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.
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.
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.
Notable awards include the following:
· $81 million to Bluefire LLC for a Mississippi project to produce up to 19 million gallons of ethanol fuel annually from woody biomass, mill residue, and municipal solid waste.
· $50 million to Sapphire Energy, Inc. for a New Mexico project to produce algal fuels using the Dynamic Fuels refining process.
· $23 million to Clearfuels Technology Inc. for a Colorado scale project to produce renewable diesel and jet fuel from woody biomass.
A complete list of awards is available here.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Hawaii will use its SEP funds to directly finance high-performance buildings, retrofits, and other energy-saving measures, in addition to training professionals in the building and design industry about energy efficiency. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Hawaii will receive additional funds of nearly $13 million, for a total of almost $26 million.
Maine will use its SEP funds to improve energy efficiency across multiple sectors. The funds will facilitate the establishment of more energy-efficient building codes, as well as the expansion of programs that aim to improve the energy efficiency of businesses and homes. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Maine will receive additional funds of more than $13 million, for a total of over $27 million.
Nebraska will use its SEP funds to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. The state will establish more efficient building energy codes, offer energy efficiency training, and fund programs that offer low-interest loans to the commercial and industrial sector. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Nebraska will receive additional funds of more than $15 million, for a total of over $30 million.
New Mexico will use its SEP funds to offer financial incentives for the purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles, alternative fuels, and investments in related infrastructure. The state will also fund building retrofits, energy audits, the establishment of energy codes, and the expansion of the Weatherization Assistance Program. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, New Mexico will receive additional funds of nearly $16 million, for a total of almost $32 million.
The Northern Mariana Islands will use its SEP funds to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings, establish energy efficiency policies, and educate the public about energy efficiency. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, the territory will receive additional funds of more than $9 million, for a total of over $18 million.
Texas will use its SEP funds to establish a revolving loan program for improving energy efficiency at public facilities and to offer competitive grants to state agencies, schools, hospitals, and communities for the implementation of renewable energy technologies. Texas will also use its funds to provide training for green jobs and to launch an educational campaign designed to teach the public about the link between energy conservation, reduced emissions, and job creation. After demonstrating success in the execution of its plan, Texas will receive additional funds of $109 million, for a total of almost $219 million.
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.
If you have questions about today's Treasury Department guidance and grants in lieu of ITCs or PTCs, contact:
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).
Eligible energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean energy projects may be eligible for SEP funding between $500,000 and $2 million.
Eligible energy efficiency projects are those that use technologies that have been deployed at commercial scale that result in the reduction in energy consumption through increases in the efficiency of energy use, production, or distribution, and high-efficiency cogeneration. Ineligible projects are those that are eligible for Recovery Act Funding for community wide urban residential and commercial energy efficiency upgrades as described in (i) Chapter 379, Laws of 2009; (ii) Low income weatherization projects and programs which are eligible for funding through the state’s low-income weatherization program; (iii) Loans support to financial institutions for energy efficiency projects as described in Chapter 379, Laws of 2009; (iv) state energy efficient appliance rebates; and (v) green jobs training as described in Chapter 536, Laws of 2009.
Eligible renewable energy projects are those that are located in Washington and use existing commercial scale technologies that generate liquid fuels, process heat or electricity using algae, bark, biodiesel, biomass, biosolids, food waste, fresh water, gas from sewage treatment facilities, landfill gas, geothermal, pulping liquors, sawdust, solar, hydrokinetics, wind, wood chips and various other waste products. Ineligible projects include those that use the following feedstocks: municipal solid waste, wood from old growth forests, and chemically treated wood.
Eligible clean energy innovation projects include are those that offer innovative new technologies or service delivery models for energy efficiency, renewable energy, or other areas of clean energy. Projects must have a solid chance at commercial scale deployment within two to three years. Ineligible projects include carbon sequestration projects, lab scale projects, and those excluded under federal SEP guidelines.
Interested parties must file a notice of intent to apply by July 27, 2009 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific.
Full applications are due on August 17, 2009 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific.
Information workshops will be held on July 13, 14, 15, and 16. Click here for the specific dates and times. I will be attending the July 13 workshop in Everett, WA. An informational webinar will also be held on July 23.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Equipment technicians,
- Operators, and
- 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
The Prosperity Partnership, a coalition of over 300 government, business, labor and community organizations from King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties in the state of Washington, has developed a beginner’s guide to the Recovery Act entitled: “A Basic Introduction to Energy-Related ARRA Funding Opportunities.” The goal of the guide is to help local (i.e. Washington state) entities identify and apply for ARRA funding opportunities, especially competitive grants or contracts. The focus of the guide is on energy-related funding opportunities, and contains useful information describing the process for submitting applications for federal and Washington state funds.
You can download the guide at http://prosperitypartnership.org/recovery/PP-ARRAGuide.ppt.
You can download the guide at http://prosperitypartnership.org/recovery/PP-ARRAGuide.ppt.
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
The U.S. Interior Department has instigated initiatives to accelerate the development of solar energy on Western lands. About 670,000 acres currently administered by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah will be evaluated for the development of large-scale solar energy production. These areas of land will be reserved for solar projects producing 10 megawatts or more of electricity and the goal is to fast-track the permit applications.
Each piece of land is at least 2,000 acres and has been selected for its solar resources, slope, proximity to roads and transmission lines or designated corridors. The evaluation will be funded with Stimulus monies under an ongoing federally-funded evaluation of solar energy development on public lands in six Western States. The evaluation should be completed in late 2010.
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:
- Simulation and Risk Assessment
- Monitoring, Verification, and Accounting
- Well Completion, stimulation, and Integrity
- Capture and Transport- including pipeline transport and pre-combustion capture
- 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: 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and reference solicitation # N6893609R0076
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.
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.
Washington Technology Center has been awarded $136,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Photovoltaic Supply Chain and Cross-Cutting Technologies program (the "EPSCCCT Program"), to develop nano-scale imprinting methods* for thin-film silicon solar cells. The funding comes out of the $22 million allocated by the DOE for the EPSCCCT Program, which funds unique PV products or processes through a competitive award process. Washington Tech partnered with Oregon State University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and this award is one of 24 projects receiving funding through the EPSCCCT Program. The total cost of the project is $184,000: $136,000 from the DOE and $48,000 in cost-matching and in-kind contributions from Washington Tech and OSU.
* Nano-scale imprinting methods entail “bending” the light hitting a silicon thin film solar cell, which increases the amount of light that can then be converted into electricity.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
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
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.
The key ingredient to any successful renewable energy project is financing. A central element related to finance is the maximum use of tax benefits. Please join me and my colleagues as we explore a range of issues that can impact the viability of a project's financing, including: alternative legal structures, general costs and economics, debt vs. equity financing, and efficient use and monetization of tax and other governmental incentives. We will address the impact of the current economy on these matters, including issues relating to availability, pricing, and structure. We will also address the impact on these matters arising from recent changes in tax incentives enacted by Congress in the stimulus legislation.
When: 4/27/2009, 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Where: EUCI Webinar
You can also follow #EUCI for a live Twitter feed of the webinar.
For more information and registration visit:
Upcoming Webinar: Four Primary Ways the Stimulus Bill will Impact the U.S. Wind & Biofuels Industries
Biofuels Journal and Wind Today Magazine are hosting this free webinar on April 14, 2009 at 2 p.m. Central Time.
Please join me and my colleague, Graham Noyes, as we discuss the Obama Administration’s economic stimulus package and how it will impact the wind and biofuels industries.
REGISTER HERE: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/244944960
There will also be a live Twitter feed available at #stimulusbill
Topics covered include:
• Stimulus Grants and the DOE Loan Guarantee Program - the Administration has provided $2.5 billion in grants for R&D and Demonstration projects; expanded the Loan Guarantee Program by $5 billion; as well as promised to streamline the application processes and speed the release of funds to biofuels plants and other projects under these programs.
• The Production Tax Credit vs. the Investment Tax Credit - review of the varying incentive programs available for wind energy projects.
• Grants In Lieu of Tax Credits - consideration of when grants will provide the highest value for projects.
• The Pending Smart Grid and how this is likely to impact the rapidly growing but transmission constrained wind industry in the U.S.
Stimulus Bill Funding for Data Center and Telecom Technology Energy Efficiency, Smart Grid, Enhanced Geothermal Systems, and More
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the “Stimulus Bill,” allocated billions of dollars in funding for renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, and other projects under the energy and climate change umbrella. Of the vast sums of money available for such projects, $16.8 billion goes to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (“DOE”) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (“EERE”). Another $4.5 billion in direct spending on smart grid demonstration projects will be overseen by DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
On March 5th, DOE’s EERE Industrial Technologies Program (“ITP”) released a Notice of Intent to issue funding for technologies that increase the energy efficiency of server-based information and communication technology (“ICT”) systems housed in data centers and telecommunications central offices. The solicitation seeks proposals for projects that would increase the efficiency of IT equipment, software, power systems, and cooling systems. The solicitation also extends to the demonstration and field-testing of pre-commercial technologies in these areas, as well as in distributed generation or alternative power technologies used to power ICT systems. ITP intends to release the solicitation sometime this month.
DOE also recently announced its intention to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (“FOA”) for smart grid demonstrations. In addition, DOE issued two FOAs for enhanced geothermal systems (“EGS”). The EGS FOAs offer up to $84 million over six years, including $20 million for the 2009 fiscal year. Check out our recent Energy Law Alert for more information on DOE funding for smart grid demonstrations and enhanced geothermal systems.
Because of the relatively short window for responding to FOAs, DOE recommends that prospective applicants complete several one-time pre-application steps. Information on submitting applications is available at www.grants.gov.