On February 17, in an effort to stimulate the United States economy, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). While the ARRA affects numerous sectors, it has created unprecedented opportunities for renewable energy and clean technology companies to obtain federal funding for a wide variety of projects.
WilmerHale's Energy and Clean Technology Practice Group has extensive experience in the areas of public policy, government contracting, project finance and development, and energy regulation. “We are uniquely positioned to expertly advise renewable energy and clean technology companies on the complex issues and opportunities that arise in connection with this federal funding, and to assist companies in both obtaining government funding and successfully developing their projects,” says WilmerHale partner Mark Kalpin, co-chair of the Energy and Clean Technology Practice Group.
The following are some recent energy funding announcements under the ARRA:
• Smart Grid Investment Grant Program: The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a notice of intent for a funding program that will award between $500,000 and $20 million per grantee for smart grid technology deployments. Grants will also be offered for the deployment of grid monitoring devices under the program. The deadline for submission of comments on the NOI closed on May 6, 2009, and the anticipated release date for DOE’s formal solicitation is June 17, 2009.
• Smart Advanced Water Power: The DOE is offering discretionary grants of up to $1.5 million per applicant for projects involving one of three areas: marine and hydrokinetic energy conversion devices, or component design and development; marine and hydrokinetic site-specific environmental studies/information gathering; and advanced water power market acceleration projects/analysis and assessments. The program seeks to enhance the viability and cost-competitiveness of advanced water power systems, while promoting clean energy, supporting economic growth and scientific discovery, and demonstrating US leadership in addressing climate change. The mandatory letter of intent deadline was May 6, 2009, and the complete application deadline is June 4, 2009.
• Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative: DOE will award grants for projects supporting the construction (including production capacity increases of current plants), of US-based manufacturing plants to produce batteries and electric drive components. The application deadline was May 19, 2009.
• Technology Innovation Program: The Department of Commerce will award grants of up to $9 million per applicant to companies and joint ventures for high-risk, high-reward research and development projects related to civil infrastructure or manufacturing. In the manufacturing area, projects related to process scale-up, integration and design of advanced materials, or predictive modeling for advanced materials processing, are encouraged. The goal of the program is to make strides in materials performance, with practical applications ranging from producing high-strength alloys for lighter vehicles, to development of composites for use in large, high-efficiency turbines. The current application deadline is June 23, 2009.
• Demonstration of Integrated Biorefinery Operations: The DOE will award up to $50 million per applicant for integrated biorefinery projects that have sufficient technical and economic performance data to validate readiness for the next level of implementation. Under this program, integrated biorefineries must use specified feedstocks to produce a biofuel or bioproduct as the primary product, and may produce other products, including additional fuels, chemicals (or other materials), and heat and power, as co-products. These integrated biorefineries must produce, as their primary product, a liquid transportation fuel that meets Renewable Fuel Standards, or a bioproduct that substitutes for petroleum-based feedstocks and products. Novel or breakthrough technologies are encouraged. The current application deadline is June 30, 2009.
Funding under these programs will be awarded on a competitive basis and under tight application deadlines. Applications must contain detailed information regarding an applicant's proposal, and actual funding awards require the negotiation of detailed documentation similar to that used in complex project financings.
WilmerHale closely monitors funding opportunities and counsels clients on the applicable requirements for obtaining funding from the DOE and other agencies under the ARRA. To view our complete Energy, Clean Technology and Environmental Email Alert series and learn about additional funding opportunities, click on the following links: March 24, 2009, March 30, 2009, April 6, 2009, April 13, 2009, April 20, 2009, April 27, 2009, May 4, 2009, May 11, 2009, May 18, 2009 and May 26, 2009.