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Top 5 U.S. DOE Grant Opportunities Today

By Aiden Smith // June 21, 2023


The U.S. Department of Energy currently offers 34 grant opportunities worth a combined $8.7 billion in available funding. Here are the top five:


1. Industrial Decarbonization and Emissions Reduction Demonstration-to-Deployment: $6 Billion


The DOE is committing $6 billion in federal funds to catalyze large-scale, high-impact advanced industrial facilities to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in energy-intensive industries. See full opportunity here.


Who Should Apply?


This initiative offers grant funding for for-profit organizations broadly as well as owners or operators of a domestic, non-federal nonpower industrial or manufacturing facility engaged in energy intensive industrial processes as stated in the areas of interest.


What is the Aim of the Funding?


The funding is designed to foster the transition of the U.S. economy towards net-zero emissions, with a particular focus on industrial sectors that contribute significantly to the country's carbon footprint. These sectors, which form the backbone of the nation's economy, are also areas of intense energy usage, making them prime candidates for decarbonization.


The DOE's funding program places special emphasis on transformative potential, aiming to catalyze technologies that promise deep decarbonization, rapid emission reductions, market viability, and community benefits. By doing so, the DOE is signaling intent to solidify a first-mover advantage for the U.S. industry, enhancing competitiveness globally, creating quality jobs domestically, and supporting equitable and sustainable development.


What Types of Projects are Eligible?


The DOE is focusing on first- or early-of-a-kind commercial-scale projects with potential for high impact. These could include new technologies that have been proven at a pilot scale but have yet to be commercially deployed, technologies pursued internationally but are nascent in the U.S., or other early-stage projects that face market or adoption risks.


The DOE's funding opportunity announcement details a four-phase structure for projects: initial planning and analysis, finalizing designs and business development, installation, integration, and construction, and finally ramping up to full operations.


What's the Catch?


This funding opportunity does come with a 50% cost-sharing requirement, underlining the DOE's emphasis on partnership and private sector collaboration. Applicants must also have submitted an eligible concept paper to be considered.


How Can Interested Parties Apply?


Applications must be submitted via the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, with the process closing on August 11, 2023. This is a prime opportunity for a broad swath of organizations, both public and private, to contribute meaningfully to the crucial goal of industrial decarbonization. There are up to 65 awards expected.


2. Bipartisan Infrastructure Law - Clean Energy Demonstration Program on Current and Former Mine Land: $450 Million


Posted on April 4, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has unveiled a grant initiative aimed at fostering clean energy projects on current and former mine lands. This federal funding opportunity titled "Bipartisan Infrastructure Law - Clean Energy Demonstration Program on Current and Former Mine Land" is part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). See full opportunity here.


Harnessing Energy Potential of Mine Lands


Underscoring the country's commitment to achieving a zero-carbon electricity system by 2035, and net-zero emissions by 2050, this program seeks to capitalize on the unique conditions of mining lands. These locations often house critical infrastructure like electric substations, transmission lines, and access roads, making them prime candidates for clean energy projects.


Furthermore, these former industrial sites also have a wealth of untapped potential. For example, expansive flat lands can be repurposed for photovoltaic solar electricity generation, geothermal resources could be harvested for clean heat or electricity, and existing reservoirs may facilitate the storage of clean energy.


Who Should Apply?


From the FOA: "Eligible projects will demonstrate a clean energy project on a current or former mine land site with a reasonable expectation of commercial viability."


The Financials


The DOE has dedicated a total program funding of $450 million to this grant. Each award size will be at least $10 million and no more than $150 million in federal funds, and the DOE intends to fund up to five projects in this area. Applicants should be aware that each award is required to include a minimum of 50% non-federal cost share. The projects are anticipated to have a period of performance of 4-7 years.


How to Apply


Concept papers were due on May 11, 2023 and full applications must be submitted through the OCED Exchange portal. The deadline for submissions is August 31, 2023.


3. Continuation of Solicitation for the Office of Science Financial Assistance Program Department of Energy - Office of Science: $400 Million


The Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science (SC) has announced its continuing support for a broad array of scientific and technological pursuits with the 'FY2023 Continuation of Solicitation for the Office of Science Financial Assistance Program.' See full opportunity here.


Diving into the Details


This funding opportunity is intended for those involved in advanced scientific computing research, basic energy sciences, biological and environmental research, fusion energy sciences, high energy physics, nuclear physics, isotope R&D and production, and accelerator R&D and production. The broad, solicitation encompasses all research areas of the SC, making it an attractive prospect for a myriad of research endeavors.


Who Should Apply?


All entities are eligible to apply, except for 501(c)(4) organizations.


Follow the Money


The total program funding for this opportunity amounts to $400 million. There is no requirement for cost sharing or matching, making it a particularly accessible opportunity for many organizations.


How to Apply


You can find additional information regarding the application submission, eligibility criteria, evaluation process, and other related policies and procedures at the official Office of Science link.


The funding opportunity will remain open for applications until 11:59 PM Eastern Time on September 30, 2023, or until it is succeeded by another issuance. Organizations interested in accelerating their scientific research and technological development endeavors with this grant should act fast and start their application process soon.



4. Lighting up Rural America: Energy Transformation with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: $300 Million


Posted on March 1, 2023, this $300 million funding opportunity seeks to support rural and remote communities across America. This transformative opportunity lies within the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law's Energy Improvement initiative for Rural or Remote Areas. The mission is to uplift America's lesser populated areas with the power of clean energy, unlocking possibilities for improved cost efficiency, resilience, and accessibility to energy, all while reducing the environmental impact. See full opportunity here.


Who Should Apply?


State and local government entities, institutions of higher education, federally recognized Native American tribal governments or tribal organizations, nonprofit organizations (with or without 501(c)(3) status), or for-profit organizations other than a small businesses, are all eligible to apply. Applicants must come from areas housing fewer than 10,000 people, providing innovative energy solutions that are replicable and scalable for their communities.


Purpose and Potential Impact


The initiative aims to trigger clean energy revolution with three specific goals. Firstly, it seeks to enhance energy access and resilience while lowering costs and reducing environmental harm for customers in rural or remote regions. Secondly, the program intends to introduce new energy system models using climate-resilient technologies and business structures that enhance economic resilience. Finally, the initiative aspires to build clean energy knowledge, capacity, and self-reliance across rural America.


The ERA program seeks projects that will "de-risk" the investment in energy infrastructure of rural or remote communities. It encourages innovation in the form of business models, community engagement best practices, and technological applications that can usher in an era of economic development and local job creation in these regions.


Ensuring Direct Benefit to Rural or Remote Areas


A cornerstone of the initiative is that it mandates the submission of a Community Benefits Plan (CBP) by all applicants. This plan is expected to outline how the project will support community and labor engagement, invest in the American workforce, contribute to achieving the President's Justice40 Initiative goals, and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.


Promoting Community Energy Solutions for Regional Climate Challenges


The ERA Program hopes to bring about community-focused energy solutions to tackle regional climate challenges. Applicants are asked to identify the region their project pertains to and explain the climate risks it seeks to mitigate. The program seeks applications that take full advantage of a region's natural resources, local industry, stakeholders, and climate or economic risks to achieve replicable energy solutions.


Pathways to Future Prosperity


Those interested in sparking this positive change in their communities can submit their concept papers and full applications through the OCED Exchange portal. With an award ceiling of $100 million and no requirement for cost-sharing or matching, the initiative is a unique opportunity for eligible organizations to light up rural America's energy future. Applications close on June 28, 2023.


5. Unlocking Federal Funding: A New Opportunity for Energy Conservation in Federal Facilities: $250 Million


Posted on April 20, 2023, this grant is designed to aid federal agencies in developing and deploying energy and water-saving technologies and meeting federal mandates for conservation. The total program funding stands at a substantial $250 million, and applications are open until November 27, 2024. See full opportunity here.


Who Should Apply?


Notably, the funding opportunity is exclusively available to U.S. federal agencies, including sub-agencies. Only facilities that are owned by the U.S. federal government are eligible for this grant. It offers a broad spectrum of entities the chance to develop cutting-edge solutions, with the scope extending from net-zero buildings opportunity development to modifying existing projects for net-zero results.


Funding Breakdown


The total program funding is a remarkable $250 million. With the program planning to make approximately 100 awards, each award could potentially range from a minimum of $100,000 to a maximum of $10,000,000. There is no cost-sharing or matching requirement.


Goals and Objectives


The primary objective of the program is to support the development of showcase facilities and multi-site deployment projects contributing to a net-zero building portfolio. These exemplar facilities will serve as models for future replicability and scalability, aiding the development of a long-term net-zero building strategy.


Three distinct topic areas fall within the purview of this funding:

  1. Assistance with Net-Zero Buildings Opportunity Development

  2. Modifying Existing Projects for Net-Zero Buildings

  3. New/In Development Net-Zero Buildings Projects

The Bigger Picture


This funding opportunity forms a crucial part of the administration's broader goals for federal leadership in energy conservation, as described in Section 543 of the National Energy Conservation Policy Act (NECPA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. It's a step toward realizing the objectives set out in the executive orders on federal sustainability and tackling the climate crisis.

 

In the last 24 hours, the federal government has posted 14 new competitive grant opportunities totaling $62.4 million. GrantExec tracks each grant and provides expert grant-writing services to help clients secure them. Explore the federal grants landscape at https://www.grantexec.com/federal-grants-dashboard.

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