A new Federal Department of Energy Program, DE-FOA-0000044 (“the Program”) has earmarked $156 million in grant money for entities that are interested in developing energy efficient power facilities. The Program, which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, provides qualified applicants an opportunity to receive significant amounts of money to develop any one of four power technologies: Combined Heat and Power (CHP), District Energy Systems (DES), Industrial Waste Energy Recovery (IWEC), or Efficient Industrial Equipment (EIC).  

Monetary Awards and Requirements

The minimum individual award for a project using the CHP technology is $1 million, and the Department of Energy (DOE) intends to grant awards to between five and 10 CHP projects. The minimum individual award for a project using the DES technology is $10 million, and the DOE intends to make awards to between one and four DES projects. Between five and 30 projects using IWEC technology will receive a minimum individual grant of $500,000, and up to eight EIE projects will receive a minimum individual award of $10 million. There is no maximum award for any of the technologies.  

The Program requires that the applicant fund a minimum of 50% of the Project’s total cost. However, there is an exception for projects using CHP, DES and IWEC technologies. These types of projects may be approved with as little as a 25% contribution from the applicant, but requires special permission. Applicants desiring to apply for EIE grant money must contribute 50% of the total project costs as there are no exceptions for applicants proposing this technology.  

Criteria  

The Program’s description emphasizes several requirements that the DOE considers essential. Among these essential criteria is the requirement that the applicant identify the site(s) upon which the project will be located. The Program likewise places significant emphasis on the applicant’s having identified the key equipment components that will be used and a technical validation that the proposed system will meet the stated energy goals.  

Other important criteria for consideration include: whether the applicant has conducted a preliminary evaluation of the Project’s environmental impacts, evidence of the Project’s economic viability, and schedules for implementation.  

The Program also makes clear that awards will be given for technical merit, but the real driver is the creation of jobs. The Program’s announcement states that consideration and priority will be given to projects that directly and indirectly create new jobs for both the short and long terms. The Program also awards expediency. To this end, priority will be given to projects that can begin construction within 120 days of award.

Application Process

Perhaps the most urgent aspect of the Program is the application process. Due on July 14, the application comprises numerous components including:

  • A description of the Project’s objectives;
  • A summary of how the Project will meet over 20 specifically defined criteria;
  • A description of how the Project’s expected outcomes will meet the Project’s objectives;
  • A description of the role of the Project’s participants;
  • A Coordination and Management Plan (if applying as a consortium, team or partnership);
  • A Project Management Plan that describes how the work will be performed;
  • A Risk Management Plan that describes how the applicant will address uncertain future events that, if realized, will impact
  • the Project’s success;
  • A Milestone Log listing anticipated key milestone dates for procurement and delivery of equipment, system installation
  • and verification, etc.;
  • A Project Funding and Cost Profile that models cash flow;
  • A Project Timetable; and
  • A List of Go/No-Go decision points that are to be considered for disbursements

There are additional components to the application, including standard computer generated government forms.