The recent passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), together with existing legislation such as the 2008 Farm Bill, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and the Energy Policy Act of 2005, has created unprecedented opportunities for renewable energy and clean technology companies to obtain funding from the federal government for a wide variety of energy and environmental projects. A summary of the major funding opportunities announced by the federal government during the last week can be viewed by clicking on the following links:
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'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 these federal funding opportunities, and to assist companies in both obtaining government funding and successfully developing their projects.
RENEWABLE AND CLEAN TECHNOLOGIES
Demonstration of Integrated Biorefinery Operations. DOE will award up to $50,000,000 per applicant for integrated biorefinery projects with economic and technical performance data supporting readiness for the next level of scale-up. Biorefineries funded under this program must produce a liquid transportation fuel as the primary product and fall within one of six topic areas. Eligible topic areas include operation of integrated pilot-scale biorefineries which produce eligible biofuels or bioproducts, and design, construction and operation of integrated demonstration-scale biorefineries which produce eligible biofuels or bioproducts. Applications involving novel technologies or that include collaboration among industry, academia, DOE National Laboratories, or other applicable government funded facilities are encouraged.
Current application deadline: June 30, 2009
For details, click here.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS RELATED TO FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
DOE FY 2010 Budget Request Includes Increased Funding and Investment for Renewable Energy. DOE released its FY 2010 Budget Request ("Budget") last week, which includes increased funding for many existing DOE programs. In addition, renewable technologies such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal energy are to receive significant additional funding over FY 2009 amounts, and substantial funds have been requested to support grid modernization and energy efficiency efforts.
To view a summary of Budget highlights, click here.
BLM to Invest ARRA Funds to Support Renewable Energy Development on Public Lands; Renewable Energy Permitting Offices/Teams Created. The Bureau of Land Management announced last week that it would invest $41 million in ARRA funds to support the deployment and transmission of renewable energy on public lands. Some of the funds are expected to be used to reduce the existing backlog of applications currently pending for wind and solar projects on BLM land. The funds will also be used to coordinate and accelerate the permit approval process for such projects. In conjunction with this announcement, the Secretary of Interior announced that four renewable energy coordination offices would be created to expedite the review, approval and permitting of renewable energy projects on public lands. The Department of Interior has over 1.7 billion acres of ocean and land within its jurisdiction.
DOE Announces Investment of ARRA Funds to Accelerate Biofuels Research and Commercialization; USDA, EPA and DOE Form Biofuels Interagency Working Group. DOE will provide nearly $800 million in ARRA funds to accelerate advanced biofuels research and development, and to provide additional funding for commercial-scale biorefinery demonstration projects. The funds will be allocated under both existing and new funding programs. Also last week, President Obama signed a Directive establishing a Biofuels Interagency Working Group to be co-chaired by the secretaries of Agriculture and Energy, and the Administrator of EPA. The group is charged with developing the nation's first biofuel market development program, coordinating and identifying biofuels related policy options and creating a comprehensive approach to accelerating the production of biofuels in the U.S.
EPA Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Renewable Fuel Standard. EPA has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("Notice"), proposing changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard Program, and outlining EPA's strategy for increasing the nation's supply of renewable fuels, as mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. In part, the Notice establishes four categories of renewable fuels, increases yearly volume requirements for these four categories and revises the definition of renewable fuel. In addition, the proposal is the first federal program to assess lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with each fuel, including indirect emissions, to determine which fuels qualify for the fuel standards. The 60-day public comment period on the Notice will begin upon its publication in the Federal Register.
DOE to Fund Advanced Combustion and Emissions Control R&D Projects. DOE announced the selection of six cost-shared research and development projects last week, which will be undertaken by universities and contribute to the development of high efficiency internal combustion engines. Subject to annual appropriations, funding for the projects will total up to $13 million, with the goal of increasing engine efficiency and improving fuel economies by 20-40%.
To view the full press release, including a list of selected projects, click here.
EPA Awards Stimulus Funds for Brownfields. EPA announced Friday (May 8) that it has awarded $111.9 million (including $37.3 million in ARRA funds) for the cleanup of Brownfields sites across the country. Most of the ARRA funding has been awarded to conduct site assessment and planning for eventual cleanup at Brownfields sites or as part of a community-wide effort.
For details on the Brownfields sites receiving ARRA funding, click here.