add 250 MW of capacity to the electrical grid using parabolic trough solar collectors and a six-hour thermal energy storage system (the first of its kind in the United States). The plant which will be about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, will use mirrors to direct sunlight onto receiver tubes that will heat molten salt fluid to over 700°F. The system's heat will turn steam turbines and the thermal energy storage can provide power during cloudy days and evenings. The plant will supply power to approximately 70,000 homes through a long-term PPA with Arizona Public Service Company.

 

Abengoa Solar estimates the project will employ approximately 1,600 workers during construction, of which 80 will be permanent jobs. As an added benefit, two assembly factories will be constructed on the site, and a new mirror manufacturing facility will be needed to supply more than 900,000 mirrors to the plant.

 

ABOUND SOLAR: A $400 million conditional loan guarantee has been offered to Abound Solar Manufacturing for the assembly of state-of-the-art thin-film, cadmium-telluride solar panels. The assembly will take place in in Longmont, Colorado, and Tipton, Indiana. Abound estimates that the project will create approximately 2,000 jobs during construction, as well as 1,500 permanent jobs.

Abound’s manufacturing technology was jointly developed by NREL, Colorado State University, and the National Science Foundation and deposits thin films of cadmium-telluride onto glass panels. This technology reduces overall product costs and provides better film quality, efficiency and reliability. Abound anticipates that it will produce millions of solar panels annually (enough panels to support up to 840 MW of new solar power per year) for less than it costs to produce crystalline silicon modules.  

Supplemental Treasury Requests May Create Delays in 1603 Grant Payments

The U.S. Department of the Treasury, as part of the process of reviewing applications for the ARRA Section 1603 grant, has been making supplemental requests that applicants submit copies of their power purchase agreements (PPAs). This is creating delays in the payment of the grant beyond the 60-day period beginning with the date the original application was submitted.

See the rest of our alert here ... http://www.stoel.com/showalert.aspx?Show=6645.

 

SHOW ME THE MONEY: NEW ARPA-E FUNDS

 

DOE issued three Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) on March 2 that offer $100 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for the third round of its Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) program. The FOAs were announced at the first ARPA-E summit in Washington, D.C., and focus on innovations in three areas of technology: grid storage, power converters, and cooling systems for buildings. The goal is to promote U.S. leadership in the emerging global market for these advanced energy technologies, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing U.S. electrical consumption by as much as 30%.

 

The FOAs can be found at https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/Default.aspx 

SHOW ME THE MONEY: $1.37 BILLION LOAN GUARANTEE FOR CSP

DOE announced a conditional commitment for more than $1.37 billion in loan guarantees to BrightSource Energy, Inc. in support of the construction and start-up of three utility-scale concentrated solar power plants (CSP) in the Mojave Desert of southeastern California. The loan guarantee is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is predicated on BrightSource meeting financial and environmental requirements before closing on the loan. The Bureau of Land Management is leading a federal review of the project with support from DOE. Pending local, state, and federal regulatory approval, the new plants will generate approximately 400 megawatts (MW) of electricity using the company's proprietary technology. This output would nearly double the existing generation capacity of CSP facilities in the United States.

The three-plant Ivanpah Solar Complex will be located on federally owned land near the Nevada border and will be the world's largest operational concentrated solar power complex. BrightSource will use solar power tower technology, which uses thousands of flat mirrors, or "heliostats" to concentrate the sun's heat onto a receiver mounted at the top of a tower. Water pumped to the receiver is boiled into steam, which drives a turbine to produce electricity. The first Ivanpah plant is expected to begin construction in the second half of 2010 and come on line in 2012. Commercial operation for the second plant is slated for mid-2013, with the third plant following later that year. Once operational, the project will supply power to approximately 140,000 California homes.

Brightsource says the project will create 1,000 temporary jobs and 86 permanent jobs.

For additional information:  see the DOE press releaseand DOE's Loan Guarantee Program Web site.

POSSIBLE RESTRUCTURING OF 1603 GRANTS

Congress is considering a complete rewrite of the 1603 grant program.  Some of the changes being considered are very helpful while others would be extremely troubling.  Please continue reading to get the full story ...

 

 

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Stoel Rives Clients Receive Huge Tax Credit Awards

Stoel Rives would like to congratulate REC Silicon and SolarWorld on their awards of tax credits by the IRS and DOE. These two companies, combined, received over 10 percent of all the tax credits awarded nationwide under section 48C of the tax code.

On Friday, January 8, the Department of Energy awarded to 183 companies $2.3 billion in tax credits for projects designed to expand, re-equip or establish manufacturing facilities for the production of equipment used to produce renewable and other green energy. The $2.3 billion was the full amount authorized by Congress in the stimulus bill as part of new section 48C of the tax code.

Applications for the credit far exceeded the dollar amount of credits available. Stoel Rives is proud to have been directly involved with these companies in preparing the complex applications for the credit. REC Silicon received the largest award of any company -- $154.8 million. SolarWorld received the seventh largest award -- $82.2 million. These credits will provide these companies with a dollar-for-dollar offset against their federal income tax liability.

There is considerable discussion in Congress regarding adding additional funds to the section 48C program, which will permit another round of awards. Please contact your favorite Stoel Rives attorney if you have any questions about these awards or extension of the section 48C credit.

Show Me the Money: $12 million for Early Stage Solar Technologies

 

The Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced today that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (“NREL”) will invest up to $12 million in total funding ($10 million from funds allocated to NREL under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”)) in four companies - three California and one North Carolina -  to take early stage PV and CSP technologies to commercialization.

 

Each company will receive up to $3 million (and the benefit of NREL’s support and expertise) to take prototype and pre-commercial PV technologies and develop pilot/demo projects or full-scale manufacturing projects. Payment of the awarded $3 million will be made over time as each company completes specified project milestones.

 

DOE is investing more than $117 million in solar energy through ARRA.

Show Me the Money (and the Light): $37 Million for Solid State Lighting

 

The Department of Energy today announced the award of more than $37 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to 17 projects supporting solid-state lighting core research, product development, and domestic manufacturing.

Solid-state lighting, which uses light-emitting diodes (“LEDs”) and organic light-emitting diodes (“OLEDs”) instead of incandescent bulbs, has the potential to be ten times more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent lighting.

Lighting needs account for almost one-quarter of the total electricity used in the United States today. Those needs could be reduced by as much as one-third by 2030 if cost-effective solid-state lighting is adopted on a national basis.

Link to the full story and the list of selected projects:  http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/progress_alerts.cfm/pa_id=287

Secretary Chu Announces $80M for Biofuels

DOE Secretary Chu's announcement today regarding $80 million of ARRA funding for biofuels is potentially a positive development for the long-term development of the biofuels industry.  What is worrisome from a practical perspective  is the division of funding.  The National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts, centered in St. Louis, received $44 million to develop a systems approach for the sustainable commercialization of algal biofuel and bioproducts.  The National Advanced Biofuels Consortium, based here in the Pacific Northwest, received up to $34 million to develop infrastructure compatible biomass-based fuels.  Meanwhile eight infrastructure projects received up to $1.6 million to support expanded fueling infrastructure for ethanol blends. While the Administration is ahead of the curve in recognizing the importance of long-term support for the development of advanced biofuels, it is overlooking the increasingly challenging environment in first generation biofuels.  Simply put- and purely in my opinion- there will be no second generation of biofuels if the first generation does not again thrive.  The ethanol industry has hit a blend wall that the EPA has not been willing to help them overcome in the short term.  Adding $1.6 million in E-85 infrastructure is but a chip in that wall when one considers the massive costs involved in building a national infrastructure.  On the biodiesel side, the current industry has not yet received an extension of its tax credit and was already facing severe challenges.  The investors who supported the expansion of the first generation biofuels industry are still tracking their investments and the policy support for the industry.  While government funding will further the development of the science of advanced biofuels, private sector involvement will be essential to the ultimate commercialization of these fuels.  To accomplish its ultimate goals, the Administration will need to begin to address these issues in a systematic manner.

Show Me The Money: $2.3 Billion for Clean-Tech Manufacturing Jobs

January 8, 2010: today President Obama announced the award of $2.3 billion in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (“ARRA”) Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for tens of thousands of clean energy jobs on 183 clean energy manufacturing projects across the 43 states. United States, including the domestic manufacture of wind turbine and solar panels. The tax credits will support job creation in the domestic clean tech manufacturing industry and are a step towards meeting the President's goal of doubling the US’ use of renewable energy in the next three years.

Show Me the Money: $47 Million for Efficiency in IT & Communications

 

Today Energy Secretary  Chu announced that the Department of Energy will award $47 million for 14 nation-wide projects  that will support the development of new technologies improving energy efficiency in the information technology (IT) and communications sectors – specifically, data processing, data storage, and telecommunications industries. The increase in energy consumption in these sectors is a direct corollary of the industries’ brisk expansion. Improving energy efficiency will provide significant energy and cost savings.

U.S. Department of Energy Announces Final Rule Amending Regulations for Loan Guarantee Program

On December 7, 2009, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the issuance of a final rule amending the October, 2007 Final Regulations implementing the Loan Guarantee Program under Section 1703 of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (the "Section 1703 Program").  The amendments implemented through the final rule were first identified in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Opportunity for Comment  issued by the Department of Energy ("DOE") on August 7, 2009.  The comment period for the proposed amendments ended on September 22, 2009; the comments received by the DOE from the industry and other interested parties were largely supportive of the proposed amendments.

In a nutshell, the amendments to the regulations outlined in the final rule are designed to:

  • provide flexibility in the determination of an appropriate collateral package to secure the guaranteed loan obligations;
  • eliminate the requirement that the Secretary receive a first priority lien on all project assets as a condition for obtaining the loan guarantee;
  • facilitate collateral sharing and related intercreditor arrangements with other project lenders; and
  • provide a more workable interpretation of certain statutory provisions regarding DOE's treatment of collateral that is more consistent with the intent and purposes of Title XVII.
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Technical Correction to Section 1603 Grant May Loosen Rules for Investment by Tax Exempts

 

On December 2, House Ways & Means Chairman Rangel and Ranking Member Camp introduced a tax technical corrections bill (H.R. 4169).  We will likely see an identical version introduced in the Senate very soon.

Included among the technicals are changes to the Grant in Lieu of ITC under section 1603 of ARRA.  The most important change is one that allows the grant to be made to certain tax-exempt organizations.

Under current law, the grant may not be made to a governmental entity, tax-exempt entity, certain other entities (including Indian tribes and electric coops), or a pass-thru entity that includes any of the former as an equity owner.  This provision has made it impossible for these organizations (or funds that include such organizations) to invest in renewables and receive the grant unless they establish a blocker (taxable) corporation to hold their interest in the project.  Many entities are uncertain whether they have the authority to establish taxable corporations.

The technical, if enacted, would provide that a grant may be made to tax-exempt organizations, retirement funds, and to state colleges and universities (but not other governmental entities) if the income from the project is treated as income from an unrelated trade or business (“UBTI”).  In most situations, this would be the case where power from the qualified facility was being sold.  It is not clear whether this provision would apply if the power was being used for the entity’s own purposes (not sold).  Where applicable, the technical will eliminate the need for a blocker corporation in cases where the tax exempt or retirement fund is an investor or where a college or university is selling the power.  Note -- the technical does not eliminate the need for a blocker corporation in order for the entity to qualify for accelerated depreciation.

Nevertheless, this could be a major change, particularly for colleges and universities that are selling renewable power but which otherwise could not receive the grant. 

A cautionary note: the technical has not yet been enacted and it is not clear when it will be.  However, to even be introduced, a technical has to have been agreed upon by both tax writing committees, which means its enactment is virtually assured eventually.

Please contact your favorite Stoel Rives attorney with any questions. 

 

Show me the Money: $564 Million Awarded to Integrated Biorefinery Projects

In an earlier blog post, Debra Frimerman reported that the U.S. Department of Energy was seeking applications for grants to help promote the construction and operation of pilot, demonstration, and commercial scale integrated biorefinery projects. Today, DOE announced the selection of 19 projects to receive up to $564 million in grant money authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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DOE Awards $620 Million for Smart Grid and Energy Storage Projects

Yesterday, DOE announced awards of $620 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”) funds for Smart Grid demonstration projects and large-scale energy storage systems. The $620 million is broken down as follows:

 • $435 million to support 16 fully integrated, regional Smart Grid demonstrations in 21 states, representing over 50 utilities and electricity organizations with a combined customer base of almost 100 million consumers. The Smart Grid demonstration projects incorporate smart meters, distribution and transmission system monitoring devices and DOE wants the awardees to be role models for the deployment of integrated Smart Grid systems on a broader scale. An additional $1 billion will come from the private sector for a total of $1.6 billion in Smart Grid projects nationally.

• $185 million to fund 16 utility-scale energy storage projects including advanced battery system, flywheels, and compressed air energy systems.

A copy of the DOE’s press release can be found at http://www.energy.gov/news2009/8305.htm

Upcoming Webinar: Stimulus Bill Part 3 - The DOE Loan Guarantee Program for Clean Energy Projects

We invite you to join us for the third installment of our complimentary Stimulus Bill Webinar series. This session will focus on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program, which received nearly $6 billion in Stimulus Bill funding. The DOE recently redesigned the program in an effort to bring private capital back to large-scale renewable energy project development. Since the release of the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP) solicitation, there have been some promising initial signs with several prominent U.S. and European-based banks actively supporting projects.
 

Our panel of experts includes a current DOE program official with knowledge of the program's intricacies, an investment banker who was a former director of the program and a Stoel Rives attorney who is assisting clients through the application process. The webinar will discuss the innovative and commercial programs, FIPP, the evolving rules for the program, the application process and the type of projects the program was developed to support.
 

Speakers:

Richard Corrigan, Senior Advisor, Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee Program
 

Walter S. Howes, Former Director of DOE's Loan Guarantee Program, current Managing Partner, Verdigris Capital LLC
 

Graham Noyes, Former VP of Sales and Business Development, Imperium Renewables LLC; current Attorney, Stoel Rives LLP
 

When:
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
10 a.m. Pacific; 11 a.m. Mountain; noon Central; 1 p.m. Eastern 
 

Cost:
Complimentary 
 

Register:
Register online at http://www.stoel.com/webcasts

Upcoming Webinar: The Treasury Grant Program - Follow-up and Q&A

Join us for Structured Tax Incentives Part Deux! Our follow-up webinar will again include Vicky McDowell, Chief Administrator of the Treasury ITC Grant program. Unlike the first session, we will not use a formal presentation; instead, we will cover in greater detail the issues raised in your comments and will attempt to answer as many of your questions as we can.

We invite and encourage you to submit questions to us in advance. Please email your questions by Monday, November 16, to Nicole Lyman at nmlyman@stoel.com or call (612) 373-8842.

Speakers:

Greg Jenner, a tax partner in our Minneapolis office, has worked extensively on energy-related tax issues. Previously, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy from 2002 through 2004.

Victoria McDowell is the Deputy Administrator for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). In 2009, she was detailed to Main Treasury to be Chief Administrator of the Treasury ITC Grant Program.

Kevin Pearson, a tax partner in our Portland office, focuses principally on federal income tax law, including both transactional matters and tax controversy matters.

When:
Thursday, November 19, 2009
10 a.m. Pacific; 11 a.m. Mountain; 12 p.m. Central; 1 p.m. Eastern

Cost:
Complimentary

Register:
Register online at http://www.stoel.com/webcasts.

Come Visit Us at E3, The Midwest's Premier Energy, Economic and Environmental Conference, on Nov. 17, 2009

As a proud Exhibit Hall sponsor of E3, the Midwest’s premier energy, economic and environmental conference, Stoel Rives LLP would like to encourage you to attend this annual event. Hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment, E3 will focus this year on the intersection of innovative technologies and policies, environmental benefits and emerging market opportunities across the renewable energy spectrum.

Stoel Rives attorneys Mark Hanson, Bill Holmes and Greg Jenner are part of the event faculty. Mark will moderate a panel presentation on the challenges and opportunities of converting carbon dioxide to fuels. Bill will moderate a panel discussing exactly how sophisticated smart power grids need to be in order to scale up renewables as a major U.S. energy contributor. Greg, meanwhile, will participate in a panel discussion on the most efficient and effective strategies for financing renewable energy projects.

 

For more information and to register, please visit the following link: http://bit.ly/XUUjJ. We hope to see you there, and encourage you to visit our booth (#24). In addition to our presenters, Debra Frimerman, Kevin Johnson, Kevin Prohaska, Katie Roek, Mary Sennes, Joe Thompson and Vicki Twogood will be available to discuss any questions you may have. Don’t forget to pick up complimentary copies of our Law of Series handbooks, including The Law of Solar, The Law of Wind, The Law of Biofuels, The Law of Building Green, Lava Law,and our most recent additions The Law of Algae and Show Me the Money: The Law of the Stimulus (2d ed).

Show Me the Money: DOE To Announce 100 Smart Grid Awards Today

Later today, the Department of Energy will announce the 100 smart grid projects that will receive smart grid stimulus finds.   A complete list of the awards should be available later today; three have been announced early:

  • Baltimore Gas and Electric: $200,000,000 from DOE and $251,000,000 from other sources
  • Sempra Energy: $28,000,000 and $31,000,000 from other sources
  • Cobb Electric Membership Corp. (Marietta, GA): $16,000,000 – no information on additional funding requirements

The DOE reported that the quality of the applications were extremely high. The ratio of applications to grants was 4:1 and the funding requested was 5 times the amount that was available.

Upcoming Webinar: The Stimulus Bill - Structured Tax Incentives

Stoel Rives is proud to sponsor an upcoming webinar series on key legal issues of The Stimulus Bill. Session dates and topics include:

November 4, 2009
Structured Tax Incentives


November 18, 2009
Grants & Applications – The Process and the Pitfalls


December 2, 2009
The DOE Loan Guarantee Program Long-Term and Ongoing

The first session, on November 4, will discuss Structured Tax Incentives. The Treasury grant under Section 1603 has been a game changer for the renewable energy market. Most people are familiar with the basics of the Treasury grant; however, many questions have arisen about how the grant will work in practice:

  • How will Treasury interpret various standards, including starting construction and placing in service?
  • How will Treasury police recapture events?
  • What changes might be expected regarding disqualified persons?

Join us for a discussion of these and other pressing questions.

Each session will be 60 minutes and feature question & answer period. The panels will also respond in real time to questions submitted by listeners.

A live Twitter feed will be available at #stimulusbill

REGISTER HERERegistration is free

Minnesota Renewable Energy Projects RFP

The State of Minnesota’s Office of Energy Security (OES) is requesting proposals from organizations that are engaged in or will engage in the manufacture of renewable energy systems or fuels, energy storage systems, geothermal energy systems for heating and cooling, components of these systems, or equipment for the manufacture of these systems or components.

The maximum award is $1 million. Up to a total of $2 million is available to all recipients. OES anticipates that two to six projects will be selected for awards under this solicitation.

All work to be performed within a proposed scope of work must be completed no later than June 30, 2011.  An applicant must provide at least 40 percent of the total cost of the proposed scope of work. Applicant’s match may be cash or in-kind. 

Each applicant must submit a notice of intent no later than December 4, 2009 to be eligible. Final proposals are due on December 18, 2009. OES anticipates provisional notification of successful applicants no later than January 29, 2010. Final selection will be contingent on determination by U.S. Department of Energy of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.    

For more information and to download a copy of the RFP, please visit www.energy.mn.gov and click on Active Request for Proposal (RFP).

Obama Administration Invests $300 Million in a Green Federal Fleet

The Obama Administration has met its goal to invest $300 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on fuel-efficient vehicles for the federal fleet. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced that it has ordered :

· 3,100 fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles for $77 million;

· 14,105 fuel-efficient vehicles including alternative-fuel and hybrid vehicles, for $210 million; and

· 35 hybrid electric buses, and one hybrid electric car for $12.4 million.

Most of the new vehicles will be in use by the end of this month, replacing older, less-efficient models in the federal fleet. By increasing the fuel efficiency of its fleet, the new vehicles will save an estimated 16.7 million gallons of fuel over the next seven years, which translates to 334 million less pounds of greenhouse gases emitted and a savings to taxpayers of at least $40 million in fuel costs.

US and China Co-Host First Electric Vehicle Forum

140 U.S. and Chinese officials met in Beijing at the first U.S.-China Electric Vehicle Forum to discuss progress in the electric vehicle industry and opportunities, concluded October The meeting highlighted the rapidly growing electric vehicle industry in China and the US (which are two largest auto markets and energy consumers, and together emit more than 40% of the world's greenhouse gases).

The meeting is the result of from growing U.S.-China collaboration on clean energy technologies. In July, the United States and China announced plans to develop a U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) that will facilitate joint R&D on clean energy by bringing together teams of scientists and engineers and providing an information clearing house to help researchers in both countries. The CERC has identified clean vehicles as a priority for joint projects.

Show Me the Money: $100 million for Smart Grid Workforce Training

 

On September 21, 2009, the DOE issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (“FOA”) for $100 million in funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to support workforce training for the smart grid and electricity transmission sectors.  The FOA supports two primary workforce training strategies:

 

·       $35 -$40 million to develop training programs to achieve a national, clean energy smart grid. This funding will be open to a range of applicants, including utilities, colleges and universities, trade schools, and labor organizations.

 

·       $60-$65 million to conduct workforce training programs for new hires and retraining programs for electric utility workers and electrical equipment manufacturers to educate them in smart grid technologies.

 

$13 Million Awarded from the Rural Energy for America Program

In an earlier blog, my colleagues, Debra Frimerman and Janet Jacobs reported about the Rural Energy for America Program (“REAP”), in general and specifically in regards to small wind projects.  REAP is a Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) program that provides grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements and conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems.  Eligible renewable energy systems include those that generate heat, electricity or fuels from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro power, and hydrogen based feed stocks.

The USDA has announced that it has awarded more than $13 million in REAP funds for 233 renewable energy projects in 38 states. Examples of the awards include a $1.8 million guaranteed loan and $500,000 grant for Milford Wind Energy, LLC; a $435,271 guaranteed loan and $435,271 grant for Unaka Forest Products, Inc.; and a $15,000 grant to Pacifica Marine, Inc.

 

 

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Show Me the Money: $454 Million in Energy Efficiency Retrofits

 

The Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced a new $390 million energy upgrade program under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (“EECBG”) Program that could save $100 million annually in utility bills. DOE is looking for community-scale retrofit projects that will have a significant, long-lasting impact on energy consumption and which can be replicated in communities nationwide.

DOE is also making $64 million available under the EECBG to local governments that were not eligible to receive the formula grants announced earlier this year under the population-based formula.

These programs were announced through a Request for Information (“RFI”) issued today under the competitive portion of the EECBG Program.  DOE is seeking public comment until Sept. 28, 2009.

A link to the Request for Information is below. This is not a funding opportunity announcement  so no applications can be made at this point. The FOA is expected to be released in early October, following the public comment period.

 

 

http://doe-iips.pr.doe.gov/iips/faopor.nsf/1be0f2271893ba198525644b006bc0be/daf445e535572106852576310046fae5?OpenDocument

Free Webinar on Loan Guarantee Program Hosted by DOE

The U.S. Department of Energy is hosting a free webinar on "How to Build a Strong Application" for the DOE Loan Guarantee Program on Tuesday, September 8, 2009 from 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST.  The webinar is intended to explain the loan guarantee program and help lenders and applicants navigate the application process.  DOE will also be providing suggestions on how to create a strong loan guarantee application

DOE recently released two solicitations under the program for innovative energy efficiency, renewable energy and advanced transmission and distribution technologies and transmission infrastructure investment projects.  DOE is particularly interested in wind, closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, trash-to-energy, hydropower and solar projects that are able to commence construction before September 30, 2011. 

DOE will be hosting a series of free webinars on the application process over the next few months. 

Show me the Money: Washington State Issues Final Guidance for Competitive Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides $3.2 billion for energy efficiency and conservation block grants. Most of this money has been allocated directly to various local governments. Washington has an additional $6.4 million available through a competitive grant program.

Washington’s competitive grant program is administered through its Department of Commerce. Today, the Department of Commerce has announced the issuance of final guidelines for applications by smaller cities and counties for funds from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. Cities with populations lower than 35,000 and counties with populations lower than 200,000 are eligible to apply. Eligible cities and counties may choose to sub-grant their funds to other local governments, non-profits, or the private sector consistent with the guidelines.

 

The application guidelines, form, and frequently asked questions are available at www.commerce.wa.gov/recovery. The Department of Commerce will host a webinar on September 10, 2009, 9:00-11:00a.m., to review the final guidelines and answer questions. You can register for the webinar at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/352879171. For more information contact Heather Ballash at energy_policy@commerce.wa.gov.

First Treasury Grants in Lieu of ITC Awarded

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the first awards of cash grants in lieu of the investment tax credit (ITC) today.  The total award value was over $502 million.  Recipients include projects in Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas.  Click here for a detailed list of the awards announced today.  Additional awards will be announced in the coming weeks. 

For more information on this program and the application process, please see the Stoel Rives Energy Law Alert:  Treasury Issues Guidance on Applications for Grants in Lieu of the ITC and PTC.

Show Me the Money: State Energy Programs for Seven States and Territories Awarded $119 Million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("Recovery Act")

On August 14, 2009, the Department of Energy ("DOE") State Energy Program ("SEP") announced that more than $119 million in funding from the Recovery Act to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects has been awarded to Alabama, American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, North Dakota and Wyoming.

Here is a summary of how the monies will be used by each of the states and territories:

  • Alabama has been awarded $22,228,000 in federal stimulus funds.  Alabama will utilize the Recovery Act  SEP funding to promote energy efficiency of businesses (with a particular focus on the automotive supplier industry), schools, and correctional facilities and the development of renewable energy resources in the state.  The state will also use funds to create a new "energy revolving loan fund" to stimulate the creation and retention of jobs and increase the generation of renewable energy by providing low-interest loans for new and existing industries in the state.  The loans will be used for the installation of renewable energy systems and the implementation of energy efficiency measures.  After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, Alabama will receive nearly $28 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $55 million.  Click here for more information regarding Alabama's state energy program and use of Recovery Act funds.
  • American Samoa was awarded $7,420,000 in federal stimulus funds.  American Samoa will utilize the Recovery Act SEP funding to expand the use of renewable energy across the territory, as well as to supplement weatherization funds to improve home energy efficiency for low-income residents.  Specifically, the territory will install a 1,000 kW photovoltaic solar-energy array near the Tafuna Power Station, 19 smaller 28 kW solar arrays on the roofs of government and other buildings, and a solar water heating system at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center.  American Samoa is also interested in expanding its use of wind power, and will use Recovery Act funds to set up eight anemometers to measure and quantify the territory's wind potential.  After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the territory will receive more than $9 million in additional funding, for a total of $18 million.
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SHOW ME THE MONEY II AVAILABLE NOW

We announce the publication of the second edition to our “Show Me The Money - the Law of Stimulus Bill”. The second edition of the guide reviews the various programs and potential sources of federal funding for clean energy companies and projects. Like the first edition published in May, the second edition addresses funding opportunities under the ARRA for each of the following energy industry areas: wind, solar, biofuels, biomass, smart grid, transmission, geothermal, marine and hydrokinetic, green building, energy efficiency, advanced battery and fuel cell technology, clean energy equipment manufacturing, green vehicles and clean coal. The guide contains information about the funding opportunities released up to August 10, 2009, and we will be tracking federal and state level hrough our client alerts and blogs.


Click here to access Show Me the Money II.
 

Show me the Money: $66 Million for State Weatherization Assistance Programs

Today, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced more than $66 million in Recovery Act funding to four states for their weatherization assistance programs. The funding will help weatherize over 26,000 homes, lower energy costs, reduce pollution, and create green jobs across the country. Here is how the funds will be used in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut and Hawaii:

 

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Show me the Money: $343 Million Deployed to Transmission Project in Washington and Oregon

The Department of Energy has announced that $343 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been provided to the Bonneville Power Administration's ("BPA") McNary-John Day transmission project (the "McNary-John Day Line") in Washington and Oregon. 

The McNary-John Day Line runs 79 miles from the McNary Substation in Oregon, through Washington, and ending at the John Day Substation in Oregon.  The BPA has stated that the new line will help promote wind and other renewable energy generation in the Pacific Northwest. 

The McNary-John Day Line will be energized by 2012 and provide transmission service for over 575 megawatts of electricity. 

 

Show me the Money: DOE Proposes Amendments to its Loan Guarantee Program

Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend 10 CFR Part 609, the rule regulating the loan guarantee program authorized by section 1703 of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  The two principal goals of section 1703 of Title XVII are to encourage commercial use of new or significantly improved energy-related technologies and to achieve substantial environmental benefits.  (See these recent alerts regarding the DOE loan guarantee program and the related application process)

After reexamining Title XVII, the DOE has concluded that the statute does not require a first lien on all project assets.  DOE has discovered that its current requirement that it be in lien position is in conflict with the financing structure of many energy projects.  For example, many utility scale power plants are jointly owned by public power agencies, cooperative power systems and investor-owned utilities.  In these cases, it may not be commercially feasible to obtain a lien on all project assets or the credit of a sponsor may be sufficient to support a more modest pledge of assets.

Furthermore, DOE has found that other parties are interested in participating as co-lenders, co-guarantors, or insurers of Title XVII loans.  However, these other parties expect to share, on a pari passu basis, in any collateral securing such loans.

Consequently, DOE proposes two amendments to the current rules:

  1. Delete the requirement of a first priority lien on all project assets and leave to the Secretary (of DOE) the determination of an appropriate collateral package, as well as intercreditor arrangements; and
  2. Allow the Secretary (of DOE) to determine if pari passu lending is in the best interests of the United States

 

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Show Me the Money: $2.4 Billion for NexGen Batteries and Electric Vehicles

48 new advanced battery and electric drive projects will receive a total of $2.4 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The projects, which were selected through a competitive bidding process by the Department of Energy, will support U.S. manufacturing of batteries, electric drive components and electric drive vehicles. The dollar amount of the awards will be matched by the recipients and industry experts believe that the sum of $4.8 billion will create thousands of new manufacturing jobs in the U.S. battery and auto industries.

 

The awards were divided up as follows:

  • $1.5 billion to produce batteries, battery components and to expand battery recycling capacity
  • $500 million to produce electric drive components for vehicles
  • $400 million to purchase thousands of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles and charging stations.

Show me the Money: $5.5 million available for Ethanol Blends

Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced the release of a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) related to ethanol blends.  The FOA provides up to $5.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to increase the use of higher ethanol blends through expanding refueling infrastructure and funding outreach to promote public awareness.

$3.5 million is available to fund refueling infrastructure related to higher ethanol blends.  Potential projects include modifications, upgrades, or expansions of fuel pumps at retail gas stations.

$2 million is available to fund national campaign projects that increase public awareness of the benefits, safety, and use requirements of higher ethanol blends.

Applications for this FOA are due October 4, 2009.

Applications Now Being Accepted for ITC Grants

The U.S. Department of Treasury announced today that it has begun accepting applications for grants in lieu of tax credits pursuant to section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). ARRA permits an applicant to receive a Treasury Department grant rather than claiming investment tax credits (ITCs) or production tax credits (PTCs) for certain renewable energy property.

To be eligible for a grant, the property must be placed in service in 2009 or 2010, or if construction starts in 2009 or 2010, must be placed in service by the end of 2012 (for wind), 2013 (for biomass, geothermal and other resources) or 2016 (for solar). The grant amount is typically equal to the amount of the ITC for which the project owner would otherwise have qualified (for example, generally 30% of the qualified cost of the project).

The Treasury Department has also provided a means by which applications may be submitted online, as well as a form for obtaining an accountant’s certification for projects with cost bases that exceed $500,000.   For applicants who want to assign grant payments to another person, the Treasury Department provides a notice of assignment form and a link to register with the Central Contractor Registration, which is required to qualify for the grant.

To see the full client alert, visit http://www.stoel.com/showalert.aspx?Show=5779.

To see a description of ARRA and previously issued Treasury guidelines, see our previous alert at http://www.stoel.com/showalert.aspx?Show=5682.


Show me the Money: $11.8 Million Awarded for Solar Energy Grid Integration

Today, in recognition that solar energy is a critical factor in the President's clean energy agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that $11.8 million ($5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) will be deployed to five projects related to the development of solar energy grid integration systems (SEGIS).  This follows our earlier client alerts regarding funding opportunities for solar technologies.

SEGIS activity began in 2008 with a partnership between DOE, Sandia National Laboratories, industry, utilities, and universities interested in complete system development.  Funded projects are related to the integration of solar technologies into the U.S. electrical grid while maintaining or improving power quality and reliability.

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Biofuels Still in the Spotlight: $6.3M for Biofuels Research

Last week, U.S. Department of Energy  ("DOE") Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA") Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the winning candidates for up to $6.3 million in awards for research leading to improved use of plant feedstocks for biofuel production.  The seven projects announced follow the green jobs and renewable energy Rural Tour event hosted by the two cabinet Secretaries in Virginia on the weekend of July 18-19.  These investments are intended to further the Obama Administration’s efforts to broaden the nation’s energy portfolio while decreasing our dependence on foreign oil.

These grants will be awarded under a joint DOE-USDA program begun in 2006 that is committed to fundamental research in biomass genomics, providing the scientific foundation to facilitate use of lignocellulosic materials for bioenergy and biofuels.  Since lignocellulosic crop plants are less intensive to produce and can grow on poorer quality land, competition with crops grown for food production is avoided. For more information on these awards, go to DOE's site for the DOE-USDA biomass genomics research program.

DOE will provide $4 million in funding for four projects, while USDA will award $2.3 million to fund three projects.  Initial funding will support research projects for up to three years. 

Perhaps the most amazing fact from this announcement is that Secretary Chu is on facebook!  How does he find the time?  This attorney is impressed.  Check out his video announcement on next generation biofuels here.

Show me the Money: $54 million in Funding for State Energy Programs

From our colleague Christina Asavareungchai:

Today, the Department of Energy announced more than $54 million in Recovery Act funding to four states under its State Energy Program ("SEP"). Here is how the funds will be used in Nevada, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin:

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EPA's Region 10 Awards over $1.6M to Portland to Reduce Diesel Emissions

Similar to the July 21, 2009 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ("EPA") Region 5 award, EPA's Region 10 has awarded over $1.6 million to reduce emissions from Portland municipal fleet vehicles and construction contractor equipment.  The funds are provided under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 ("ARRA") National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program.  Under this funding competition,  EPA Region 10 received over 49 grant applications requesting over $80 million to help fund clean diesel emission projects. 

In addition to reducing diesel emissions from municipal fleet vehicles and construction contractor equipment, this project will fund installation of fuel operated heaters--and idle reduction technology--on 247 vehicles in Portland and Multnomah County diesel fleets as a strategy for reducing diesel emissions while also decreasing fuel costs and climate pollution.

EPA estimates that this award will create or sustain an estimated 34 manufacturing and local installation jobs and will help Oregon municipalities and their contractors decrease operating costs by achieving fuel savings.

Show me the Money: Green Jobs Grants

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued $500 million for green job training.  This money is being released through a series of competitive grants.

If you are an organization within Washington State, the Governor's Office requests that you submit a brief information form to the Governor's Evergreen Jobs Leadership Team.  The Team is compiling a list of potential applicants which will be posted on a public website.  The information on this list will be available for stakeholders to find grant partners and leverage resources.

A copy of the form is available here: http://www.wtb.wa.gov/documents/clearinghousegrantform.doc

 

Show me the Money: Webinar Explaining the Wind Turbine Drivetrain FOA

About a month ago we issued an alert regarding a $45 million funding opportunity announcement ("FOA") for the development of a wind turbine drivetrain testing facility (alert available here).

Today, the Department of Energy ("DOE") announced that they are hosting a webinar regarding this FOA.  The webinar will be held July 30, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.  Through this webinar, DOE will provide a brief overview of the FOA and will participate in a question and answer period.  However, all questions must be submitted in advance (by July 27, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern) to windDynamometer@go.doe.gov

To attend this webinar, register in advance by clicking here.

EPA Awards More Than $5.7M to Reduce Diesel Emissions and Create Jobs

Today, the US. Environmental Protection Agency (the "EPA") Region 5 has awarded millions of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ("ARRA") dollars to the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest for the reduction of diesel emissions.  The funds are provided under the ARRA National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program under  which EPA Region 5 had received 81 grant applications requesting more than $211 million to help fund clean diesel emission projects.  

To the American Lung Association, EPA Region 5 awarded $3.7 million for on-road and non-road diesel projects that will reduce diesel emissions for 502 vehicles in 22 public and private fleets, including school buses, long-haul trucks, short-haul trucks, construction vehicles and municipal vehicles.  Technologies include repowers (engine replacement with cleaner engines), retrofits, and idle reduction.  For information on the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, visit www.lungum.org.

To the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, EPA Region 5 awarded $2 million to help heavy-duty diesel truck owners reduce idling time.  Using the Wisconsin Department of Commerce's Diesel Truck Idling Reduction Grant Program as a platform, this funding will help heavy-duty diesel truck owners purchase and install EPA-verified idle-reduction technologies.  Technologies include auxiliary power units and generator sets, battery air conditioning systems, thermal storage systems, and fuel-operated heaters.  At least 444 trucks will be impacted.  For more information about the Wisconsin Department of Commerce program, visit commerce.wi.gov/bd/BD-CA-Diesel-Grant-Program.html.

 

ARRA alloted the National Clean Diesel Campaign a total of $300 million, of which the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program received $156 million to fund competitive grants across the nation.  ARRA also included $20 million for the National Clean Diesel Emerging Technology Program grants and $30 million for the SmartWay Clean Diesel Finance Program grants. For information about EPA's clean diesel initiatives, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel

Show Me the Money: $47 Million for Smart Grid Projects

 

$47 million in grants has been awarded under the DOE's ARRA stimulus program towards existing projects that are advancing grid technologies. 

         

 The awardees include:

·       Zenergy Power which will receive $8.1 million for its power surge technology.

·       American Superconductor is to receive about $12.4 million for two separate projects to develop its power surge technology.

·       Fort Collins, Colorado, was awarded $4.84 million for its peak load reduction technology. 

·       Consolidated Edison received $5.63 million award to develop and demonstratetrue interoperability between an energy delivery firmand retail electric consumers in New York. 

·       The Illinois Institute of Technology is to receive $5.4 million to develop and demoa flexible system geared to the needs of the end-user. 

·       The University of Hawaii, Manoa-Hawaii Natural Energy Institute was awarded$5.55 million to explore the management of distribution system resources.

·        The University of Nevada, Las Vegas was awarded $5.7 million for distributed generation.

 

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech) also won a $1.3 million initiative to develop and maintain a website that will  answer questions from the public and distribute information about smart grid.

Funds Available to Repower Biorefineries

USDA recently announced that it will deploy up to $20 million to encourage the use of renewable biomass as a replacement fuel source for fossil fuels as well as to provide process heat or power in the operation of eligible biorefineries. Eligible biorefineries are biorefineries that meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Convert renewable biomass into biofuels and biobased products and may produce electricity
  2. Located in rural areas
  3. In existence on or before June 18, 2009
  4. Primary production is liquid transportation biofuels

USDA may make payments under this program to any biorefinery that meets the program requirements for up to three years.  USDA will determine the amount of payments to be made to a biorefinery based on the following factors:

  1. Quantity of fossil fuel a renewable biomass system is replacing
  2. Percentage reduction in fossil fuel used by the biorefinery
  3. Cost effectiveness of the renewable biomass system
  4. Economic benefit to the community
  5. Potential to improve the quality of life in rural America

The number of payments will vary and be based on the number of applicants and availability of funds but will not exceed $5 million or 50% of total eligible product costs.  Applications are due by November 1, 2009.

Show me the Money: $162 million Deployed to Seven State Energy Programs

From our colleague Christina Asavareungchai:

Today, the Department of Energy announced more than $162 million in Recovery Act funding to seven states and territories under their State Energy Programs (“SEPs”). Here is how the funds will be used in Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico:

 

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Show me the Money: Recovery Act Finance Opportunities Conference

On July 17, 2009, the Puget Sound Regional Council hosted a Regional American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Coordination meeting.  At this meeting, there was a presentation on Bond Financing, Loan Guarantees, and Tax Credits plus a discussion on monetizing energy efficiency savings. 

In case you missed this meeting, I want you to be aware of a couple of resources.

First, on July 31, 2009, there is a workshop regarding Recovery Act Finance Opportunities in Washington.  The workshop will be hosted by the Washington Department of Commerce (formerly the Department of Community Trade and Economic Development or CTED) and held in Bellevue, and you can register here.

Second, our tax group has issued an informative, yet concise, alert regarding the grant in lieu of the production tax credit (available here).

$22 Million for Community Renewable Energy

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced this week that up to $22 million from the Recovery Act would be allotted to up to 4 eligible communities nationwide in order to encourage utility-scale renewable energy systems that provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy supplies for their communities, while creating jobs and new economic development opportunities. The projects will demonstrate how multiple renewable energy technologies, including solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal systems, can be deployed at scale to supply clean energy to communities.  Eligible applicants are local and state governments, Indian Tribes and Tribal Energy Resource Development Organizations or Groups.

Successful applicants will be awarded financial assistance to support the implementation of an integrated renewable energy deployment plan for a community, and the construction of renewable energy systems.  DOE expects each project to also have substantial private sector investment in addition to the funds from DOE.  Completed applications are due September 3, 2009 and the DOE will select awardees by the end of November 2009.

SHOW ME THE MONEY:Funding of $85 million for Algal and Advanced Biofuels

 

The U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) today announced Recovery Act funding of up to $85 million over a three year period for the development of algae-based biofuels and advanced, infrastructure-compatible biofuels. DOE wants leading scientists and engineers from universities, private industry, and government to collaborate in developing advanced biofuels and a thriving domestic bio-industry. Examples of advanced biofuels include green aviation fuels, green gasoline, and green diesel from a variety of biomass feedstocks.

 

The DOE will award between $25 million and $50 million to one or two teams that develop cost-effective algae-based biofuels.  The remaining $35 million will be awarded to one team that can use the existing infrastructure to produce, distribute and transport algae-based biofuels. 

 

Only teams may apply and applications are due September 14, 2009.   No letters of intent are required.

U.S. Wind Industry Breaks Records in 2008, Gets a Boost From Secretary Chu

Today, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that 28 new wind energy projects will receive up to $13.8 million in funding for wind turbine research and testing and transmission analysis, planning, and assessments. Most of the $13.8 million comes from Recovery Act funds. Recognizing the struggles that Americans are facing in the current economic climate, Secretary Chu noted that the Recovery Act funds are intended to rebuild the fundamentals of the economy, in part by “spur[ring] a revolution in clean energy technologies.” Chu added that wind energy is a “critical factor” in achieving President Obama’s clean energy and job growth goals. 

Secretary Chu’s funding announcement was coupled with the release of the Department of Energy’s 2008 Wind Technologies Market Report. As detailed in the report, the U.S. wind industry continues to reach impressive milestones. For the fourth year in a row, the U.S. boasted the fastest-growing wind power market. Also for the fourth consecutive year, wind power was the second largest new resource added to the electrical grid, contributing 42 percent of all new U.S. electrical generating capacity in 2008. As a result of increased demand for wind, the share of domestically manufactured wind turbine components increased dramatically in the last three years, with about 50 percent of these components now being manufactured in the U.S. In 2008, approximately 8,400 new domestic manufacturing jobs were added in the wind sector. Given these statistics, it is no wonder that cultivating a strong domestic wind industry is one of the keys to meeting the Obama Administration’s clean energy and economic recovery goals. 

Show me the Money: Applications Available for the Washington State Energy Program

Washington previously received $60.9 million in Recovery Act funding for its State Energy Program (“SEP”). The Washington Legislature later provided $38.5 million to the Washington State Community, Trade and Economic Development (“CTED”) agency to administer a loan and grant program for eligible projects in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean energy innovation (see our earlier blog entry here for more details). The deadline for submitting a notice of intent to apply is July 27, 2009 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time, and the application is due August 17, 2009 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time.

I attended an informational meeting held by CTED on July 13, 2009. The meeting provided an overview of the loan and grant program, as well as funding details, eligibility guidelines and evaluation criteria. Eligible projects can receive between $500,000 to $2 million in loans and grants in the first round, with the requirement that applicants provide other sources of funding at least equal to the amount of the loan or grant request. The non-SEP funding may include amounts spent or committed to the project since January 1, 2009. Projects will be evaluated based on the feasibility and quality of the project plan, the experience and qualifications of the project team, the ratio of matching funds to SEP funds, job creation, and energy savings/production. CTED intends to announce award decisions in September 2009.

Show Me the Money:$300 Million Rebate for Purchases of Energy Efficient Appliances

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu today announced the availability of nearly $300 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for state-run rebate programs for consumer purchases of new ENERGY STAR® qualified home appliances.

 

The new funding will be awarded according to a formula to states and territories that submit a plan specifying which ENERGY STAR appliance categories will be included in the program, the amount of the rebate level and other information. States and territories must first file an initial application expressing their intent to participate by August 15, 2009, followed by a full application by October 15, 2009. States and territories will receive 10% of the funds after submitting the initial application with the balance awarded after their program plans are approved. DOE anticipates that a vast majority of funding will be awarded by November 30, 2009. The complete Funding Opportunity Announcement, under number DE-FOA-000011.

Show Me the Money: $141 Million Awarded Under State Energy Program

From our colleague Christina Asavareungchai:

Today, the Department of Energy announced more than $141 million in Recovery Act funding to six states and territories under its State Energy Program (“SEP”). Here is how the funds will be used in Hawaii, Maine, Nebraska, New Mexico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Texas:

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Treasury Issues Guidance on Applications for Grants in Lieu of the ITC and the PTC

 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which was enacted in February, permits an applicant to receive a grant from Treasury in lieu of claiming investment tax credits (ITCs) or production tax credits (PTCs).

Today the U.S. Treasury Department issued much-anticipated guidance concerning applications to receive cash grants in lieu of claiming income tax credits for certain renewable energy projects. Although the guidance includes a sample application form, the U.S. Treasury has stated that it will not accept applications until August 1.

Read the full analysis on this guidance including grant details, eligibility and the application process at www.stoel.com

If you have questions about today's Treasury Department guidance and grants in lieu of ITCs or PTCs, contact:

Chris Heuer at ckheuer@stoel.com
Greg Jenner at gfjenner@stoel.com
Carl Lewis at cslewis@stoel.com
Kevin Pearson at ktpearson@stoel.com
Adam Kobos at  ackobos@stoel.com

Show me the Money: Up to $31 Million for the Building America Partnerhsip

On June 29, 2009 the Department of Energy ("DO") issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement to provide up to $31 million in grants to implement the Building America ("BA") program. The BA program is part of DOE's Building Technologies Program, and its long-term goal is to develop cost-effective, production-ready systems in five major climate zones that will result in zero energy homes, which produce as much energy as they use, by 2020. The BA program does not pay for home improvements; rather, it pays for showing the home building industry how to minimize the cost of building or retrofitting with significantly improved energy efficiency.

Today, in response to a question that I submitted, DOE has clarified that multi-family homes could qualify as homes under the BA program.

Our full client alert is available by clicking here.

 

Show me the Money: Washington Regional Recovery Act Meetings

For those of you interested in Stimulus Funding for your Renewable Energy or Clean Tech projects, I will be attending most of the following  Prosperity Partnership’s Regional ARRA Coordination meetings.

The meetings are located at the Puget Sound Regional Council's meeting rooms at 1011 Western, Suite 500 in Seattle, WA.

  • July 17 from 2-4 pm - Presentations regarding Recovery Act Bond Financing, Loan Guarantee & Tax Credits
  • August 7, 2-4 pm – Presentations by Departments of Labor and Agriculture
  • August 14, 2-4 pm – Presentations by Department of Education, & Onvia
  • September 11, 2-4pm – Accountability, Transparency and Reporting Workshop
  • September 25, 2-4 pm – “Share Your Project Session,” Part 2

The Prosperity Partnership also has a nice Regional ARRA Coordination website available here: http://prosperitypartnership.org/recovery.htm  The Prosperity Partnership has also published a helpful guide: Basic Introduction to Energy-Related ARRA Funding Opportunities

 

 

 

 

Show me the Money: Applications Available now for Washington's State Energy Program

On July 1, 2009, Washington State’s Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (“CTED”) issued application guidelines and forms for its State Energy Program (“SEP”) (available by clicking here). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Recovery Act”) provided $60.9 million in new funding for Washington’s SEP. Subsequently, the Washington Legislature allocated $38.5 million to CTED to administer a loan and grant program for energy efficiency and renewable energy program (see our client alert, available here, regarding the legislative action). 

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Advanced Biofuel Producer Payments - FY 2009 Deadline Approaching!

Advanced biofuels producers must enroll by August 11, 2009 to be eligible to receive payments from the USDA for FY 2009 production under Section 9005 of the 2008 Farm Bill.  Eligible producers of advanced biofuels may receive payments for advanced biofuels produced from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009 (FY 2009).  $30 million is available for distribution under this program for advanced biofuels producers in FY 2009. 

The amount of payments made to individual producers will depend on the number of program participants and the volume of advanced biofuels being produced. Payments will be made in one lump sum to eligible producers after FY 2009.  Contact your local USDA Rural Development State Office for application materials or to learn more.
 

Treasury, Energy Announce More than $3 Billion in Recovery Act Funds for Renewable Energy Projects

  Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (the "Treasury") and the U.S. Department of Energy (the "DOE") announced an estimated $3 billion for the development of renewable energy projects around the country.  Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("ARRA"), the program will provide direct payments in lieu of tax credits in support of an estimated 5,000 bio-mass, solar, wind, and other types of renewable energy production facilities.

  ARRA authorized the Treasury to make direct payments to companies that create and place in service renewable energy facilities beginning January 1, 2009.  A company can only apply for payment after the renewable energy property has been placed in service.  Previously these companies could file for a tax credit to cover a portion of the renewable energy project's costs; under the new program, applicants would agree to forgo tax credits down the line in favor of an immediate reimbursement of a portion of the property expense.  This direct payment program allows for an immediate stimulus in local economies.

  In recent years, the tax credit has been widely used.  As an example, in 2006, approximately $550 million in tax credits were provided to 450 businesses.  However, the rate of new renewable energy installations has fallen since the economic downturn, as projects have had a harder time obtaining financing.  The Treasury and DOE expect a fast acceleration of businesses applying for the announced energy funds in lieu of the tax credit.

  To expedite implementation of the program, the DOE and Treasury have made the terms, conditions, guidance, and sample application available at www.treas.gov/recovery/1603.shtml.  The Treasury and DOE are not accepting applications yet, but these available forms will allow companies to prepare applications and expedite the implementation of the program when the government is ready for submissions on August 1, 2009.  The DOE and Treasury have 60 days to process the application once submitted.

 

TREASURY GUIDANCE -- GRANT IN LIEU OF ITC

UPDATE!!!!!

Just informed by Treasury that guidance will "go live" at noon EDT. 

Go towww.treas.gov/recovery/1603.shtml

DOE Extends Application Deadline for FOA on Combined Heat and Power Technologies

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) issued a revised Funding Opportunity Announcement (“FOA”) of up to $40 million to speed up the development and implementation of combined heat and power (“CHP”) technologies. The FOA covers large, medium, and small CHP systems and aims to finance research, development, and demonstration of stationary CHP systems that focus on increasing efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The FOA  intends to facilitate development of technologies that are highly efficient, capable of meeting future emissions requirements, and able to substitute for or reduce natural gas usage. The deadline for applications has been extended to July 21, 2009. For more information on this FOA, go to Grants.gov.   

DOE Announces $59 million in Conditional Loan Guarantees

On July 2, 2009, the Department of Energy ("DOE") announced $59 million in conditional loan guarantees in the form of $16 million for a wind turbine assembly plant and $43 million for a 20 megawatt flywheel energy storage plant.

Nordic Windpower, USA has been conditionally offered a $16 million loan to support the tooling and commercial-scale set up of its assembly plant in Pocatello, Idaho.  This assembly plant produces one megawatt two blade turbines which are 10% less costly to manufacture, install, operate, and maintain than competing systems.

Beacon Power was conditionally offered a $43 million loan to support the construction of a 20 megawatt flywheel energy storage plant in Stephentown, New York.  The flywheel system is utilizing a newly developed technology to provide frequency regulation services by absorbing and discharging energy to maintain the consistency of power on the electric grid.

Treasury Guidance -- Grant in Lieu of ITC

UPDATE!!!!!!

We have just been informed that the release of the Treasury guidance for the grant in lieu of ITC has been postponed until tomorrow -- Thursday, July 9.  This is being done in order to all ow Treasury to first brief Members of Congress and their staffs on the details of the guidance.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Show me the Money: $10.5 Million for Solar America Cities

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced new funds of up to $10.5 million to inform and educate local governments nationwide about solar energy. As part of the Solar America Cities program, a joint effort with 25 cities dedicated to increasing their use of solar energy, the DOE has assembled educational materials about the benefits and value of solar energy. The DOE will now work with outreach organizations to share these materials and tools with local government officials, with the aim of speeding up the implementation of solar energy. The application deadline is October 15, 2009, with selections expected to be announced no later than December 15, 2009.

For more information, click here for our recent Energy Alert.

Treasury Guidance -- Grant in Lieu of ITC

We have just been informed by the Treasury Department that they plan to release their first set of guidance on the new grant in lieu of the ITC (section 1603 of ARRA) tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday, July 8).  We are not certain yet of the time, although we're told it will be in the afternoon at a press event..

We will publish updates as more information becomes available.

 

Show me the Money: $7.5 Million Available to Develop Commercial Energy Efficiency Training Programs

On June 26, 2009, the Department of Energy ("DOE") released a funding opportunity announcement ("FOA") to deploy $7.5 million in Recovery Act funds to further its goals of reducing energy consumption and achieving net zero-energy buildings (defined as buildings that produce as much energy as they consume).  In order to reach these goals, DOE recognizes that a workforce must be created to help existing buildings reach, and new buildings keep, their full energy efficiency potential.

This specific FOA provides ten to thirty individual awards from $250,000, to $750,000 to develop training programs for three specific sets of commercial building specialists:

  1. Equipment technicians,
  2. Operators, and
  3. Energy commissioning agents/auditors

Entities involved with energy efficiency, professional development associations, trade training/development associations, universities, community colleges, technical trade schools, and apprenticeship programs are encouraged to apply.

Applications must be submitted by September 1, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Show Me the Money: $153 Million for Seven States

 

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced more than $153 million in Recovery Act funding to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New York, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With today's announcement, these states and territories will now have received 50% of their total Recovery Act State Energy Program (“SEP”)  funding. The initial 10% of total funding was previously available to states to support planning activities; the remaining 50% of funds will be released once states meet reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act. Transparency and accountability are important priorities for SEP and all Recovery Act projects. Throughout the program's implementation, DOE will provide strong oversight at the local, state, and national level, while emphasizing with states the need to quickly award funds to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies.  For more information, see http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/progress_alerts.cfm/pa_id=196

Stoel Rives Expands Its San Diego Office

 

We welcome energy attorneys Morten Lund and David Quinby to the firm’s San Diego office as members of the Energy and Telecommunications group. They join attorneys Howard Susman and Brian Nese. The San Diego office has relocated to a larger space at 12265 El Camino Real, Suite 303, to accommodate further expansion (new contact information below).

http://www.stoel.com/images/photos/Lund-M.jpg

Morten Lund, formerly a partner with Foley & Lardner LLP in Milwaukee, has experience in a broad variety of financing transactions, with particular focus on the development and financing of wind and solar energy projects. Morten is a frequent presenter and author on renewable energy topics. He earned his law degree from Yale University in 1995 and obtained his A.B. at Augustana College in 1992. He is admitted to practice law in the state of Wisconsin and is pending bar admission to the state of California.

_____________________________________________

http://www.stoel.com/images/photos/Quinby-D.jpg

David Quinby is the current office managing partner of the firm’s Minneapolis office, and will now split his practice between California and Minneapolis. He concentrates his practice on corporate, securities, finance, and merger and acquisition matters, with a particular focus on renewable energy clients and their project development efforts. David is admitted to practice law in the state of Minnesota and is pending bar admission to the state of California.

The California energy team's capabilities also include real estate, land use and permitting, equipment procurement and construction, state and federal regulation, environmental matters, and dispute resolution.

Stoel Rives has received a national ranking for its Renewables and Alternative Energy practice from Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2009), rating among the top law firms in this category. The firm has been at the forefront of growth in renewables in recent years and represents many of the industry leaders in solar, wind energy, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric, ocean, combined-cycle natural gas, carbon sequestration and biofuels project development in California, the United States, Canada and abroad.

For more information about the Stoel Rives Renewable Energy Group, visit www.stoel.com/renewableenergy or contact:

Howard Susman at  (8... or hesusman@stoel.com
David Quinby at  (8... or dtquinby@stoel.com
Morten Lund at  (8... or malund@stoel.com
Brian Nese at  (8... or bjnese@stoel.com

 

Show me the Money: $12.9 million available for Geologic Sequestration Training and Research

The Department of Energy ("DOE") has released $12.93 million to fund geologic sequestration training and research. $7.93 million is available for awards to all universities, colleges, and college-affiliated research institutes and $5 million is available for awards to historically black colleges and universities or other minority institutes listed on the Office of Civil Rights's accredited post secondary minorities institution list. 

Individual awards will be made across five areas of interest:

  1. Simulation and Risk Assessment
  2. Monitoring, Verification, and Accounting
  3. Well Completion, stimulation, and Integrity
  4. Capture and Transport- including pipeline transport and pre-combustion capture
  5. Post-Combustion capture- including oxy-combustion capture

DOE anticipates awarding 42 awards ranging from $100,000 to $300,000 to fund research projects involving field projects for hands-on training opportunities. 

 

SHOW ME THE MONEY: $4.15 Billion Available for Smart Grid Projects

 On June 25, 2009, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (“FOA”) to deploy over $4.15 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“Recovery Act”) to be used to fund smart grid projects. These funds are being deployed through two FOAs. The first FOA provides $3.4 billion to support the Smart Grid Investment Grant (“SGIG”) program and is related to projects that further one or more smart grid functions as listed in Section 1306(d) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (“EISA”). The second FOA provides $615 million to support the Smart Grid Demonstration Program (“SGDP”) and is related to projects that demonstrate new and more cost-effective smart grid technologies.

For more information, see our latest client alert available by clicking here.

 

 

Show Me the Money: $304 Million Allocated to Three States for Weatherization Assistance Programs

On Friday, June 25, 2009, the Department of Energy ("DOE") announced more than $304 million in Recovery Act funding to three states for their weatherization assistance programs. The DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program will enable families making up to 200% of the federal poverty level – about $44,000 a year for a family of four – to save on energy costs by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes.

Here is a summary of how the funds will be used in Georgia, Illinois, and New York:

Georgia will use its funds to weatherize more than 13,600 homes over three years, with priority given to homes occupied by elderly residents and elderly residents with disabilities. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Georgia will receive $62 million in additional funds, for a total of almost $125 million.

Illinois will use its funds to weatherize nearly 27,000 homes over three years. The state will provide sub-grants to existing local agencies that have effectively provided energy audits and home weatherization in the past, followed by final inspections of weatherized homes. In addition, Illinois will expand its training and certification program to prepare its workforce for the weatherization assistance program. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Illinois will receive over $121 million in additional funds, for a total of more than $242.5 million.

New York will use its funds to weatherize more than 45,000 homes over three years. The state plans to coordinate its weatherization program with other state agencies to maximize benefits to low-income clients. The state will also encourage weatherization assistance to be rendered along with services provided by non-federal sources, like utilities and the Red Cross. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, New York will receive $197 million in additional funds, for a total of more than $394 million.

DOE Announces $154 million in Funding for State Energy Programs

Yesterday, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced more than $154 million in Recovery Act funding to four states for their State Energy Programs (“SEPs”). The funds were awarded to California, Missouri, New Hampshire, and North Carolina. The funding is to be provided in two stages to the four states with the second stage requiring successful performance at the first level. The funding is to be utilized in the areas of energy efficiency, workforce training, education and related programs.

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U.S. Department of Labor Announces US $500M For Green Job Training

 

U.S. Dept of Labor announced five grant competitions this week, totaling US $500 million, to fund projects out of Recovery funds that prepare workers for green jobs in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. Four of the competitions are designed to serve workers in need of training through various national, state and community outlets. These include Energy Training Partnership Grants, Pathways Out of Poverty Grants, State Energy Sector Partnership and Green Capacity Building Grants. The fifth competition, for State Labor Market Information Improvement Grants, will fund state workforce agencies that will collect, analyze and disseminate labor market information and develop labor exchange infrastructure to direct individuals to careers in green industries.  See: link to DOL page: http://www.doleta.gov/grants/find_grants.cfm

Show Me the Money: Minnesota, South Carolina, and South Dakota State Energy Programs Received $51.4 Million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)

On June 24, 2009, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced more than $204 million in ARRA funding to ten states for their State Energy Programs (“SEPs”).

Here is a summary of how the monies will be used in Minnesota, South Carolina and South Dakota:

Minnesota has been awarded $21.7 million in federal stimulus funds for retrofitting existing public buildings and homes, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and to develop new training opportunities. Minnesota’s SEP will award grants to small, medium, and large businesses to help provide for the design, financing and installation of various energy efficiency improvements and retrofits.  The state will also administer grants to work with utilities to develop programs that leverage ARRA funds to promote energy efficiency with customers, such as low-interest loans and grants. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, Minnesota will receive more than $27 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $54 million. This money is in addition to the $132 million the state will receive for weatherization grants for low-income households.

South Carolina  has been awarded $20.2 million in federal stimulus funds. South Carolina’s SEP will utilize the funding to provide grants and loans to improve energy efficiency in public school districts, public colleges and universities, and state agencies to reduce the burden of energy bills for taxpayers, while creating jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  South Carolina also intends to provide financial assistance to various industrial, commercial and small business entities to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.  This financial assistance, along with education and training programs included in the SEP, will help create clean energy jobs in the state and make business and industry more economically stable. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $25 million in additional funding, for a total of over $50 million.

South Dakota has been awarded $9.5 million in federal stimulus funds. South Dakota’s SEP will use its funding to support the Energy Efficient Government program and to provide revolving energy loans to state institutions. The programs will promote energy efficiency efforts while reducing energy costs in state owned buildings, which will directly benefit state residents.  The state’s energy office will administer the funds, provide technical guidance, and assure accountability and transparency for the state institutions who apply for the two programs.  These programs coordinate with South Dakota’s energy goals to promote and encourage energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy and alternative fuels. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $11 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $23 million.

My colleagues have blogged on the other seven states that received funds including:  Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Utah, Connecticut, Washington and Arizona.

 

Show me the Money: Florida, Idaho, and Kansas State Energy Programs Received $77.1 Million from the Recovery Act

On June 24, 2009, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced more than $204 million in Recovery Act funding to ten states for their State Energy Programs ("SEPs"). 

Here is a summary of how the monies will be used in Florida, Idaho, and Kansas:

Florida's SEP will fund energy efficiency, renewable energy, and alternative fuels projects in the state.  Florida will deploy these funds through several loan and grant programs to promote the commercialization of new clean technologies.  Florida was awarded $50.4 million, and will receive an additional $63 million after demonstrating successful implementation of its SEP.

Idaho's SEP will launch a set up new programs, including the Renewable Energy Business Development Program, to further renewable energy development in the state while creating new jobs and stimulating the economy.  Further, new zoning regulations will be created to attract renewable energy developers and projects.  Idaho received $11.4 million and will receive more than $14 million in additional funding after demonstrating successful implementation of its SEP.

Kansas's SEP will launch several initiatives to boost energy efficiency in commercial buildings, increase financial options for renewable energy, and increase cost savings for individual homeowners in its state.  A portion of the money will also be deployed to create a new utility rate price plan and to fund an energy audit rebate plan.  Kansas received $15.3 million and expects to receive an additional $19 million after demonstrating successful implementation of its SEP.

 My colleagues are blogging on the other states that received funds. 

Show Me the Money: $204 Million for State Energy Programs in 10 States

 

U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) Secretary Steven Chu today announced more than $204 million in Recovery Act funding to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in ten states, including Washington and Arizona. Under DOE's State Energy Program (“SEP”), states have proposed plans that promote energy savings, create or retain renewable energy jobs, increase the use of renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These ten states have now received 50% of their total SEP funds and will get the remaining 50% provided that they meet reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones.

The Recovery Act appropriates a total of $3.1 billion to the SEP. Eligible categories include energy audits, building retrofits, education and training programs, increased use of alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles, among others. Besides encouraging technology innovation, DOE intends that the funds be used for activities that promote new jobs and stimulate the local economy.

My colleagues are blogging on the other 8 states that received funds today. Here is a summary of how the monies will be used in Arizona and Washington:

Arizona plans to initiate a series of novel programs aimed at providing support for local renewable energy manufacturers and products. Arizona plans to create a revolving loan program for small business owners who are looking for funds to improve the use of energy or install solar projects at their facilities, and to manufacturers of renewable energy or energy efficiency equipment and technologies.  After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, Arizona will be granted an additional $27 million, for a total of $55 million.

Washington will use its Recovery Act funds for two major programs: the Community-Wide Urban Residential and Commercial Energy Efficiency Program and the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Loans and Grants Program Fund. Under these programs, Washington funds will be allocated to energy efficiency improvements and home weatherization, agricultural energy assessments, green job creation and to the development of a clean energy state policy. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, Washington will receive the other 50% of SEP monies of $30 million for a total of over $60 million.

Show me the Money: Conneticut and Utah State Energy Programs

Today, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced more than $204 million in Recovery Act funding to ten states for their State Energy Programs ("SEPs"). 

Here is a summary of how the monies will be used in Connecticut and Utah:

Connecticut will use its SEP funding to further a variety of programs. Examples include the deployment of alternative-fuel vehicles and in-home energy audits. In-home energy audits involve a specialist performing an energy assessment, weatherizing the home, and installing energy conservation devices. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $19 million, for a total of $38 million.

Utah will use its SEP funding to collect data about potential renewable energy resources in the state and to improve energy efficiency. The energy efficiency program will provide financial incentives to upgrade residential, commercial, public education, and government buildings. New construction developments will also qualify for rebates if they meet specific energy efficiency goals. After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $17 million, for a total of $35 million.

My colleagues are blogging on the other 8 states that received funds today. 

 

Show me the Money: Mandatory Registrations to be Eligible for Stimulus Funding

In general, parties that are considering applying for Stimulus Act funding for their project must preregister at the following websites: 

  • Applicants must obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System number (DUNS)
    DUNS website: http://www.dnb.com/US/duns_update/
  • Applicants must register with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) 
    CCR website: http://www.ccr.gov/
  • Applicants must register with FedConnect to submit their application. 
    FedConnect website: www.fedconnect.net

Numerous parties have reported that these websites may take several days to process registration requests.  As such, I recommend that you register immediately if you are considering federal funding as a component of your project.

If you have trouble completing your registration in time for an application deadline, please use the following phone numbers to inquire about your registration status:

  • DUNS Customer Assistance: 1-800-234-3867
  • CCR Assistance Center: 1-888-227-2423
  • FedConnect Support: 1-800-899-6665

 

 

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants - Formula Grants

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, provides over $2.7 billion in formula-based grants to states, U.S. territories, units of local government, and Indian tribes under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program. 

 

The purpose of the EECBG Program is to assist eligible entities in creating and implementing strategies to:

  • reduce fossil fuel emissions in a manner that is environmentally sustainable and, to the maximum extent practicable, maximizes benefits for local and regional communities;
  • reduce the total energy use of the eligible entities; and
  • improve energy efficiency in the building sector, the transportation sector, and other appropriate sectors.

The funding opportunity announcement (FOA) related to the EECBG has been recently amended.   Originally, all applications had to be submitted through the FedConnect website, www.fedconnect.net.  The most recent announcement to the FOA allows for applications to be submitted via email to eecbg@netl.doe.gov with the subject line "EECBG Application (Unique Identification Code)."

Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program Update

 

June 23, 2009: the Obama Administration announced $8 billion in conditional loan commitments for Ford, Nissan and Tesla to support the development of innovative, advanced vehicle technologies. Ford Motor Company received a commitment of $5.9 billion to retool several  to produce more fuel efficient models; Nissan received a commitment of $1.6 billion to retool their Tennessee factory to build advanced electric automobiles and an advanced battery manufacturing facility; and a commitment of $465 million was made to Tesla Motors to manufacture electric drive trains and electric vehicles in California. 

These are the first conditional loan commitments reached as part of the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. The Department plans to make additional loans under this program over the next several months to large and small auto manufacturers and parts suppliers up and down the production chain with fuel-efficient technologies 

Show me the Money: $57 million Deployed to 30 Biomass Projects

On June 11, 2009, the Department of Agriculture ("USDA") announced that thirty projects, located in fourteen states, would receive $57 million in Recovery Act funding.  Of these funds, $49 million will be for wood-to-energy grants and $8 million is for biomass utilization.

These funds will serve two important objectives.  First, the funds will promote the development of biofuels from wood and stimulate renewable energy infrastructure. Second, the projects will create a market for low value woody biomass that would otherwise constitute fuel for wildfires.

For information about specific projects, please call the United States Forest Service or go to http://fs.usda.gov

Show me the Money: $10 million for Climate Showcase Communities

On June 16, 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") issued a request for applications ("RFA") for its Climate Showcase Communities Grant Program.  The RFA provides $10 million for programs to help lower green house gas ("GHG") emissions through energy and resource management.

Eligible activities are those that reduce GHG emissions in the following priority areas:

  • Use or supply of green power products, on-site renewables, and other clean energy supply options;
  • Energy performance in municipal operations (including municipal energy, water, and waste-water utilities);
  • Energy performance in residential, commercial, agricultural, aqua-culture, and/or industrial buildings;
  • Land use, transportation, or community master planning;
  • Reduction of vehicle miles traveled;
  • Solid waste management;
  • Agricultural, aqua-cultural, and natural resource management;
  • Heat island management;
  • Removal of barriers for greenhouse gas management, through the development of effective programs, policies, or outreach; or
  • Other innovative activities which generate measurable reductions of greenhouse gases

The EPA expects to award up to 30 cooperative agreements.  Individual awards can be as high as $500,000, but most awards will range in value from $300,000 to $500,000.  Eligible entities include local governments, Indian tribes, and intertribal consortiums.

Applicants must submit an informal notice of Intent to Apply by July 1, 2009 and full applications are due July 22, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. EDT.

Show me the Money: $6.97 Million for Sequestration Training

The Department of Energy is requesting proposals for regional sequestration technology training.  The funding is available to develop regional training that promotes the transfer of knowledge and technologies related to carbon capture and sequestration technologies. 

Up to $6.97 million in Recovery Act Funding as available for up to 7 individual awards.

Proposals must be submitted by July 22, 2009.

Air Force Seeking Biomass Plant on Texas Base

The Air Force has announced a presolicitation related to biomass project on Dyess Air Force Base in Texas.  A request for proposals is expected to be issued on July 15, 2009.

The Air Force is seeking proposals from private contractors to fund, design, construct, operate, and maintain the biomass energy plant.  Feedstocks will be municipal solid waste and/or biomass.

The Air Force will enter into a power purchase agreement for the renewable energy generated from the plant.  The contractor is free to sell the renewable energy credits to others.

For more information on this project, contact ronald.miller@dyess.af.mil and reference Solicitation # Dyess-Biomass-Plant-0900001

Navy Seeking Proposals for Geothermal Investigations

The Naval Air Warfare Center has issued a presolicitation for geothermal investigations at Eastern Lava Mountains, Almond Mountain, and Southern Slate Range Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California.

The investigations shall be conducted in two phases.  The first phase consists of a geologic field study, fault trenching, thermochonologic sampling and analysis, and geologic modeling.  The second phase  will be for resource refinement, drilling support, and other exploration.

The final request for proposal is expected to be issued on June 22, 2009.  For more information, contact sue.casey@navy.mil and reference solicitation # N6893609R0076

Show me the Money: USDA funded Research for Small Businesses

The Department of Agriculture ("USDA") is now accepting proposals for its Small Business Innovation Research Program ("SBIR").  SBIR has $18.5 million available to fund research projects that address important problems facing American agriculture.  Research areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Biofuels and biobased products;
  • Air, water, and soils;
  • Rural development;
  • Aquaculture; and
  • Animal Manure management

Individual awards can be as high as $90,000 and proposals are due September 3, 2009.  For more information click here.

Click here for more information on USDA funding opportunities.

 

Biomass Crop Assistance Program

The USDA has released a proposed Notification for Funds Availability (NOFA) for the Collection, Harvest, Storage and Transportation (CHST) of eligible biomass material.  CHST is one of the programs under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, which was created by the 2008 Farm Bill.  

The purpose of CHST is to provide matching funds to eligible persons or entities for the collection, harvest, storage and transportation of eligible material delivered to qualified biomass conversion facilities.  Through this program, the Commodity Credit Corporation will provide matching payments on a dollar for dollar basis for each dry ton of eligible biomass delivered to a qualified biomass conversion facility, up to a maximum of $45 per ton.  The matching payments are available to eligible persons or entities delivering the biomass to the facility who have the right to collect or harvest the biomass and are considered the owners of it.

The NOFA, once finalized, will be used to administer payments for CHST in advance of the rule on the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Comments on the NOFA are being requested through August 10, 2009.

For more information on USDA funding opportunities, please see our recent alert.

Show me the Money: Net-Zero Energy Commercial Building

The Department of Energy ("DOE") expects to establish net-zero energy performance for all U.S. commercial buildings by 2050. DOE  has issued a funding opportunity announcement ("FOA") to support this goal.  $1 million will be awarded to fund the collection of information on technologies for individual components and systems to support this goal.

 

 

SHOW ME THE MONEY: Clean Coal Power Initiative Round 3

On June 9, 2009, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) re-opened a Funding Opportunity Announcement (“FOA”) related to the Clean Coal Power Initiative (“CCPI”). The CCPI is a cost-shared collaboration between government and industry to advance clean coal technologies in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005. CCPI goals include advancing clean coal technologies for commercial development.

This FOA provides $1.4 billion for CCPI projects, of which sum $800,000 is being made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the “Recovery Act”). The funding can be directed at the following types of projects:

  • Demonstration of a commercial technology that achieves a 50% CO2 capture efficiency and makes progress toward a target CO2 capture efficiency of 90% in a gas stream containing at least 10% CO2 by volume;
  •  Capture and sequestration goals of less than 10% increase in the cost of electricity for gasification systems and less than 35% for combustion and oxycombustion systems as compared to 2008 practice; and
  • Capture and sequester or put to beneficial use a minimum of 300,000 tons per year of CO2 emissions.

Show me the Money: Carbon Capture and Benficial Carbon Dioxide Use

On June 8, 2009, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (“FOA”) to deploy over $1.4 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“Recovery Act”) to be used to lower our nation’s carbon emissions. The FOA will support projects in two areas: (1) the capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources, and (2) demonstration of innovative concepts for beneficial CO2 use. 

Applications under this FOA are Due August 7, 2009.

Show me the Money: Seminar for Identifying Funding for Renewable Energy Projects

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides almost $94 billion dollars in direct and indirect spending to clean energy company and projects. See Show me the Money: A Guide to Sources of Funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

On June 17, 2009, I will be speaking in Cle Elum, Washington about how to get your project "shovel ready" for Stimulus Funding.  The seminar will also include sessions on identifying sources of funding and application mechanics.

Please click here for event information

Commercial Scale Carbon Sequestration

On June 12, 2009, the Department of Energy ("DOE") announced that an agreement has been entered to develop the nation's first commercial scale, fully integrated, carbon capture and sequestration project in the country. 

The Project will be constructed by the FutureGen Alliance and will serve as a flagship facility to demonstrate commercial scale carbon capture and storage.  DOE will issue a Record of Decision on the project by the middle of July.  Funding will be phased and conditioned based on completion of NEPA review.

The Project will receive funding from the following sources:

  • $1 billion from Recovery Act funds for carbon capture and storage research
  • $73 million from other federal funding
  • $400-600 million cost share from the FutureGen Alliance (based on 20 member companies contributing $20-30 million each over a four to six year period)

 

 

Show me the Money: $256 Million Investment to Improve Energy Efficiency

On June 1, 2009, the Department of Energy ("DOE") announced plans to deploy $256 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("Recovery Act") to be used to improve the energy efficiency of the American economy. Three recent DOE Funding Opportunity Announcements ("FOAs") have been issued in conjunction with this Recovery Act announcement. Additionally, a related FOA has been announced using funds appropriated outside of the Recovery Act. The recently announced funding will support projects in three areas: (1) sustainable energy infrastructure and energy efficient industrial technologies, (2) improved energy efficiency for information and communication technology and (3) advanced materials in support of clean energy technologies and energy-intensive processes.

Click here for more complete details.

 

 

Show me the Money: $24 million Funding Opportunity for Wind Energy Research and Development

On June 2, 2009, the Department of Energy ("DOE") issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement ("FOA") providing $24 million for the development of consortia between universities and industry to focus on critical wind energy challenges.

DOE intends on awarding two to three grants of $8-12 million.  The grants will be used to address two areas:

  • Partnerships for Wind Research and Turbine Reliability.  Universities in wind resource areas are encouraged to apply with industry partners to study major challenges facing today's wind industry.  DOE is highly encouraging research in turbine reliability, but projects are eligible if they meet one or more challenges described in the 20% Wind Energy by 2030 report.
     
  • Wind Energy Research & Development.  Universities are encouraged to apply with industry partners for grants to fund R&D to advance material design, performance measurements, and analytical models related to wind energy development.  The goals of this research shall be to improve power systems operations, wind turbine and/or component manufacturing, and interdisciplinary systems integration.

Applicants interested in either area must file a letter of intent by June 16, 2009 and FOA applications are due by July 29, 2009.

 

*****UPDATE******

On June 19, 2009, DOE announced an extension to the deadline for submittal of a letter of intent for this program.  Letters of intent must now be submitted by June 29, 2009.  Applications are due on July 29, 2009.

 

Show me the Money: DOE Delivers $80 Million to Four States for Weatherization

On June 8, 2009, the Department of Energy ("DOE") announced the transfer of approximately $80 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("Recovery Act") to Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, and Oregon to expand state weatherization assistance programs.  These four states have now received 50% of their Recovery Act funds for the Weatherization Program.

Arizona received an award of $22.8 million for the Arizona Weatherization Assistance Program ("AZ WAP").  The AZ WAP will use the Recovery Act funds to weatherize 6,409 homes over the next three years, provide training for technicians to perform such weatherization, and work with local utilities to review energy consumption for weatherized homes.  After demonstration of successful implementation of this plan, Arizona will receive more than $28 million in additional funding.

Kansas received an award of $22.6 million for the Kansas Weatherization Assistance Program ("K-WAP").  K-WAP will use the Recovery Act funds to weatherize 5,820 new homes through a collection of public and private nonprofit agencies.  K-WAP has also increased the number of trainings it runs to meet the increased demand for weatherization workers.  After demonstration of successful implementation of this plan, Kansas will receive $28 million in additional funding.

Mississippi received an award of $19.8 million for its weatherization program.  The Mississippi weatherization program will use the Recovery Act funds to weatherize 5,467 homes through the Community Services Division at the Mississippi Department of Human Services.  After demonstration of successful implementation of this plan, Mississippi will receive $24 million in additional funding.

Oregon received an award of $15.4 million for its weatherization program.  The Oregon weatherization program will use the Recovery Act funds to weatherize 4,635 homes through a network of 22 subgrantees (including community action agencies, housing authorities, area agencies on aging, senior centers, a development corporation and Native American tribes).  After demonstration of successful implementation of this plan, Oregon will receive $28 million in additional funding.

 

Show me the Money: $350 million in Stimulus Funds Available Now for Geothermal Projects

On May 27, 2009, President Obama announced that the Department of Energy ("DOE") would deploy $350 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("Recovery Act") to be used to expand development, deployment, and use of geothermal energy throughout the United States. Four recent DOE Funding Opportunity Announcements ("FOAs") have been issued in conjunction with this announcement. The recently announced Recovery Act funding will support projects in five areas: (1) geothermal demonstration projects, (2) enhanced geothermal systems ("EGS") research and development, (3) innovative exploration techniques, (4) the creation of a national geothermal data system and a resource assessment and classification system, and (5) ground source heat pumps.

For more specific information, see this alert

Show Me the Money: $117.6 million in Stimulus Funds Available Now for Solar Energy

On May 27, 2009, President Obama announced that the Department of Energy ("DOE") is to provide $117.6 million to support the widespread commercialization of clean solar technologies and to scale up U.S. solar manufacturing and production. The funds are intended to promote partnerships between DOE's national laboratories, universities, local government, and the private sector to promote and improve the U.S. solar industry. The DOE issued two funding opportunity announcements ("FOA") for high-penetration solar deployment and market transformation and one program announcement related to concentrated solar power research and foundational photovoltaics.

For more specific information, see this recent alert.

Show Me the Money: Renewable Energy Financing in the Farm Bill

In an earlier blog, my colleague, Debra Frimerman reported about the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).  REAP provides grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements and conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems.

REAP is a program under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the "2008 Farm Bill").  The 2008 Farm Bill also includes numerous other programs to help develop renewable energy in rural areas and promote the production of sustainable feedstocks for renewable energy production.  Please see this recent alert for specifics.

 

LLC Law Monitor

Renewable energy developers often use limited liability companies (LLCs) as project companies and to form entities for other purposes.  My partner Doug Batey has started a new law blog that will likely be helpful to those charged with setting up, understand and maintaining these LLCs.  Here's today's announcement: 

Stoel Rives LLP is pleased to introduce its new LLC law blog, LLC Law Monitor, at www.llclawmonitor.com

The LLC Law Monitor focuses on the rapidly developing laws affecting limited liability companies. LLCs are a popular form of business entity and are a relatively new development in the law. LLC statutes vary from state to state, and cases of first impression are being decided by state courts every month.

In light of this new and evolving legal environment, Stoel Rives has launched LLC Law Monitor to provide business executives, attorneys, accountants and other professionals engaged in or working with LLCs with timely updates and insights on the new and developing laws shaping this burgeoning business sector.

LLC Law Monitorauthor Douglas L. Batey has nearly 30 years of experience advising executives on corporate and business legal matters. His experience includes counseling clients in a wide range of industries on company formation, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate governance matters.

We hope that you will find the LLC Law Monitor helpful.

http://www.stoel.com/images/photos/batey.gif

Douglas L. Batey
Stoel Rives Corporate Attorney

Apply Now for REAP Grants and Loan Guarantees

The USDA announced today that it is accepting applications under the Rural Energy for America Program (“REAP”).  REAP provides grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements and conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems.

REAP funds are available in the following amounts:

  • Grants for energy efficiency projects are available for up to the lesser of $250,000 or 25% of the project costs.
  • Grants for renewable energy systems are available for up to the lesser of $500,000 or 25% of the project costs.
  • Grants for feasibility studies for renewable energy systems are available for up to the lesser of $50,000 or 50% of the costs of the study.
  • Loan guarantees are available for up to the lesser of $25 million or 75% of the project costs. 

Applicants must be agricultural producers or rural small businesses.  Agricultural producers are farmers or ranchers that obtain more than half of their gross income from agricultural operations.  Small rural businesses are small businesses, as determined in accordance with the Small Business Administration's small business size standards, located in rural areas.  Applications are due July 31, 2009.

Washington's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Comprehensive Application

On May 11, the Washington Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development (“CTED”) filed an application with the United States Department of Energy to receive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”) funds for Washington’s State Energy Program (“SEP”). The application contains funding for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and farm energy assessments. Once the SEP is approved, funding will commence through CTED with advice from the Clean Energy Leadership Council.

Continue Reading...

$480 Million Available for Integrated Biorefinery Projects

Last week DOE released a new funding opportunity announcement for up to $480 million for pilot-scale and demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery projects. An integrated biorefinery uses an “acceptable feedstock” to produce a biofuel or bioproduct as the “primary product.” Acceptable feedstocks include:

  • Algae
  • Certain woody biomass
  • Renewable plant materials so long as it is not generally intended for use as food
  • Crop reside (cobs, stover, etc.)
  • Yard and food waste
  • Certain post-sorted MSW

The projects must be either pilot-scale (processing at least one dry tonne of feedstock per day) or demonstration-scale (processing at least 50 dry tonnes of feedstock per day).

The maximum award for a pilot-scale project is $25 million and the maximum award for a demonstration-scale project is $50 million. Generally, the cost share requirements from non-Federal sources are 20% for pilot-scale projects and 50% for demonstration-scale projects. 

Applications are due June 30, 2009. Although not required, DOE suggests all prospective applicants submit a notice of intent to apply, which can be submitted through May 29, 2009.

Visit www.grants.gov or www.fedconnect.net for more information on this opportunity.

$18 Million of Value-Added Producer Grants Available

USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service is accepting applications for $18 million in Value-Added Producer Grants.  Funds are available for value-added agricultural projects, including farm-based renewable energy projects, for either planning or working capital purposes.  Examples of eligible projects include developing ethanol and biodiesel plants, pelletizing biomass and installing anaerobic digesters.

The maximum grant award is $100,000 for a planning grant and $300,000 for a working capital grant.  Applicants must provide matching funds of at least 100% of the grant award.  Eligible applicants include (1) independent agricultural producers, (2) eligible agricultural producer groups, (3) farmer-owned or rancher-owned cooperatives and (4) majority controlled producer-based businesses.  

Check out our client alert on this opportunity for more information. 

President Obama Directs USDA to Promote and Expand Biofuels

On, May 5, 2009, President Obama announced federal efforts to increase investment and use of advanced biofuels. The President signed a Presidential Directive establishing the Biofuels Interagency Working Group, ordering the Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) to implement financing opportunities from the Food Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (“FCEA”), and announcing additional Recovery Act funds for renewable fuel projects.

The Biofuels Interagency Working Group will be co-chaired by the Secretaries of Agriculture and Energy and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The Biofuels Interagency Working Group will coordinate existing policies and identify new policies to support the development of sustainable next-generation biofuels production. 

President Obama has directed the USDA to immediately begin restructuring existing renewable fuels investments in order to preserve industry employment and develop a comprehensive approach to accelerate the production of American biofuels. Further, the USDA has 30 days to begin deployment of renewable energy financing opportunities from the FCEA. Financing opportunities under the FCEA include loan guarantees and grants for research, development, construction and retrofitting of demonstration and commercial scale biorefineries. 

President Obama also announced that $786.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (for more information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act please see Show Me the Money: The Law of the Stimulus) will be used to expand commercial biorefineries and jumpstart advanced biofuels research and development. The money will be divided as follows:

  • $480 million for integrated pilot and demonstration scale biorefinery projects
  • $176.5 million for commercial-scale biorefinery projects
  • $110 million for fundamental research
  • $20 million for ethanol research

 

"Show Me The Money"

 

We announce the publication of a guide to federal clean energy funding opportunities under the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”). Titled “Show Me The Money,” the guide reviews the various programs and potential sources of federal funding for clean energy companies and projects. The guide addresses funding opportunities under the ARRA for each of the following energy industry areas: wind, solar, biofuels, biomass, smart grid, transmission, geothermal, marine and hydrokinetic, green building, energy efficiency, advanced battery and fuel cell technology, clean energy equipment manufacturing, green vehicles and clean coal. The guide also contains information about some of the funding opportunities and updates at the federal and state level which we will continue to track closely.

$150 Million to Fund ARPA-E Transformation Energy R&D Projects

On April 27, 2009, the first Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) under the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) was announced offering up to $150 million to fund transformation energy research and development projects. These funds are part of the $400 million appropriated to ARPA-E under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Individual awards of $500,000 to $20 million are available to eligible projects. This FOA is aimed at projects that have a well-formed R&D plan that can make a significant contribution towards enhancing the economic and energy security of the United States by reducing imported energy, reducing energy-related gases, including GHG, and improving energy efficiency.

To be eligible, an interested applicant must submit a concept paper to ARPA-E that briefly outlines the technical concept for its project between May 12 and June 2.  Early submission is strongly encouraged. Successful applicants will then be asked to submit full applications. More information on this FOA is available at www.grants.gov.  

Clean Energy Projects To Become Eligible for Washington State's Energy Freedom Program

Washington State's legislature has passed a bill expanding the Energy Freedom Program and the uses to which the Energy Freedom Account can be put.  Previously, funds from the Energy Freedom Account could be applied to biofuels projects only, and appropriations from the Energy Freedom Account to a separate account - the Green Energy Incentive Account - could be used solely to develop alternative fuels fueling stations and related projects.  The bill extends the Program to clean energy projects, energy efficiency and energy technologies and establishes a Energy Recovery Account as another means of funding innovative renewable energy projects through loans or grants.  A more detailed Client Alert will be issued once Governor Gregoire signs the bill.

President Obama Clamps Down on Lobbyists and First Amendment

On March 20th, President Obama issued a directive to the heads of executive branch departments and agencies.  The directive is aimed at achieving the laudable goal of ensuring merit based decision-making for grants and other forms of stimulus funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (usually referred to as the Stimulus Bill).  It seems that while candidate Obama promised repeatedly during his campaign to limit the influence of lobbyists in Washington DC, the passage of the Stimulus Bill has sent record numbers of lobbyists to D.C. to scramble for federal dollars.

In apparent response to this, President Obama has singled out registered lobbyists and regulated their contacts with the executive branch.  His directive provides that “executive department or agency officials shall not consider the view of a lobbyist registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, concerning particular projects, applications, or applicants for funding under the Recovery Act unless such views are in writing.”  Officials are directed to inquire regarding the possible presence of registered lobbyists both upon the scheduling and commencement of phone calls and in-person conversations “with any person or entity concerning particular projects, applications, or applicants for funding under the Recovery Act.”  If any registered lobbyists are detected, the directive forbids them from attending the meeting or participating in the phone call.

Not surprisingly, the American League of Lobbyists (ALL) has objected to the Obama Administrations restrictions.  In a demonstration that politics does indeed sometimes make strange bedfellow, ALL has been joined by the ACLU and the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).  In a letter to the President released Tuesday, these three groups requested that President Obama rescind the constitutionally offensive provisions of the directive immediately.   

As tempting a political target as they may be, registered lobbyists have a place in our political system and rights under our Constitution.  The President should heed the groups’ advice and tailor his directive to enable transparency while not muzzling any voices--including those paid to advocate.