• DOE Announces Notice of Intent to Issue Funding Opportunities for Smart Grid Projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
  • May 4, 2009 | Authors: James Yancey Kerr; Michael J. Schewel; Bernard L. McNamee
  • Law Firms: McGuireWoods LLP - Raleigh Office ; McGuireWoods LLP - Richmond Office
  • On April 16, 2009, the Department of Energy (DOE) made two Notices of Intent to Issue funding opportunity announcements (FOA) for Smart Grid Projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA): the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program (DE-FOA-0000058A) and the Smart Grid Demonstration FOA (DE-FOA-0000036). Any party interested in submitting comments in order to input the final versions of these two draft FOA’s must do so by May 6, 2009. The DOE anticipates issuing final FOA’s and application dates by the middle of June.

    Smart Grid Investment Grant Program (DE-FOA-0000058A)

    Under this program, the DOE will provide $3.375 billion in funding for the deployment of smart grid technologies. The program will provide federal assistance to cover up to fifty percent of investments by electric utilities and other entities for projects that promote the goal of smart grid deployment, including development of component technologies. The DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability will implement this program.

    The program will apply a competitive, merit-based approach for providing funds to organizations for qualifying smart grid investments projects to advance smart grid functions. In addition to providing funds for smart grid projects, DOE will allocate a portion of the funds for projects that deploy Phase Measurement Unit (PMU) technology within the transmission system infrastructure. DOE anticipates providing funds in the range of $500,000 to $20,000,000 for smart grid technology deployment grants and $100,000 to $5,000,000 for PMU deployment grants.

    Parties in the following areas are eligible to compete for such funding under the draft eligibility requirements:

    • Electric utilities, such as investor-owned utilities, municipality-owned utilities, and rural electric cooperatives.
    • Load serving entities, or load distribution companies, which provide electricity distribution services.
    • Retail distributors or marketers of electricity which sell electricity to consumers.
    • System operators which coordinate, control, and monitor the operation of the electrical power transmission systems within a single state or region.
    • Manufacturers of appliances and equipment to enable smart grid functionalities.

    DOE is searching for projects that support or advance one or more smart grid functions. The application should include a project plan, a discussion on how and to what extent the project advances smart grid functions, an estimation of job creation, and a description of how results will be evaluated.

    DOE will evaluate the project based upon the following criteria:

    • Project Approach and Feasibility.
    • Project Impact
    • Job Creation and Retention
    • Extent of Cost-Sharing.

    Action Items and Due Dates:

    The comment period will end at 5:00 pm EST on May 6, 2009. After considering the comments, DOE will then issue a final FOA, currently targeted for June 17, 2009, and will seek applications on or before three anticipated due dates, July 29, 2009, December 2, 2009, and March 31, 2010, with the intent of awarding all funds by September 30, 2010. DOE will make all the funding available for the first due date and will not necessarily reserve portions of the $3.375 billion authorized for this FOA for the later due dates.

    Smart Grid Demonstrations (DE-FOA-0000036)

    The goal of this FOA is to provide $615 million in order to demonstrate technologies in regions across the United States that embody essential and salient characteristics of each region and present a suite of use cases for national implementation and replication.

    This FOA has three program areas of interest with the following number of awards:

    • Regional Demonstrations by utilities that demonstrate projects that quantify smart grid costs, benefits and cost-effectiveness, verify smart grid technology viability, and validate new smart grid business models, at a scale that can be readily adapted and replicated around the country by both investor- and publicly-owned utilities (8-12 projects of $5 million to $40 million each).
    • Synchrophasor Demonstrations of innovative, network-based applications of time-synchronized phasor measurement technologies, otherwise known as synchrophasors in ways that can be replicated around the country (4-5 projects of $15-$20 million each).
    • Utility-Scale Energy Storage Demonstrations (12-19 projects of $210 million total)

    The DOE anticipates awarding cooperative agreements under this FOA and has approximately $615,000,000 in Federal funds available. DOE expects to make awards with project periods of three to five years.

    Action Items and Due Dates:

    Comments are due by May 6, 2009. DOE will then issue a final version of this FOA with an application due date to be determined at a later time.