Cleantech Federal Funding Opportunities

Cleantech Federal Funding Opportunities
March 2009
Below is a brief summary of federal funding opportunities at the Department of Energy’s (“DOE”)
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (“EERE”) to support cleantech companies and
ventures. This was prepared by the Washington, DC office of K&L Gates, which has a leading
cleantech public policy practice.
Economic Stimulus Funding:
On February 13, both the House and Senate passed the economic stimulus bill for $787 billion,
including $16.8 billion allocated for EERE programs. President Obama signed the stimulus legislation
into public law on February 17. This funding, along with additional loan guarantee authority, will be a
big stimulus for creating “green” jobs. The stimulus legislation offers probably the best opportunity we
will ever see to seek significant sums of direct federal funding for cleantech. The new EERE
appropriations, which are many fold greater than the funds provided annually for renewable energy and
efficiency programs, will support the following programs:
$5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program
$3.2 billion for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants
$3.1 billion for the State Energy Program
$2.5 billion for Applied Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment including:
o $800 million for Biomass
o $400 million for Geothermal
o $50 million for Information and Communications technology
$2 billion for Advanced Battery Manufacturing Grants
$400 million for Transportation Electrification
$300 million for an Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program and ENERGY STAR®
$300 million for an Alternative Fueled-Vehicles Pilot Grant Program
The stimulus legislation also includes $4.5 billion for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy
Reliability to modernize the electric grid, add demand responsive equipment, enhance security and
reliability of the energy infrastructure, and facilitate recovery from disruptions to the energy supply.
In addition, the Office of Fossil Energy Research and Development received $3.4 billion which will
be mostly focused on clean coal technology and carbon capture and sequestration.
DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy:
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is organized around ten energy programs:
Biomass; Buildings; Federal Energy Management Program; Geothermal; Hydrogen & Fuel Cells;
Industrial Technologies; Solar; Vehicle Technologies; Wind & Hydropower; and, Weatherization
& Intergovernmental Affairs. EERE's programs conduct activities in partnership with the private
sector, state and local governments, DOE national laboratories, and universities.
Each program has its own program manager and budget and typically administers cost-shared
grants through competitive bids. Based on conversations K&L Gates has had with EERE Program
Managers and staff, stimulus funding to be awarded by DOE will most likely be issued on a
competitive basis with many grant awards totaling $10 million or less.
K&L Gates can assist in setting up meetings with EERE career technical staff and program
managers. EERE career staffers are permanent and do not change with the shift to a new
Administration. Developing good relationships with the staff who write DOE solicitations will help
with long-term funding opportunities, and meetings with EERE staff are important for weighing in
on solicitation topics and criteria. Clients should plan visits to Washington as soon as possible –
keeping in mind that once grant solicitations are officially published, EERE staff are usually
prohibited from meeting with potential applicants.
DOE Grants:
DOE will distribute billions of dollars in grants to support cleantech. Much of this money will flow
from the stimulus, but there is also a regular stream of money from the annual appropriations
process. The monies will be made available via direct grants to eligible recipients and through
competitive bids.
DOE's e-center ( ) contains information on doing business with the agency.
The e-center allows you to search by keyword and view renewable energy funding opportunities,
register to submit proposals, and obtain information and guidance on the acquisition and financial
assistance award process. This database provides accurate, up-to-date information on all
solicitations offered by the Department of Energy. DOE also provides this information to the
central database for all Federal government grants ( Grants open as of this
writing refer to Geothermal, Clean Cities, Wind, Solar, Biorefinery Operations, Biomass R&D, and
K&L Gates has reached out to all EERE offices to inquire if any plans have been set to outline and guide
how stimulus funds will be distributed. At this point, there is no uniform system, and each program is
scrambling to set quickly their priorities and internal allocations. Once plans have been finalized by
EERE/DOE, the Office of Management and Budget may need to approve these procedures before
solicitations can be opened to applications. It is expected that within the next couple of weeks, program
information will be made public. K&L Gates will continue to check and monitor the status of program
funds and will keep clients up to date on all EERE decisions regarding stimulus monies.
DOE Loan Guarantee Program:
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program, authorized by Title VXII of the Energy
Policy Act of 2005, aims to facilitate early commercial use of new or significantly improved
technologies in energy related projects. Selection criteria for clean energy projects under the loan
guarantee solicitations will focus on a project’s ability to avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants
or green house gas emissions, the speed with which the technologies can be commercialized, the
prospect of repayment of the guaranteed debt, and the potential for long lasting success of these
technologies in the marketplace. There are currently $10 billion in appropriated funds available in
loan guarantees for renewable energy technologies, including alternative fuel vehicles. The
stimulus package will grow the size of the program substantially, as the legislation added an
additional $6 billion to support up to $60 billion in new loan guarantee authority.
The loan guarantee program has come under significant criticism for not getting the money to recipients
in a timely fashion. In addition, there are a number of fees associated with an application which make it
difficult for smaller companies who are most in need of the loan guarantee to actually participate in the
These criticisms are being addressed at the highest levels in the Department of Energy. On February 19,
Secretary Steven Chu announced a sweeping reorganization of DOE’s dispersal of direct loans, loan
guarantees and funding contained in the new recovery legislation. The goal of the restructuring is to
expedite disbursement of money to begin investments in a new energy economy that will put Americans
back to work and create millions of new jobs. Secretary Chu’s reforms include awarding the first
tranche of funding by late April or early May, processing applications on a “rolling” basis to reduce
work burdens on DOE staff, reducing the length of future applications from 1000 pages to 50 pages,
decreasing the application fees, accelerating loan underwriting requirements, working with the industry
to attract good projects into the loan guarantee program and helping them navigate the process, and
creating a website that will provide increased transparency in both process and results, as well as
information to help applicants through the process.
K&L Gates will continue to monitor the Loan Guarantee Office as it reworks the program and
determines future solicitation deadlines and specific changes to how loan guarantees will be
awarded and administered.
Tim L. Peckinpaugh
Washington, DC
K&L Gates
Laurie B. Purpuro
Washington, DC
K&L Gates
Leslie J. Drogin
Washington, DC
K&L Gates