On June 3, 2011, the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) announced it is soliciting applications for approximately $12 million in funding for research and development (R&D) related to smart-charging of electric vehicles, with $3.4 million expected for new awards in FY 2011 and an additional $8.6 million expected in FY 2012 through FY 2013.

The goal of the OE Smart Grid R&D program is to develop and implement smart grid technologies to support transportation electrification. A near-term objective of the program is to reduce electric charging infrastructure costs in support of President Obama's initiative of putting 1 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2015. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is designed to help accomplish that objective by supporting the development of smart grid-capable electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) to reduce the current costs of commercially available EVSE, with comparable functionalities, by 50 percent in three years. The DOE anticipates the cost-reduction targets for EVSE, once met, will help accelerate the build-out of smart-charging infrastructure, leading to increased adoption of EVs.

Applications to receive funding under this FOA must be submitted to the DOE no later than July 18, 2011, at 3:00 p.m. EDT.

Summary of Investments

This FOA includes two Areas of Interest: (1) Residential Use and (2) Commercial Grade Non-Residential Use. "Non-residential use" includes EVSE installations at commercial and public locations for commercial charging, workplace charging, fleet charging and other similar uses. "Commercial grade EVSE" refers to the EVSE materials, construction, performance and enclosures, which must meet certain certifications and standards for outdoor use.

Residential Use. The DOE currently anticipates making three to four awards under this Area of Interest and expects awards will be in the range of $2 million each.

Commercial Grade Non-Residential Use. The DOE currently anticipates making one to two awards under this Area of Interest and expects awards will be in the range of $3 million each.

The goal under each Area of Interest is to reduce the current cost by a minimum of 50 percent per EVSE under the same manufactured volume without taking into account cost reductions through economies of scale. For each Area of Interest, the DOE anticipates the awards will have an estimated project period of two to three years.

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The EVSE funding opportunity can create significant opportunities for your company. It can enhance your operations, or provide your company with excellent joint venture opportunities with power providers, distributors, smart grid developers and load balancing and energy storage companies. In addition, it can provide you with opportunities for strategic partnerships with municipalities or other governmental entities. For further information on the program and for assistance in applying for these grants, please contact any of the attorneys listed in the sidebar.