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Smart Grid Stimulus Funding: Dollars May Start Flowing Soon

July 27, 2009

Smart Grid

By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact

If you are anything like me, you might be wondering, where is all the stimulus money we keep hearing about?
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced June 25th that approximately $3.4 billion is expected to be available for Smart Grid Investment Grants (SMIG).

The purpose of the SGIG is to promote the modernization of the nation’s electric transmission and distribution systems and to promote investments in smart grid technologies.
Deadline for first round August 6th!
The first round of applications is due on August 6, 2009, with awards expected to be granted in October 2009.
DOE has divided the funds into two categories. Smaller projects will be eligible for between $300,000 and $20 million while larger projects will be awarded between $20 million and $200 million. Applicants will be required to provide 50% matching funds.
Who May Apply?
The solicitation for the SGIG lists numerous eligible applicants, including:
* Electric power companies, including investor-owned utilities, electric cooperatives, regional transmission organizations, and municipal and public utility districts;
* State, county, local and municipal government agencies;
* Residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural consumers;
* Appliance and electric equipment manufacturers;
* Software and communications and information service providers; and
* Other private entities, including retail electricity suppliers, independent power producers and demand response service providers.
What Are The Steps For Applying?
Perkins Coie has done a great job of outlining the steps for applying.
First Step
All applicants must have a DUNS number and must be registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database to be eligible for an award under the SGIG. A DUNS number is a unique nine-digit identification number issued by Dunn and Bradstreet. Next one must register in the CCR database; I tried this process to see what it entailed and a serious dose of patience and time is required to make it through all the steps.
Second Step
All registered applicants intending to apply are highly encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent to DOE by July 16, 2009 for the first round of funding. Although a Letter of Intent is not required, DOE strongly recommends submitting a Letter of Intent to expedite an application’s review process. Letters of Intent should include: the name of the lead and supporting organizations, whether an application is for a small or large project, the total project cost, and the applicable topic area.
Third Step
Applicants must designate their proposed project within one of the six SGIG topic areas based on the primary objectives of their project or the largest portion of the project that will receive funding. The SGIG topic areas include:
* Equipment manufacturing
* Customer systems
* Advanced metering infrastructure
* Electric distribution systems
* Electric transmission systems
* Integrated and/or crosscutting systems
Fourth Step
Applicants are required to submit a project plan with the following components:
1) A project abstract;
2) A description of the proposed project with relevant tasks and schedules;
3) A management plan for the project;
4) A description of how the project will advance the adoption and integration of smart grid functions;
5) A technical approach to ensuring cyber security and the project’s interoperability with the smart grid system; and
6) A detailed project cost- and-benefit analysis.
So, if you are interested in accessing some of this funding to support a smart grid project, get busy! The application can be downloaded here.
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Deborah Fleischer is the founder and president of Green Impact, providing strategic environmental consulting services to mid-sized companies and NGOs who want to launch a new green initiative or cross-sector collaboration, but lack the in-house capacity to get it up and running. She brings expertise in sustainability strategy, program development, stakeholder partnerships and written communications. And you can follow her occasional tweet at GreenImpact.
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