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Stimulus Bill Funding Opportunities for Smart Grid, Energy Storage and Other Energy Technologies

Mar 6, 2009 - Stoel Rives, LLP

In an effort to cultivate a robust green economy, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the "Stimulus Bill") provides significant funding opportunities for renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage and other projects in the energy and climate change realm. The bill authorizes $16.8 billion in direct spending by the U.S. Department of Energy's ("DOE") Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy ("EERE") on renewable energy and energy efficiency programs over the next ten years. Of this $16.8 billion, the Stimulus Bill allocates considerable funds for R&D demonstration projects and advanced battery grants. In addition to this allotment, significant funding is also directed toward improving the electricity grid.

Smart Grid Demonstrations

The Stimulus Bill provides $4.5 billion to DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability to upgrade the nation's electricity grid with smart grid technology and facilitate the development of related technologies, such as energy storage. The DOE recently announced its intention to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement ("FOA") under the heading, "Smart Grid Demonstrations." The program would provide funding under cooperative agreement arrangements for "regionally unique" projects in three general categories: Regional Smart Grid Demonstrations, Utility-Scale Energy Storage Demonstrations, and Regional Synchrophasor Demonstrations. DOE hopes to fund projects that quantify the costs and benefits of the various technologies, verify their viability, and validate their business models for deployment around the country.

DOE intends to make the FOA available sometime this month. Because DOE anticipates a short response period, prospective applicants are encouraged to take several steps in advance of the forthcoming FOA, such as obtaining a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System number, registering with the Central Contract Registry, and registering with the credential provider. The US DOE website is an excellent place to track developments on this program.

R&D Demonstration Projects

The Stimulus Bill provides EERE with $2.5 billion for research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities. $800 million of this total is to be spent on biomass energy projects, and $400 million is to be directed toward geothermal energy projects.

On March 4, 2009, DOE issued two FOAs for enhanced geothermal systems. The combined FOAs offer up to $84 million over six years, with $20 million allocated for the 2009 fiscal year. Future funding is subject to congressional appropriations. The first FOA would provide up to $35 million for component research, development, and analysis to investigate the use of engineered geothermal reservoirs. The second FOA apportions $49 million for 5-10 domestic enhanced geothermal system demonstration projects. The DOE EERE website is an excellent place to track developments on this program.

Advanced Battery Grants

As part of a new program created by the Stimulus Bill, the EERE is also responsible for $2 billion in facility funding grants to manufacturers of advanced battery and battery system components. Grant-eligible activities include the production of lithium ion batteries, hybrid electrical systems, system components, and software. EERE has not yet issued an FOA for this program.

Details on submitting applications for federal funds are available at www.grants.gov. If you have questions on any of these programs, other Stimulus Bill issues or would like to discuss the possibility of your project applying for DOE funds, please contact:

Graham Noyes at (206) 386-7615 or jgnoyes@stoel.com
David Benson at (206) 386-7584 or dlbenson@stoel.com
Marcus Wood at (503) 294-9434 or mwood@stoel.com
Ed Einowski at (503) 294-9235 or eeinowski@stoel.com
Bill Holmes at (503) 294-9207 or whholmes@stoel.com
Greg Jenner at (612) 373-8857 or gfjenner@stoel.com
Dina Dubson at (503) 294-9675 or dmdubson@stoel.com
Chris Heaps at (503) 294-9864 or cmheaps@stoel.com
John McKinsey at (916) 319-4746 or jamckinsey@stoel.com
Debra Frimerman at (612) 373-8819 or dhfrimerman@stoel.com
John Eustermann at (208) 387-4218 or jmeustermann@stoel.com