- May 10 – Statement of Intent to participate in Western’s renewable energy certificate solicitation for 2013 - Deadline extended!
- May 26 – Early-bird registration deadline for ACEEE 2013 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry
- June 13 – EDA Economic Development Assistance Programs Federal Funding Opportunity (funding cycle 4)
- June 20 − Applications for Tribal Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Deployment Assistance
- June 27 − Applications for Community-Scale Clean Energy Projects in Indian Country
Archive for the ‘Federal agency news’ Category
Cybersecurity is an issue that is on everyone’s mind today, so utilities and grid operators may be interested in a new software program that enables them to assess their cybersecurity capabilities. The Electricity Subsector Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model (ES-C2M2) includes a cybersecurity self-evaluation survey tool, which looks at situational awareness, along with threat and vulnerability management, to allow a utility an internal option for the cybersecurity discussion. Utilities can also use ES-C2M2′s series of gradual assessments in platform areas to build a complete picture for prioritizing future cybersecurity actions and investments.
The Energy Department (DOE) developed the model in a public/private partnership formed in 2011, and launched the first version in May 2012. The White House approached DOE with a challenge to develop capabilities to manage dynamic threats and understand grid cybersecurity. The objectives for the model development included the desire to strengthen cybersecurity capabilities, along with the need to enable consistent evaluation and benchmarking, share knowledge and benefits and help prioritize actions and investments.
More than 77 utilities—cooperatives, international, investor-owned utilities, public power and regional transmission organizations—have downloaded ES-C2M2′s assessment tool. The DOE went on-site with 17 industry volunteers to walk through the model, using feedback from them to make changes in the next version. Comments have led to additional maturity indicator levels, performance metrics and measurement and informative materials.
DOE developed the model specifically for the electricity industry with Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Carnegie Mellon University and industry stakeholders. Utilities can download ES-C2M2 or contact DOE for more information. If you decide to explore this tool to improve your cybersecurity, don’t forget to share what you learn with Energy Services. Source: energybiz, 3/20/13
Working with the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) and other organizations, the Energy Department (DOE) this week released two Funding of Opportunity Announcements (FOA) related to utilities.
Solar Utility Networks: Replicable Innovations in Solar Energy (SUNRISE) is being issued by DOE to solicit applications for two topic areas. Topic A focuses on enabling utilities to develop long-term strategic plans for integrating high levels of renewable energy generation and ensuring that power systems operate reliably in real time under high renewable penetration. Topic B aims to provide technical assistance for building capacity through utility-scale photovoltaic planning and installation.
DOE’s express purpose in issuing this FOA is to demonstrate cost-effective and reliable solar integration in real time, at utility-scale, in successful utility business models. DOE anticipates providing up to $12 Million through this FOA, for projects two to four years long, depending on the topic area. Awardees must share project costs. This FOA is part of the DOE SunShot Initiative.
- Concept papers due: March 8, 2013
- Expected date for response to concept papers: March 20, 2013
- Deadline for questions: April 21, 2013
- Full applications due: April 24, 2013
The second FOA, Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment (GEARED) seeks applications to increase power system research, development and analytical capacity. Projects should also be designed to prepare electric utility professionals to manage high penetrations of solar and other distributed energy technologies. To achieve these dual goals, GEARED will support two activities:
- Training consortia focused on quickly bringing their findings into training and educational initiatives
- A national coordination network that will link these consortia to one another and other relevant power system research and development and training activities
Increasing the power systems capabilities and talent pool promotes electric grid security, as well as environmental and economic benefits for all consumers. The GEARED FOA provides funding to support creating three to five regional consortia that work with universities and utilities to incorporate power systems analysis, research and development into curricula and short courses, cooperative internships and continuing education. GEARED will also support the creation of a national training network for distributed power system professionals. The FOA does not apply to undergraduate or graduate fellowships.
- Concept papers due: April 12, 2013; 5 p.m. EST
- Deadline for questions: April 16, 2013; 5 p.m. EST
- Full applications due: April 19, 2013; 5 p.m. EST
Some of the topic areas are seeking utility applicants, while others are seeking utility groups or other types of entities. SEPA member utilities that wish to apply directly or would like to apply in partnership with SEPA should contact SEPA President Julia Hamm at 202-559-2025 as soon as possible.
To help cities, counties and states put more plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) on the road, the Energy Department’s Clean Cities initiative created an online, interactive Plug-in Electric Vehicle Readiness Scorecard.
The Scorecard allows community managers to measure their regions’ current ability to meet the needs of electric vehicle drivers—their “PEV-friendliness.” Users calculate their scores by answering a series of multiple-choice questions based on best practices. The questions range from the time required to issue a residential charger permit to incentives available to PEV drivers.
Because a number of city agencies, non-governmental organizations and even local businesses may be involved in the decisions that affect PEV readiness, every Scorecard account allows multiple users to enter information for the same region.
Read more about the PEV Readiness Scorecard, and start your account today. Then you can share your score with Energy Services, and let other Western customers know what you are doing to become a PEV-friendly community.
As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to help Tribal communities across the country enhance their energy security and build a sustainable energy future, the Energy Department has announced the second round of the Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Program. Federally recognized Tribal governments can receive technical assistance to accelerate clean energy project deployment from this program. The Energy Department also plans to seek information from tribes interested in launching or expanding utility services in their own communities, which will help establish a new START Utility Program (START-UP).
The new technical assistance opportunities will strengthen the nation’s partnership with tribal communities, create good jobs and protect the planet, stated Office of Indian Energy Director Tracey LeBeau. “Working side by side with tribal energy leaders across the country, we are making sure Native American and Alaska Native Tribes have the tools and resources they need to foster economic competitiveness and promote tribal self-sufficiency,” she said.
Over the past year, the START Program helped nine tribal communities advance their clean energy technology and infrastructure projects, from solar and wind to biofuels and energy efficiency. In the current round of START projects, energy experts from the Energy Department’s national laboratories and other Federal agencies worked with tribal leaders to develop strategic community energy plans, conduct market research and identify financing mechanisms to support cost-effective renewable energy project development.
The next round of technical assistance awards will build upon the program’s initial successes. Native communities will receive further help increasing local generation capacity, enhancing energy-efficiency measures and creating local entrepreneurial and job opportunities. In the contiguous United States, awards will support tribes developing community-scale clean energy projects across the country. Alaska’s Denali Commission and Energy Department experts will help rural Alaska Native communities conduct energy awareness and training programs, and pursue new renewable energy and energy-efficiency opportunities.
New program for tribal utility planning
To support affordable and reliable electrical service to Indian lands and tribal communities, the Energy Department is launching a new tribal START Utility Program (START-UP). Expanding on the current START Program, START-UP will help tribes across the country develop their own utility services and increase ownership of local energy assets.
In an effort to tailor the program to the needs of Indian Country, the Department plans to gather information and public comment from tribes interested in developing, acquiring or expanding utility services in their own communities. Check the Office of Indian Energy website in the coming weeks for more details on this outreach. Source: DOE Office of Indian Energy, 1/29/13
The U.S. Energy Department (DOE) announced $20 million in new funding for two to four projects that will help integrate concentrating solar power (CSP) systems with fossil fuel power plants. The DOE seeks applications from industry, universities, and national laboratories. Read the full story.
If interested, act quickly as a letter of intent is due by Jan 14, 2013 with the full application due in mid-March, 2013. See the RFI for more information on the funding. Source: Renewable Energy World, 12/31/12
As part of its efforts to help homeowners and businesses save money by saving energy, the Energy Department (DOE) is investing $9 million in leading-edge building envelope technologies, including high-efficiency, high-performance windows, roofs, and heating and cooling equipment.
In his announcement, Energy Secretary Steven Chu noted that a typical American family spends nearly $2,000 per year on their home energy bills, much of which is wasted on air leaks and drafts in houses’ roofs, attics and walls. “By bringing new, affordable energy-efficient products to the market, we can help families save money by saving energy, while strengthening U.S. manufacturing leadership in technologies that are increasingly in demand worldwide,” said Chu.
This new investment focuses on improving whole-home energy performance through six advanced manufacturing projects in California, Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri and Tennessee. Funding includes:
- About $6.5 million in four projects to develop highly efficient, cost-effective heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
- About $3 million to two projects targeting building envelope materials.
In Western’s territory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will develop and test highly insulated, easy-to-install windows that use automated shading that can capture or repel heat depending on the season. Projects elsewhere include the St. Louis, Missouri-based Unico developing a cold climate heat pump with a variable speed compressor that will maintain capacity and efficiency even at very low temperatures. The University of Idaho will design and demonstrate a roof sandwich panel that uses foam material to increase building thermal efficiency and helps reduce construction costs by 25 percent.
From 1990 to 2007, U.S. energy use per capita remained fairly consistent. In the last five years, however, improvements in building efficiency for space heating and air conditioning have helped to reduce consumption. Nearly 60 percent of homes now feature energy-efficient, multi-pane windows—up from 36 percent in 1993. About 40 million households have sealed air leaks with caulking or weather-stripping, and 26 million have added insulation. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects that energy use per capita will continue to fall by an additional 15 percent through 2040.
Greater savings can be achieved through more improvements. A typical residential or commercial building loses about 42 percent of energy through doors, roofs, attics, walls, floors and foundations—the building envelope. In the winter months, windows alone can account for 10 to 25 percent of a home’s utility bill through heat loss. The projects receiving funding will help bring new, affordable technologies to market and create opportunities for improved building performance and cost savings.
Learn more about these projects and find additional information on how the Energy Department is helping American homes and businesses save money by saving energy at EnergySaver.gov and through the Buildings Technologies Program. Source: DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 12/21/12
The Cooperative Research Network (CRN), the research arm of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), is receiving $2.1 million of a $9 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to the North Carolina State University FREEDM Systems Center to develop a “plug and play” photovoltaic (PV) system.
CRN’s role in the project will be to coordinate demonstrations with at least two cooperatives to evaluate the PV systems and test the utility interconnection. In addition to assisting in the design of the project, CRN will also ensure the standards comply with the MultiSpeak specification, the de facto common interface model electric utilities use worldwide.
NRECA Research, Engineering & Technical Services Vice President John Hewa said, “CRN will be focusing on the integration of residential level solar resources on reliability and developing a system that works for both the consumer and the utility, simplifying the installation process without compromising safety or electric reliability.”
More than a dozen cooperatives across the country are developing community solar farms to meet the growing demand from consumer members for solar energy systems. This project will enable cooperatives to offer members more simple, safe and reliable options to add their own renewable energy generators.
The grant is part of DOE’s SunShot Initiative, which seeks to make solar energy cost-competitive with other sources of energy by 2020.
The Cooperative Research Network conducts original, collaborative research for the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives.
The Affordable Green Initiative, a pilot program from the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD), provides sustainability and green building tools to HUD grantees and affordable housing organizations. The initiative aims to help organizations institutionalize sustainability and achieve performance improvements across their housing portfolios. HUD subsidizes free training, technical assistance and accreditation for all participants.
The first component of the initiative – training, through HUD’s Green Academy – is now available. The comprehensive Green Academy Training Program rolled out in October and is being presented in cities across the country through February 2013.
Courses include Introduction to Green Building for Affordable Housing; Executive Decision Making; Best Practices for Green Building Operations; Financing Green Building; and Energy Performance Contracting for Small Public Housing Authorities. Registration is open for various locations:
- January 14-18 – Hartford, Conn., Columbus, Ohio, and Houston, Texas
- January 28-February 1 – Los Angeles, Calif., and Albuquerque, N.M.
- February 4-8 – Boise, Idaho, and New York, N.Y.
- February 11-15 – Bozeman, Mont.
For more information, contact HUD.
USDA’s Energy Web site, launched in January 2012, contains agricultural, economic and social data on renewable energy to assist stakeholders, public users and state and local governments in identifying opportunities, activities and USDA projects in renewable energy.
The Energy Web offers several associated online tools, such as USDA Energy Investment Maps, the Renewable Energy Tool and Investment Projects Reports, along with helpful state links to energy resources within individual states. These features allow users to see where investments have been made, follow projects, evaluate upcoming opportunities and contact regional USDA offices for technical assistance.
Responding to suggestions from users, USDA recently updated the online tools to provide new resources; new reporting features and the investment data, current thru August 2012. Ongoing comments and suggestions are welcomed to help USDA make Energy Web the go-to site for renewable energy.