Frequently Asked Questions

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Question 1: We currently have two projects in mind and have a question concerning allowability. The first project is an Energy Efficiency project for our Community Center and the second is a community scale solar project. If, as part of the community scale solar project, we wished to include placing solar panels on the Community Center we wanted to do the Energy Efficiency project, would this still be considered two distinctly different projects and allowable?
Answer 1:  

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

Based on the limited information provided, it appears a community-scale solar project that includes a building where a second project for solely energy efficiency measures are proposed would not be distinctively different. However, the proposed energy efficiency measures and solar panels on the community center could be considered a single facility-scale project under Topic Area 1.c. and distinctly different if the remaining solar installations are proposed as a separate community-scale project under Topic area 2.

 

Additionally, please be sure to carefully read the criteria for each Topic Area and ensure each application has ”a distinct title, unique Control Number as assigned by EERE Exchange during the registration process, and be readily distinguishable.”

 

Question 2: How are “tribal communities with high energy costs” defined for this FOA?
Answer 2:

Energy costs for each Applicant in the contiguous United States will be based on published utility rates for that particular tribal community and on the Alaska Energy Data Gateway for Alaska communities to be affected by a specific application. As such, energy costs (if considered) can then be established with respect to the applications received for those tribal entities who apply, rather than using a National average.

 

Per Section V.C. “the Selection Official may consider the following program policy factors (in no particular order) in determining which applications to select for award negotiations” [Emphasis added]; however, the Selection Official could decide not to consider high energy costs in making his/her decision. Also, be aware that high energy costs are only one of many factors that will be considered, including the technical review criteria published in Section V.A. of the FOA document.

Question 3: Our Tribe will be applying for a Topic Area 1.c. grant for a new building. As part of this application, we are considering building commissioning as an Energy Efficiency Measure (EEM). I believe this would be eligible as an industrial process efficiency measure, but I want to be sure that we can include it in our options analysis. Commissioning is only mentioned in the sample Milestone Summary Table in the FOA, but I just want to double check if it’s eligible.
Answer 3:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

Based on the limited information provided and our understanding of what is meant by commissioning, as in the commissioning of a new building, the commissioning of a new building in and of itself, would not constitute an energy efficiency measure. As stated on page 15 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “Industrial process efficiency measure(s) may include, but are not limited to, insulating piping, tank walls and roofs, the installation of higher efficiency equipment (e.g., heat exchangers, compressors, blowers, pumps, and fans), minimizing air leaks, optimizing air systems through the use of variable speed drives, and adding or optimizing controls.”

 

Also, per page 12 of the FOA document, “Costs associated with the construction of a building or buildings or structures such as carports (unless integral to the energy generating system(s) being proposed) will not be considered by DOE for reimbursement or as cost share; only the incremental costs associated with the installation of energy generating system(s) or energy efficiency measure(s) will be considered allocable to the proposed DOE funded project.

 

Please also be aware that per page 3 of the FOA document, “Except for pre-award costs with prior DOE approval, only cost share contributions made during the period of performance of the grant, if awarded, can be considered. Any costs incurred prior to award selection cannot be considered as cost share or for reimbursement by DOE.” (Emphasis added)

 

Be aware that “commissioning” in the Milestone table under Appendix C is specific to the commissioning of the 250 Ton/Day Biofuel Demonstration Facility used for that example only, and does not imply that commissioning of a building is eligible under this particular FOA or that it qualifies as an industrial process efficiency measure.

Question 4: We understand that topic 3 applications use energy storage technologies that provide power either independently from the grid or when grid power is not available. However, we are considering battery storage technologies that would allow zero export of power through the meter to enable higher levels of self-consumption. These energy storage systems operate only with the grid and do not produce power during a grid outage. This technology is in response to metering that records and values ANY power being exported at avoided cost and not netted against monthly consumption. The question is, would these grid tied, zero export storage systems be allowed under topic 2 or would they have to be considered under topic 3 even though they have no stand-alone capability?
Answer 4:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

Under Topic Area 2 (Deploy community-scale energy generating system(s) on Tribal Lands) “DOE is seeking applications for the deployment of community-scale energy generating systems on Tribal Lands to provide electricity and/or heating or cooling, to a substantial number of buildings or to an entire tribal community” where ““Energy generating system(s)” for purposes of this FOA include: (1) combined heat and power system(s), (2) conventional distributed generation system(s) and (3) renewable energy system(s) (see definitions below or under Appendix A).” [Emphasis added]

 

Based on the limited information provided and the above excerpts, battery storage technologies, in and of themselves, would not meet the requirements of Topic Area 2 which is specifically for applications proposing energy generating system(s) on a community-scale.   

 

Under Topic Area 3 (Energy System(s) for Autonomous Operation), DOE is soliciting applications to install energy system(s) for autonomous operation (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid) to power (1) a single or multiple essential tribal facilities during emergency situations (Topic Area 3.a.) or to power (2) a substantial number of essential tribal facilities for tribal community resilience (Topic Area 3.b.). [Emphasis added]

 

Based on the limited information provided and the above excerpts, battery storage technologies, in and of themselves, would not meet the requirements of Topic Area 3 as based on your own statement that the battery storage technologies would not function autonomously (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid). Additionally, based on your statements, it does not appear that the battery storage technologies, in and of themselves, would, as a minimum, provide power for essential tribal facilities as is required under Topic Area 3.

Question 5: We are interested in applying for the Energy Infrastructure Deployment on Tribal Lands Grants. I did have two questions and was instructed to email this address. 1) For Topic 3 are generators an allowable expense? 2) Our Tribal Council will not meet in time to have a fully executed Council Bill submitted with the application. Would you accept a draft Council Bill with our application?
Answer 5:

1)    As specified on page 20 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) document, “Eligible ‘energy system(s)’ under Topic Area 3 must, as a minimum, provide power for essential tribal load(s) and may include, but are not limited to, (1) energy generating system(s), (2) energy storage system(s), and/or (3) controls and management system(s).” [Emphasis added]
 
As defined in the FOA, “Energy generating system(s)” for purposes of this FOA include: (1) combined heat and power system(s), (2) conventional distributed generation system(s) and (3) renewable energy system(s)”, where “[c]onventional distributed generation system(s),” for purposes of this FOA, include, but are not limited to, combustion engines, or combustion or steam turbines.
 
It is unclear from your question whether the “generators” you reference meet these requirements. However, energy generating systems as defined above and in the FOA, are allowable costs under this FOA.
 
2)      As stated on page 51 of the FOA, “All Applicants are required to submit a Statement of Commitment and Cost Sharing file. A Statement of Commitment by the Applicant and all other project participants (excluding Vendors) is required as part of the application. For Indian Tribes, that Statement of Commitment must be in the form of an executed Tribal Council Resolution”. For a complete application, an executed Tribal Council Resolution is required, therefore, DOE will not consider a draft Council Bill in lieu of an executed Tribal Council Resolution.
 
Be aware that the DOE Office of Indian Energy issued a Notice of Intent in December 2018, with the intent, among other things, of providing additional time for an executed Tribal Council Resolution to be obtained.

Question 6: We are thinking about applying for a Community wide Energy Efficiency project. 1) What qualifies as tribal buildings? 2) Can we include all Tribal Households under this FOA ? 3) We assume that Community buildings qualify under this FOA, is that correct?
Answer 6:
  1. Per page 12 of the FOA document or under the definitions under Appendix A, “Tribally-owned or controlled building(s),” for purposes of this FOA, is a building or buildings where the eligible entity has the authority to augment or modify the building and where the building is either owned by the eligible entity or tribal members, or the eligible entity has a long-term lease (as a minimum, for the useful life of the proposed project). Tribal Building(s) may include, but are not limited to, tribal member homes, schools, community buildings, clinics/hospitals, tribal government buildings, fire stations, police stations, radio stations, washeterias, utility facilities (such as water/waste water systems), tribal casinos, or tribal businesses.

     

  2. As included in the definition above and in the FOA, Tribally-owned or controlled building(s) include tribal member homes, as well as the additional examples above.

     

  3. As included in the definition above and in the FOA, Tribally-owned or controlled building(s) also include community buildings and tribal government buildings, as well as the additional examples above.

 

Question 7: Could the energy grant for tribes be used for powering a Tribally-owned supermarket with freezers and refrigerators?
Answer 7:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

The FOA specifically defines “Tribally-owned or controlled building(s)” (see below) and supermarkets are not excluded from that definition.

 

“”Tribally-owned or controlled building(s),” for purposes of this FOA, is a building or buildings where the eligible entity has the authority to augment or modify the building and where the building is either owned by the eligible entity or tribal members, or the eligible entity has a long-term lease (as a minimum, for the useful life of the proposed project). Tribal Building(s) may include, but are not limited to, tribal member homes, schools, community buildings, clinics/hospitals, tribal government buildings, fire stations, police stations, radio stations, washeterias, utility facilities (such as water/waste water systems), tribal casinos, or tribal businesses.”

Question 8: Can our Tribe apply for a Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund (TSAF) Matching grant to meet the cost share requirements of the DOE grant or would we be the Tribes still be required to match any funds or commit to any funding for this project?
Answer 8:

As stated on page 10 of the FOA, “A 50% cost share of the total allowable costs of the project (i.e., the sum of the DOE share, and the Recipient share of allowable costs equals the total allowable cost of the project) is required under this FOA. All cost share must come from non-federal sources unless otherwise allowed by law (see Section III.B for instances where additional federal funds can be used against the total project costs or as non-federal cost share, as allowed to by law). Cost share may include cash or in-kind contributions (e.g., contribution of time, unrecovered indirect costs, unrecovered facilities and administrative costs, rental value of buildings, land or equipment, the value of a service, other resource, or third party in-kind contribution) made during the period of performance of the grant. See Appendix B for more information on cost share.”

 

Regarding the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund, you will need to research said funding on your own to determine whether it could qualify as cost share as DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. If you do decide to submit an application, per page 52, “Statements of Commitment by any entity contributing cost share must include statements of cost share commitment” and be provided as part of the application, and per page 3 of the FOA document, cost share must be verifiable upon submission of the application.” [Emphasis added]

Question 9: We are interested in applying for funds for our preconstruction expenses (final design and geotechnical). Are these activities eligible under the Energy Infrastructure Deployment on Tribal Lands – 2019 funding opportunity announcement.
Answer 9:  

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following specifically relative to your interested in applying for funds for preconstruction expenses (final design and geotechnical):

 

As specifically stated under Section I.C., Applications Specifically Not of Interest, the second bullet states, “Applications proposing studies or development (pre-construction) activities or any other activity which does not result in the installation of equipment to generation of electricity and/or heating or cooling, or a reduction in energy use” are not of interest and will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered. [Emphasis added]

   

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following specifically relative to your interested in applying for funds for preconstruction expenses (final design and geotechnical):

 

As specifically stated under Section I.C., Applications Specifically Not of Interest, the second bullet states, “Applications proposing studies or development (pre-construction) activities or any other activity which does not result in the installation of equipment to generation of electricity and/or heating or cooling, or a reduction in energy use” are not of interest and will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered. [Emphasis added]

"As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following specifically relative to your interested in applying for funds for preconstruction expenses (final design and geotechnical):

 

As specifically stated under Section I.C., Applications Specifically Not of Interest, the second bullet states, “Applications proposing studies or development (pre-construction) activities or any other activity which does not result in the installation of equipment to generation of electricity and/or heating or cooling, or a reduction in energy use” are not of interest and will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered.” [Emphasis added]


Question 10: We are looking for ways to reduce our high energy costs and have been reviewing the Energy Infrastructure Deployment on Tribal Lands FOA. I am an experienced grant writer but this one seems to pose some major challenges for a small tribe with limited resources. Aside from competing with larger organizations for a small number of grants I was struck by the 50% cost share match for this grant. Given that our tribe has limited resources it is equally as important to us to be able to rule a grant out that is not a good fit for us as it is to invest the resources in one that is a good fit. If possible, I would like to speak to someone who could provide a perspective for us before we move forward with the proposal.
Answer 10:

It will not be possible for someone to speak to you about this FOA, since this is a competitive Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and all questions concerning the FOA must be submitted to TribalGrants@hq.doe.gov. The reason for only accepting questions in writing is to ensure you receive a formal response and so that everyone has the benefit of that same response - because if you have a question, other potential applicants likely have similar questions.  As a result, we are providing this Question and Response as though it had been submitted to the FOA Q&A email address.

 

Having said that, we provide the following information which may help you in making a decision.

 

The 50% cost share requirement under this FOA is a statutory requirement. Note that per page 29 of the FOA document, cost share may be in the “form of cash or contributions. Cash contributions may be provided by the Recipient or Subrecipients. Allowable contributions include, but are not limited to: contribution of time, unrecovered indirect costs, unrecovered facilities and administrative costs, rental value of buildings, land or equipment, and the value of a service, other resource, or third party in-kind contributions.” In addition to cash and contributions, some federal funds may be used as cost share. See Section III.B. for a list of federal funds that might be eligible as non-federal cost share.

 

Also, be aware that to address some of the issues you raised, per page 9 of the FOA, the Office of Indian Energy may give the following “additional consideration in the selection of applications for funding, through the application of program policy factors (see Section V.C.): (1) projects which serve tribal communities with high energy costs, (2) projects proposed for tribal communities not connected to the traditional centralized electrical power grid, and/or (3) applicants who have not previously received a grant from the Office of Indian Energy (see Appendix A for definitions).”

 

Ultimately, however, the decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.

Question 11: Our question is regarding the “Technical Viability” component of the Project Description and Outcomes, specifically in reference to Topic 1a. Does the project have to have finalized engineering and design plans to be considered for funding under Topic area 1a? Can the final engineering and design specs of an energy generating system be developed after being awarded funding under Topic 1a?
Answer 11:

Because we cannot tell, from your question, what you include in “finalized engineering and design plans,” our ability to respond is limited. As specifically stated in the second bullet under Section I.C., Applications Specifically Not of Interest: “[a]pplications proposing studies or development (pre-construction) activities or any other activity which does not result in the installation of equipment to generation of electricity and/or heating or cooling, or a reduction in energy use” are not of interest and will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered.

 

Further, the Technical Viability section of the Technical Volume (Section IV.C. or page 43 of the FOA document), should “[d]escribe the design and hardware specifications associated with that hardware. Performance specifications and warranties, engineering drawings, and any other supplemental data should be included as an attachment under the Design and Engineering File.”

 

Be aware that Criterion 3, Project Description and Outcomes, accounts for 45% of the overall technical rating, with technical viability accounting for one fourth of that 45%.

Because we cannot tell, from your question, what you include in “finalized engineering and design plans,” our ability to respond is limited. As specifically stated in the second bullet under Section I.C., Applications Specifically Not of Interest: “[a]pplications proposing studies or development (pre-construction) activities or any other activity which does not result in the installation of equipment to generation of electricity and/or heating or cooling, or a reduction in energy use” are not of interest and will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered.

 

Further, the Technical Viability section of the Technical Volume (Section IV.C. or page 43 of the FOA document), should “[d]escribe the design and hardware specifications associated with that hardware. Performance specifications and warranties, engineering drawings, and any other supplemental data should be included as an attachment under the Design and Engineering File.”

 

Be aware that Criterion 3, Project Description and Outcomes, accounts for 45% of the overall technical rating, with technical viability accounting for one fourth of that 45%.

Question 12: Under Section I.C., Applications Specifically not of Interest (page 22 of FOA) , the 3rd bullet states: “Any application where the Applicant has already taken irreversible actions regarding the proposed DOE funded project, where the proposed DOE funded project consists of only the installation of energy generating system(s), energy system(s) and/or the installation and energy efficiency measures, but not the construction of a building(s) or structure(s) such as a carport. Irreversible actions relative to the proposed DOE funded project only (and not the Tribally-owned or controlled building or structure which is being constructed or planned to be constructed during the project period, if proposed) may include, but are not limited to, site clearing, ground breaking, equipment or system purchase or installation, building renovation, and building retrofits.” Considering this information, our questions are: 1) Do energy projects already studied, committed and funded, but not constructed yet qualify under this FOA? 2) Are the construction of a new 66kV substation and a Combined Heat & Power (CHP) system eligible projects?
Answer 12:

 

1)      Irreversible actions for purposes of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) are those as stated under Section I.C., and “may include, but are not limited to, site clearing, ground breaking, equipment or system purchase or installation, building renovation, and building retrofits.”

 

This FOA does not specifically exclude projects that have already been studied, as those studies are required as part of an application. Although not specifically excluded, one of the sub-criteria under which the application will be rated is the “[s]oundness of the discussion of the need for and impact of DOE funding to the proposed project, and the implications if not funded.”

 

2)      As defined in the FOA, “Energy generating system(s)” for purposes of this FOA include: (1) combined heat and power system(s), (2) conventional distributed generation system(s) and (3) renewable energy system(s)”, where “[c]onventional distributed generation system(s),” for purposes of this FOA, include, but are not limited to, combustion engines, or combustion or steam turbines.[Emphasis added] Based on that definition, combined heat and power system(s) are allowed under this FOA.

 

A

Regarding the eligibility of a substation, Section I.C. of the FOA, Applications Specifically Not of Interest, specifically states that “[a]pplications for commercial or utility-scale projects intended solely for revenue generation through the export of electricity off Tribal Lands for commercial sale” are not of interest and “will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered”. The focus of this FOA is deployment of facility-scale and community-scale energy infrastructure, not utility-scale systems or generating power for sale on the wholesale market which would typically necessitate a substation.

 

If, however, the substation is integral to the facility-scale or community-scale project being proposed and meets the other requirements of the FOA, then a substation could be considered.

Question 13: Can a municipality apply on behalf of an eligible Tribe provided that the land was transferred per 14(C)(3) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and the land requiring energy is tribal land?
Answer 13:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

A municipality, in and of itself, is not an eligible applicant per Section III.A. of the FOA (page 24), which states that “eligibility for award under this FOA is restricted to: (1) an Indian Tribe; (2) Intertribal Organization; or (3) Tribal Energy Development Organization; and (4) on whose Tribal Lands the project(s) will be located.” As further indicated in Section III.A (page25 of the FOA document), “[a]pplications may also be submitted on behalf of Indian Tribe(s) by an authorized “Tribal Organization”, provided evidence of that authority is included as part of the application.”

 

Based on the limited information provided, a municipality is not, in and of itself, eligible, nor is it eligible to apply on behalf of a Tribe as a Tribal Organization as it is defined below and in the FOA under Section III.A. (page 25).

 

Tribal Organization,” per Public Law 115-245 has the meaning given the term in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act

(25 U.S.C. 5304). Specifically, per 25 U.S.C. 5304, "Tribal Organization" means the recognized governing body of any Indian tribe; any legally established organization of Indians which is controlled, sanctioned, or chartered by such governing body or which is democratically elected by the adult members of the Indian community to be served by such organization and which includes the maximum participation of Indians in all phases of its activities: Provided, That in any case where a contract is let or grant made to an organization to perform services benefiting more than one Indian tribe, the approval of each such Indian tribe shall be a prerequisite to the letting or making of such contract or grant.

 

Additionally, per Section III.A. of the FOA (pages 26 and 27), Tribal Land includes “land that is owned by an Indian tribe and was conveyed by the United States to a Native Corporation pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.), or that was conveyed by the United States to a Native Corporation in exchange for such land” and “land that was conveyed to a Native Corporation pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.) and subsequently conveyed to another entity, provided that entity is either a Native village or Tribal governmental entity or the land is held, invested, managed for and on behalf of a Native village or Tribal governmental entity.[Emphasis added]

 

If land that was transferred under Section 14(C)(3) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.) complies with one of the types of Tribal Land cited above or one of the other types of Tribal Land as defined in the FOA, then it would be considered Tribal Land for purposes of this FOA.

 

Question 14: Would a solar project on a real estate property owned by a Native American tribe qualify for this grant? The property would be owned by the real estate arm of a Native American investment fund.
Answer 14:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

Based on the limited information provided, we would suggest a thorough review of Section III.A., Eligible Applicants, on pages 24-27 of the funding opportunity announcement. A full copy of the FOA is available online.

Question 15: 1) Our non-profit (formed by Indian landowners of public domain allotments) and a Federally Recognized Tribe are forming a TERDO in order to be eligible for DOE's FOA enacted by tribal law. Both the non-profit & Tribe have DUNS, EIN, SAM, etc. Do we register the TERDO with new DUNS, EIN, SAM, etc.? or can we use the Tribes or the non-profit's registrations for filling the SF-425 and registering in the ASAP site? The non-profit will be responsible for project management of the grant and primary sponsor of the TERDO, with the support of the Tribe. The land is leased by the non-profit and may subleased to TERDO (subject to approval by BIA). 2) We have 2 feasibility studies, exceeding the 20 page limit. Can we attach as 2 Appendices or combine? 3) In reviewing 2 CFR 200.306, Cost Sharing or Matching, it appears that we can meet the 50% through any shared cost or matching funds and all contributions, including cash and third-party organization in-kind contributions? We need confirmation that this applies to this award?
Answer 15:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:


1)    First, the eligible entity as defined in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) would be the entity, that if selected for negotiation, DOE would make an award. Therefore, that eligible entity would be the Applicant and all application documents and required registrations (SAMS, DUNS, FedConnect, Grants.gov, and EERE Exchange) would be specific to the eligible Applicant. If the Indian tribe were the Applicant, then all application documents would be specific to the Indian tribe. If, however, the Tribal Energy Development Organization as defined in the FOA is the Applicant, then the registrations and application forms would be specific to that entity. Note that registration in the Automated Standard Application for Payments (ASAP) is not a requirement under this particular FOA.    

 

Please also be aware that the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act of 2017, enacted December 18, 2018, changed Tribal Energy Resource Development Organization (TERDO) to Tribal Energy Development Organization (TEDO) and provided the revised the definition as included in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) under Section III.A. (page 26) as follows:

 

       ““Tribal Energy Development Organization,” for purposes of this FOA, means:

 

a)    any enterprise, partnership, consortium, corporation, or other type of business organization that is engaged in the development of energy resources and is wholly owned by an Indian tribe (including an organization incorporated pursuant to section 17 of the Act of June 18, 1934 (25 U.S.C. 5124) (commonly known as the ‘‘Indian Reorganization Act’’) or section 3 of the Act of June 26, 1936 (49 Stat. 1967, chapter 831) (commonly known as the ‘Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act’)); and

 

b)    any “organization” of two or more entities, at least one of which is an Indian tribe, that has the written consent of the governing bodies of all Indian tribes participating in the organization to apply for a grant, loan, or other assistance under 2602 of EPAct (25 U.S.C. 3502) or to enter into a lease or business agreement with, or acquire a right-of-way from, an Indian tribe pursuant to subsection (a)(2)(A)(ii) or (b)(2)(B) of 2604 of EPAct (25 U.S.C. 3504), where “organization” means a partnership, joint venture, Limited Liability Company (LLC) or other unincorporated association or entity that is established to develop Indian energy resources.”

 

Please review the eligibility section of the FOA to ensure that the Applicant and land is eligible. Specifically, see Section III.A, Eligible Applicants beginning on page 24 of the FOA.

 

2)   While feasibility studies are required as part of the Studies and Plans File for Topic Area 1.b., Topic Area 1.c., and Topic Area 2, the Studies and Plans file does not have a page limit. The Technical Volume has a 15 page limit (excluding the cover page, table of contents, and any separate attachment files), Workplan has a 5 page limit (excluding the milestone table), Summary Slide (1 page limit), and the Resumes File (2 pages each). Other than the components above, no other page limits are specified.

 

Please review Section IV.C., Content and Form of the Application, beginning on page 34 for a complete listing of the required components of an application and specifically see Section IV.C.8., Studies and Plans, on page 50 of the FOA for the requirements for that component.  

 

3)    Please review to Section III.B. Cost Sharing (beginning on page 27 of the FOA document) in its entirety for information regarding cost sharing. As stated on page 29 of the FOA document, “cost share in the form of cash or contributions. Cash contributions may be provided by the Recipient or Subrecipients. Allowable contributions include, but are not limited to: contribution of time, unrecovered indirect costs, unrecovered facilities and administrative costs, rental value of buildings, land or equipment, and the value of a service, other resource, or third party in-kind contributions.”

 

Also note that under Section IV.C.10., Statement of Commitment and Cost Sharing File, beginning on page 51 of the FOA, that the “Statements of Commitment by any entity contributing cost share must include statements of cost share commitment. Statements of cost share commitment should include a detailed estimate of the cash value (basis of and the nature of) of all contributions to the project by project participants.”

 

Question 16: Regarding the 50% cost share match requirement for this FOA, are there any procedures in place to request an exemption or reduction due to cases of poverty? The communities we work with in rural Alaska experience some of the highest energy costs in the nation, and this requirement places such a burden on them as to make the grants cost-prohibitive.
Answer 16:

This FOA does not provide provisions for applicants to request a cost share reduction from the statutory cost share requirement of a minimum of 50% of total project costs.

 

Be aware that per page 9 of the FOA, the Office of Indian Energy may give the following “additional consideration in the selection of applications for funding, through the application of program policy factors (see Section V.C.): (1) projects which serve tribal communities with high energy costs, (2) projects proposed for tribal communities not connected to the traditional centralized electrical power grid, and/or (3) applicants who have not previously received a grant from the Office of Indian Energy (see Appendix A for definitions).” [Emphasis added]

 

Also, be aware that per page 10 of the FOA “Cost share may include cash or in-kind contributions (e.g., contribution of time, unrecovered indirect costs, unrecovered facilities and administrative costs, rental value of buildings, land or equipment, the value of a service, other resource, or third party in-kind contribution) made during the period of performance of the grant. See Appendix B for more information on cost share.”

Question 17: On Page 65 of the 2019 Funding Opportunity announcement (FOA) there's a link to the Merit Review Guide that has information on scoring criteria. However, missing are the attachments listed in the contents for example criteria scoring & evaluation. Specifically, we think it could be helpful to see: ATTACHMENT 6: Evaluation Criteria and Rating Scale ATTACHMENT 7: Individual Rating Sheet ATTACHMENT 8: Record of Consensus Strengths and Weaknesses ATTACHMENT 9: Record of Consensus Scores for All Applicants For example what points are given for various energy offset percentages, other than the general requirement of "substantial percentage of the total community energy load (minimum of 100 kilowatt)." Example two, what, if any, points are given for matching funds when they are greater than 50%.
Answer 17:

The Merit Review Guide identified under Section V.B. of the FOA, Standards for Application Evaluation, is included for reference only. The specific criteria under which applications received under this FOA will be reviewed is included under Section V.A., Technical Review Criteria. Applications will be scored on a scale 1 to 10 and weighted per the weights included under Section V.A. of the FOA.   

 

The energy offset percentages or matching funds when they are greater than 50% are not evaluated on a specific point scale, but rather are considered as part of the Technical Review per the criteria published under Section V.A. of the FOA (pages 63-65) and at the discretion of the Selection Official under the Program Policy Factors (see Section V.C. on page 65 of the FOA).

 

The entirety of the attachments to the Department of Energy Merit Review Guide for Financial Assistance can be found at  https://www.energy.gov/management/downloads/merit-review-guide-financial-assistance-and-unsolicited-proposals-historical.

 

Question 18: An official elected tribal council resolution from a federally recognized tribe is authorizing a wholly owned and chartered tribal utility to be the applicant for the grant: ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE DEPLOYMENT ON TRIBAL LANDS - 2019 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number: DE-FOA-0002032. The funding commitment is coming from the utility which will be the actual applicant. This utility has its own separate board. This separate board does not traditionally pass so-called formal Resolutions. On printed pages 3-4 (pages 8-9 using the PDF numbered pages system) it gives guidance and there seems to be some flexibility in regards to this. The utility board intends to vote on a Letter of Commitment that contains the relevant information required for this grant – and have this letter on official utility stationary and signed by two of its board officers and also attach the accompanying official board minutes and official vote. Would this suffice in meeting this requirement?
Answer 18:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

Section III.A of the FOA document (page 25), states “Applications may also be submitted on behalf of Indian Tribe(s) by an authorized “Tribal Organization”, provided evidence of that authority is included as part of the application.” [Emphasis added]

 

Section IV.C.10. Statement of Commitment and Cost Sharing File (page 52 of the FOA document), states: the “Statements of Commitment by any entity contributing cost share must include statements of cost share commitment. Statements of cost share commitment should include a detailed estimate of the cash value (basis of and the nature of) of all contributions to the project by project participants.”

 

As stated on page 4,  “[i]f an Application is being submitted on behalf of Indian Tribe(s) by an authorized Tribal Organization, evidence of that authority is required as part of the Application, along with a declaration (or resolution) from the Tribal Organization, and a letter of commitment from all other project participants. Evidence may include, but is not limited to, a constitution, resolution, ordinance, executive order, charter or other legal documentation (see Section IV.C.9., Eligibility Statements and Evidence).” [Emphasis added]

 

A letter from the utility board on official utility stationary and signed by two of its board officers with official board minutes and official vote attached would appear to meet the requirement of a declaration (or resolution) from the Tribal Organization. As stated above, evidence of authority “may include, but is not limited to, a constitution, resolution, ordinance, executive order, charter or other legal documentation”.

Question 19: Can you please clarify, yes or no, as to whether or not the light poles and lights in the parking lot of a “Tribal Building” would be incorporated, by definition, as part of said “Tribal Building”?
Answer 19:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

A building for purposes of this FOA would typically be a structure with walls and a roof, where per page 12 of the funding opportunity announcement “Tribal Building(s) may include, but are not limited to, tribal member homes, schools, community buildings, clinics/hospitals, tribal government buildings, fire stations, police stations, radio stations, washeterias, utility facilities (such as water/waste water systems), tribal casinos, or tribal businesses.”

 

Lighting in the parking lot of a “Tribal Building” would be considered an incidental load of the building and should be included in the energy calculations and considered part of the building; however, lighting not integral to a building such as solar-power street lighting would not be considered part of a “Tribal Building” for purposes of this FOA.

Question 20: As you may know, the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund (TSAF) launched on March 3rd and is offering a few pots of funding; Matching Funds, Tribal Facility and Tribal Residential project funding. Since the release of the DOE FOA, I have received several emails and calls from potential TSAF applicants. 1) Regarding the "cost-share types and allowability" section, can you provide some clarification on the "the recipient may NOT use the following sources to meet its cost-share obligations" bullet point that states: "Any form of cost-sharing received after the DOE grant period, or those received prior to being selected for this award under this FOA". 2) I would also like to know if you have advice for potential TSAF applicants who are also applying to this FOA: should they apply to TSAF during the current funding year (7/1/19-6/30/20) or in the next TSAF funding year? which funding year do you think aligns best with the current DOE FOA?
Answer 20:

1.  This FOA requires all cost share to be received during the period of performance of the DOE grant; as such, cost share received either after the DOE grant period end date or expenditures prior to an applicant’s selection for an award are not allowable. In addition to the FOA reference included in your question (found in Section III.B.3. Cost Share Types and Allowability (p. 30)), this requirement is made clear in other areas of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), as follows:

 

Regarding “[a]ny form of cost sharing received after the DOE grant period,” as stated on page 10 of the FOA document, “Cost share may include cash or in-kind contributions (e.g., contribution of time, unrecovered indirect costs, unrecovered facilities and administrative costs, rental value of buildings, land or equipment, the value of a service, other resource, or third party in-kind contribution) made during the period of performance of the grant.” [Emphasis added]

 

Regarding “[a]ny form of cost sharing received…prior to being selected”, as stated on page 3 of the FOA document, “Except for pre-award costs with prior DOE approval, only cost share contributions made during the period of performance of the grant, if awarded, can be considered. Any costs incurred prior to award selection cannot be considered as cost share or for reimbursement by DOE.” [Emphasis added]

 

2.  As stated on page 3 of the FOA and under III.B.3 (cost Share Types and Allowability), “cost share must be verifiable upon submission of the application.[Emphasis added] As the submission deadline for applications under this FOA is May 1, 2019 at 5:00 pm Eastern Time, neither TSAF funding year would appear to meet the requirement of those funds being verifiable as cost share at the time of application submission. However, TSAF funds received this year may be allowable for future FOAs issued by the Office of Indian Energy, if any.  

 

Question 21: 1. Could I have clarification or an example on how the feasibility study, energy audit and estimate of the energy saved and displaced annually should be formatted that is required for Topic Area 1.c? 2. Also, if the proposed project will be implemented internally, is the Subcontract Plan still required or could there be a statement indicating there will not be a subrecipient in lieu of the Subcontract Plan? 3. The last question is will there need to be an energy audit, estimate of the energy saved and displaced annually and a feasibility study for each proposed building?
Answer 21:

 

1.   Regarding the feasibility study, energy audit(s) or industrial energy assessment(s) and an

      estimate of the energy saved required under Topic Area 1.c.: there is no prescribed format

      or standard.

 

However, a feasibility study  is generally an analysis used in measuring the ability and likelihood to complete a project successfully. A feasibility study should include all relevant factors to determine the technical and economic viability of a project before investing a considerable amount of time and money into it. Examples of feasibility studies can be found on DOE’s Office of Indian Energy website at  https://www.energy.gov/indianenergy/maps/tribal-energy-projects-databaseand searching under “feasibility”.

 

Energy audits or assessments should accurately describe the building(s) and the building(s)’ baseline energy use, and provide credible evidence of the savings to be expected as a result of the proposed energy measures. Some public samples of energy audits can be found at http://www.cdwengineering.com/pdf/Sample_Energy_Audit_Jan_09.pdf, http://www.envinity.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Envinity-Sample-Report.pdf, and http://www.akenergyefficiency.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/DOYON-Nortech-FAI_FNSB_North_Pole_Middle_School_and_Wescott_Pool.pdf. Various public templates can be found at https://www.template.net/business/report-templates/energy-audit-report-templates/.

 

The examples and templates provided in the links above are only examples and in no way indicate that the content or format is acceptable; the adequacy of an applicants’ energy audit(s) or industrial assessment(s) will be evaluated as part of a comprehensive technical review according to the criteria identified in Section V.A. of the FOA beginning on page 63 of the FOA document.

 

2.    If the proposed project will be implemented internally, a Subcontract Plan is not required; however, a file stating, “A Subcontract Plan is not applicable as all work will be  

            completed by the Applicant” or something to that effect, is required in lieu of the

            Subcontract Plan.

 

3.  To meet the FOA requirements, an energy audit, estimate of the energy saved and displaced annually and a feasibility study is required for each “Tribally-owned or controlled building” proposed under Topic Area 1.c.

Question 22: We are interested in applying for a grant to implement energy efficiency measures in tribal buildings. We have a preliminary analysis of the costs involved and a rough calculation of how much energy could be saved. My question is, can the funds be used to conduct building audits to refine our estimates?
Answer 22:

For Topic Area 1.b. Multiple Energy Efficiency Measures and Topic Area 1.c. Energy Generation System(s) and Energy Efficiency Measure(s), energy audits or industrial energy assessments cannot be included as a task to be completed during a proposed project. As stated in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), applications for both of those Topic Areas (pages 15 and 16), must “[b]e based on energy audit(s) or industrial energy assessment(s) for the proposed EEMs and those energy audits or industrial energy assessments must be provided as part of the application.”

 

As specifically stated in the second bullet under Section I.C. of the FOA, Applications Specifically Not of Interest, “[a]pplications proposing studies ordevelopment (pre-construction) activities or any other activity which does not result in the installation of equipment to generation of electricity and/or heating or cooling, or a reduction in energy use” are not of interest and will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered. [Emphasis added] An energy audit would be considered “studies or development (pre-construction) activities” and, therefore, is not an eligible activity.

 

Regarding your “preliminary analysis,” the FOA does not specify any specific standards or requirements for the energy audits and/or industrial energy assessments. However, generally an energy audit should accurately describe the building(s) and the building(s) baseline energy use, and provide credible evidence of the savings to be expected as a result of the proposed energy measures. The adequacy of the energy audit(s) or industrial assessment(s) will be evaluated as part of a comprehensive technical review according to the criteria identified in Section V.A. of the FOA (beginning on page 63 of the FOA document).

Question 23: Regarding the definition of a “community-scale project” for Topic 2, in order to serve a Tribal building, does a project need to directly connect to the Tribal building served, or may the Tribal entity sell power from the project to a utility or rural electric cooperative that in turn provides power to the Tribal buildings?
Answer 23:

The funding opportunity announcement (FOA) does not preclude “grid-connected” systems (as defined in the FOA) and in fact, in most situations it is expected that the proposed systems would be grid-connected and an interconnection agreement and/or net metering arrangement would be needed with the local utility. Specifically, refer to Section IV.C.4., Technical Volume (page 43 of the FOA) that states for Energy Generating System(s) (Topic Area 1.a., Topic Area 1.c. or Topic Area 2), “[a]lso include a discussion of the interconnection or net metering arrangements and include copies of any agreements, if obtained, under the Statement of Commitment and Cost Sharing File).

 

Please note that projects proposed under Topic Area 2 are intended for use by the community and not, as specified under Section I.A., Applications Specifically Not of Interest (page 22 of the FOA), “for commercial or utility-scale projects intended solely for revenue generation through the export of electricity off Tribal Lands for commercial sale.”

Question 24: 1. Do you happen to have anyone to speak to regarding my questions? It might be easier to elaborate since I seemed to not have provided you with enough information. 2. Section 1.C. states that “applications proposing studies or development (pre-construction) activities or any other activity which does not result in the installation of equipment to generation of electricity and/or heating or cooling, or a reduction in energy use” are not of interest. Does this mean that studies/pre-construction activities will be eligible if the proposed project also includes the installation of an energy generation system? 3. In addition, do you have examples to provide to illustrate what is required in the Technical Viability section?
Answer 24:

1.  As this is a competitive process, questions will only be accepted in writing and answers posted so that everyone has the benefit of the response. Further, as stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

2.  No, studies/pre-construction activities and engineering and design are considered “studies or development (pre-construction) activities” and, therefore, not an eligible activity under this funding opportunity announcement. Applications proposing these types of activities will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered

3.  The information being requested to illustrate technical viability is explicitly identified under Section III.C.4. (Technical Volume) within the table beginning on page 38 of the FOA document. Technical viability, as supplemented by other sections of the Technical Volume and application attachments, is specifically addressed within that same table on page 43.

Question 25: I am working with a prospective applicant to the DOE Energy Infrastructure Deployment on Tribal Lands FOA and we noted that for Topic Area 1.b., there is a requirement that there needs to be multiple energy efficiency measures proposed for each facility (i.e., more than 1). We are wondering if DOE would consider interior LED (light-emitting diode) light replacement and exterior LED light replacement/work to be more than 1 energy efficiency measure?
Answer 25:

For Topic Area 1.b., Multiple Energy Efficiency Measures, an energy efficiency measure (EEM) such as lighting that is proposed for the interior and the exterior of a Tribally-owned or controlled building would only qualify as a single EEM and not eligible under Topic area 1.b. As stated in the FOA, “[o]nly applications exclusively proposing multiple EEMs will be considered under Topic Area 1.b. If an application proposes only a single EEM, the application will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered. [Emphasis added]

Question 26: 1. Our Tribe would like to apply in the above grant program for funds to help build a back-up generator at a long house facility to be used as an emergency shelter in the event of need on the reservation. Is this an allowable project type and if so, what application type, (Topic Area 2.a.?) for example would we apply under? 2. How would we develop an options analysis for this project? 3. We have a FEMA-approved Tribal hazard mitigation plan. Does this satisfy the requirement to have an emergency plan? 4. We have a Tribal emergency operations plan but it does not identify vulnerabilities, goals, essential facilities, strategies like the hazard mitigation plan above. Which plan would we add to our application? 5. The back-up generator at our long house would act as an autonomous, (independent) power source to generate electricity at the facility during emergency situations. Is this an eligible project within this application? 6. How do we include in the application that a back-up generator is commercially proven or that its technology is such or technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 9. Do we have to do that to include it in the application? We just want to secure a back-up generator at a Tribal facility to allow use the facility as a shelter for people and provide electricity to that facility in the event of system outage from the utility company. 7. Is there someone I can talk with at DOE about our application as we develop it and have questions?
Answer 26:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

1.  Topic Area 2 (there is no a or b option for this Topic Area) is for Community-Scale Energy Generating System(s) Deployment. Based on your question #5, which states, “[t]The back-up generator at our long house would act as an autonomous, (independent) power source…”, you might want to read Topic Area 3, Energy System(s) for Autonomous (Independent) Operation. More specifically, 3.a. is for Powering Essential Tribal Facilities. [Emphasis Added]

 

As stated on page 19 of the FOA document, ““Essential tribal facilities” for purposes for this FOA, are those facilities necessary for providing essential services, where “essential services” for purposes of this FOA means services, that if interrupted, would endanger the life, health or personal safety of the whole or part of the tribal community. Such essential services include, but are not limited to, emergency facilities or shelters, hospitals or medical services, fire services, police services, water/wastewater, sewage, communications, electricity, natural gas, telecommunications (including telephone, radio or television broadcasting, internet connectivity, and broadband speeds), and transportation.”

 

2.  The FOA document provides a description under Section IV.C.7. (Options Analysis) on page 50 and an instructional template included as Appendix E beginning on page 113. The template can be downloaded from EERE Exchange under “View Required Application Documents” and selecting “Options Analysis”.

 

3.  We are not able to speak to what is included in your referenced “FEMA-approved Tribal hazard mitigation plan.” As stated in the FOA document for Topic Area 3.a., applications must “[b]e based on an emergency plan that identifies vulnerabilities, establishes goals, identifies essential facilities, and identifies and prioritizes strategies, and that plan must be provided as part of the application.” If your mentioned hazard mitigation plan includes the requisite information, it should be included and also referenced in your application. [Emphasis added]

 

4.  If your “Tribal emergency operations plan” does not include the requisite details for the emergency plan required under Topic Area 3.a., then it should not be included as the requisite “emergency plan.” However, if it supplements your application or provides relevant background, you may wish to include it as an attachment under the Site and Resources Map and Graphics File.

 

5.  As state above, DOE will not make eligibility determinations and the decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant. However, for your purposes in making that decision, see #1 above.

 

6.  Proven technology is technology that has a documented track record for a defined environment and provides confidence in the technology from practical operations, with respect to the ability of the technology to meet the specified requirements. So, typically mature technology has been on the market for some period of time, comes with warranties and specifications and is sold in a competitive environment. That said, providing the requisite design and engineering file (see Section IV.C.17.) and including copies of design and engineering data, hardware performance specifications, and warranties and addressing the commercially-proven nature of the hardware and associated  warranties as described under the Technical Volume beginning on page 43 of the FOA document, will address that requirement.

 

7.  As stated in both the FOA document and Question #10 of the FOA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) webpage, “[i]t will not be possible for someone to speak to you about this FOA, since this is a competitive Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and all questions concerning the FOA must be submitted to TribalGrants@hq.doe.gov. The reason for only accepting questions in writing is to ensure you receive a formal response and so that everyone has the benefit of that same response - because if you have a question, other potential applicants likely have similar questions.”

 

Question 27: Could you please clarify the extent of the Project that must be on Tribal Lands? Must all of the Project be on Tribal Lands, or is it allowable to apply to FOA-0002032 if the generating equipment of the proposed Project would be located on Tribal Lands but other parts of the Project would be on adjacent non-tribal lands?
Answer 27:

No, the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) does not allow for the type of partial tribal land scenario as you describe. The definition of “Tribal Lands,” as described in Section III.A. Eligible Applicants, would apply to the entirety of your proposed project.

 

Also, be aware that Section I.C. of the FOA (beginning on page 24), Applications Specifically Not of Interest, specifically states that “[a]pplications for commercial or utility-scale projects intended solely for revenue generation through the export of electricity off Tribal Lands for commercial sale” are not of interest and “will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered”. The energy generated is intended for use on Tribally-owned or controlled building(s) on Tribal Land and/or tribal communities located on Tribal Land. For Topic Area 2, the FOA specifically states that “[a]ll proposed projects (or buildings on which systems are proposed) must be on Tribal Lands, must be “owned or controlled” by the eligible entity, and must benefit the eligible entity (Indian tribe or Tribal Energy Development Organization) and the tribal community.”

Question 28: In regard to Topic Area 1.b. (Multiple Energy Efficiency Measures), does the verification need to be energy efficiency measure (EEM) specific (separate verification for each EEM) or is overall savings for the entire project or by building acceptable? If verification must be EEM specific, for certain facilities, it is not possible to isolate actual energy usage and savings from certain EEMs. For example, in a large multi-use facility, it would be impossible to show actual energy and monetary savings from replacement of lighting, as it is not metered separately from the rest of the building. Providing overall building usage/savings may not fully represent EEM effects, as there are many other activities using energy which may not be consistent from year to year. How do we address this during the verification period? Are estimates, based on what is known about energy usage of prior technology (e.g., incandescent bulbs) and newly installed technology (e.g., LED lighting) acceptable?
Answer 28:

Prior to addressing your specific question, please be reminded that for Topic Area 1.b. Multiple Energy Efficiency Measures, “[o]nly applications exclusively proposing multiple EEMs will be considered under Topic Area 1.b. If an application proposes only a single EEM, the application will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered.” A single energy efficiency measure can only be proposed along with an energy generating system(s) under Topic Area 1.c. Energy Generation System(s) and Energy Efficiency Measure(s).

 

In addition:

  • As stated on page 16 under Section 1.B. Topic Area/Technical Areas of Interest, “[v]erification of the actual energy saved annually (amount, cost, and percentage) will be required for a minimum of 12 months after installation of the EEM(s), and a description of those verification methods must be included as part of the Technical Volume (see Section IV.C., Content and Form of the Application).” [Emphasis added]
  • Topic Area 1.b. and Topic Area 1.c. must be “based on energy audit(s) or industrial energy assessment(s) for the proposed EEMs and those energy audits or industrial energy assessments must be provided as part of the application”.
  • Further, per the response to Question #25 under the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), “an energy efficiency measure (EEM) such as lighting that is proposed for the interior and the exterior of a Tribally-owned or controlled building would only qualify as a single EEM and not eligible under Topic area 1.b.”

With that, energy audits typically include a projection of energy savings (e.g., cost and amount) for each EEM and the “estimate of the energy saved annually (amount, cost, and percentage) through the proposed EEMs based on the actual energy used for existing buildings and projected savings for buildings currently being constructed or planned to be constructed during the proposed grant period”. For existing buildings, for example, the “estimate of energy saved annually” should be based on actual energy used, preferably over at least a year, and that baseline usage amount and cost compared on a whole-building basis to energy usage after installation of EEMs, typically obtained from utility bills.

 

If, however, actual building usage is not representative of the actual savings for the proposed EEMs, an alternate verification method, such as what is known about energy usage of prior technology (e.g., incandescent bulbs) and the proposed technology (e.g., LED lighting), needs to be proposed and per Section I.B. (page 16) “a description of those verification methods must be included as part of the Technical Volume.”

 

Question 29: Our Topic Area 2 solar project will be located next to and connect to a substation owned and operated by the tribally owned utility authority and the electricity will be used solely for the tribe’s energy needs. 1) Would a properly-designed Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) contract and a PPA contribution from an outside investor group count as a 50% match under any circumstances, or is a PPA not allowed for the match under any circumstances? After a period of approximately six years the tribe’s utility authority, who is also the applicant, would become the owner of the project in its entirety. The tribe’s wholly owned utility authority will have operational control and operate this project on a daily basis, before and after this five-year period, and throughout the entire life of the project. 2) Is there any further guidance defining “Owned or Controlled”? As per the following guidance given in your FOA, from page 85: ““Owned or Controlled,” for purposes of this FOA, is where the eligible entity has or has been given certain rights and duties, specifically the ability to exercise authority, direction and control over the project. Note that ownership may be private, collective, or common and some of those rights and duties may be held by different parties.”
Answer 29:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

In addition, the scenario you have described is complex, and DOE has been provided only limited information regarding the various parties’ roles and responsibilities. Without additional details, a final determination is not something DOE can make at this time (which is why DOE does not make eligibility determinations prior to an applicant’s submission of its application).  With that caveat, however, we provide the following general information for your purposes in making a decision:

 

1)      Only under very limited circumstances would a PPA meet the requirements of this FOA and be allowable. A PPA may, however, be a component of a properly established organizational structure created for the purpose of the proposed project.  

 

Based on the information provided in your question, we assume you are asking with respect to Topic Area 2, "Community-scale Energy Generating System(s)”. In that regard, page 18 of the FOA states, “[a]ll proposed projects (or buildings on which systems are proposed) must be on Tribal Lands, must be “owned or controlled” by the eligible entity, and must benefit the eligible entity (Indian tribe or Tribal Energy Development Organization) and the tribal community; however, the substantial number of buildings within a tribal community (no less than three (3) buildings), where the energy or heat is to be used, do not necessarily need to be “owned or controlled” by the eligible entity”, “owned or controlled” is defined on page 85 of the FOA and as included in your question. [Emphasis added]

 

That said, investments by outside investors groups may be eligible as cost share, provided the arrangements among the entities (such as between an Indian tribe and the outside investor group) remain within the organizational structure (see the definition of Tribal Energy Development Organization below and on page 26 of the FOA) created for the proposed project, the equipment purchased under the grant agreement, if one is awarded, is not encumbered by any entities outside that organizational structure, and that contractual provisions be made such that the eligible tribal entity can acquired the equipment and/or property purchase under the grant agreement at set future date.

 

You should also be aware that, if an outside investor group contributes funds for cost share, that entity is considered a Subrecipient and is subject to the same terms and conditions as the Recipient is under the financial assistant grant agreement including the provisions under Appendix II to Part 200, Contract Provisions for Non-Federal Entity Contracts Under Federal Awards. Further, per the Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR 200.400) “[t]he non-Federal entity may not earn or keep any profit resulting from Federal financial assistance, unless explicitly authorized by the terms and conditions of the Federal award. See also §200.307 Program income.”

 

Per Section III.A. of the FOA, a ““Tribal Energy Development Organization,” for purposes of this FOA, means:

 

a)      any enterprise, partnership, consortium, corporation, or other type of business organization that is engaged in the development of energy resources and is wholly owned by an Indian tribe (including an organization incorporated pursuant to section 17 of the Act of June 18, 1934 (25 U.S.C. 5124) (commonly known as the ‘‘Indian Reorganization Act’’) or section 3 of the Act of June 26, 1936 (49 Stat. 1967, chapter 831) (commonly known as the ‘Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act’)); and

 

b)      any “organization” of two or more entities, at least one of which is an Indian tribe, that has the written consent of the governing bodies of all Indian tribes participating in the organization to apply for a grant, loan, or other assistance under 2602 of EPAct (25 U.S.C. 3502) or to enter into a lease or business agreement with, or acquire a right-of-way from, an Indian tribe pursuant to subsection (a)(2)(A)(ii) or (b)(2)(B) of 2604 of EPAct (25 U.S.C. 3504), where “organizationmeans a partnership, joint venture, Limited Liability Company (LLC) or other unincorporated association or entity that is established to develop Indian energy resources.” [Emphasis added]

 

Furthermore, per page 52 of the FOA, “[f]oregone fee or profit by the Applicant shall not be considered cost sharing under any resulting award.” Also, see Section III.B.3. (page 29) for additional sources that cannot be used as cost share.

 

In making your decision, you may wish to review Section III.A on eligible applicants and, depending on the Topic Area, those specific sections under Section I.B, Topic Areas.  Please also review Section I.C  for applications specifically not of interest. Specifically, review eligible Applicants (e.g., Indian tribe and Tribal Energy Development Organization) and the definition of Tribal Lands, as land leased to a non-eligible entity (e.g., outside investor group) would not be considered Tribal Lands for purposes of this FOA.

 

Furthermore, this FOA requires all cost share to be received during the period of performance of the DOE grant; as such, cost share received either after the DOE grant period end date, or expenditures prior to an applicant’s selection for an award are not allowable. Per Section III.B.3. (page 29), “[t]he Recipient may not use the following sources to meet its cost share obligations including, but not limited to”, and as stated under the first bullet, “[r]evenues or royalties from the prospective operation of an activity beyond the project period”; meaning revenues to be received after grant agreement end date cannot be used as cost share. Additionally, as stated on page 3 of the FOA and under III.B.3 Cost Share Types and Allowability (page 29), “cost share must be verifiable upon submission of the application.” [Emphasis added]

 

2)      Due to the limited information provided, we are not able to provide further clarification on “owned or controlled” beyond that which is provided in the FOA document.
Question 30: The link on page 61 of the FOA produces a “404” error (page cannot be found). If a Tribe DOES NOT engage in lobbying activities, is there a form to be used to state that? MUST the SF-LLL that is downloadable from the EERE Exchange be included in the grant application?
Answer 30:

Please ignore the link for the SF-LLL under Section IV.C.21. (page 56) and under Section IV.H.8. (page 61) of the FOA. Instead, please download the file from the Required Application Documents section in EERE Exchange.

 

As stated in the FOA under Section IV.C.21. (page 56) and on SF-LLL: Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (page 61), “[i]f no non-federal funds have been paid or will be paid to any person for influencing or attempting to influence any of the above in connection with your application, indicate “none” and sign and date the form. This form is available under “Required Application Documents” for this FOA on EERE Exchange at https://eere-Exchange.energy.gov/.” [Emphasis added]

Question 31: Our project is to provide solar power to Tribal buildings, which include the Tribe’s supermarket and convenience store and may include the coffee shop. 1. Our question is, if we are eligible to purchase the solar power generating units necessary to power these facilities, under which topic area do we apply? 2. The other question is, if we need to make an upgrade to more energy efficient freezers and coolers, could those expenses also be covered under the grant?
Answer 31:

As stated in Section III.F., Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

1.  If the buildings do not represent a substantial number of the total buildings within a community   (where a “substantial” number is three (3) buildings or more) with the project providing a substantial percentage of the total community energy load (minimum of 100 kilowatt (kW)), the energy generating systems, including solar power generating systems, would be considered “energy generating systems” on “Tribally-owned or controlled building(s)” and may be eligible under Topic Area 1.A., assuming the proposed systems and buildings meet the definitions in the FOA and the application complies with all the requirements associated with that Topic Area.

 

If, however, these buildings do represent a substantial number of the total buildings within a community (where a “substantial” number is three (3) buildings or more) with the project providing a substantial percentage of the total community energy load (minimum of 100 kilowatt (kW)), then you may want to consider Topic Area 2.

 

2.  If those “energy generating systems” are combined with energy efficiency measure(s), such as energy efficient freezers and coolers, then that particular building would need to be proposed separately under Topic Area 1.C., Energy Generation System(s) and Energy Efficiency Measure(s). If the proposed project meets the requirements of the FOA and the energy efficient freezers and coolers are purchased during the period of performance of the grant (if one is made), then those costs may be covered under the grant.

 

Please review the definitions provided in the FOA and the requirements associated with each Topic Area.

Question 32: After registering with EERE Exchange, I want to obtain the Control Number for my application so I can place it on the documents that need an original signature. I am being asked for the Topic Area and a Project Abstract. Can these fields be edited after receiving the control number or are they static?
Answer 32:

When beginning a new application in EERE Exchange, and before a Control Number is received, some initial information has to be entered onto the “General” tab. Please note that all of the information on that tab can be modified after clicking “Create Full Application” and receiving a Control Number.

Question 33: For a new building, what will DOE require to model for a baseline? For example, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is very clear on what it requires, but the DOE energy efficiency measure(s) (EEMs) don't mention LEED.
Answer 33:

As stated in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) under Topic Area 1.b. (Multiple Energy Efficiency Measures), “[i]nclude an estimate of the energy saved annually (amount, cost, and percentage) through the proposed EEMs based on the actual energy used for existing buildings and projected savings for buildings currently being constructed or planned to be constructed during the proposed grant period”. Further, on page 16 the FOA states, “[o]nly the incremental costs associated with the installation of the energy efficiency measures will be considered, not the cost of constructing the building.”

 

Therefore, the projected energy savings would be based on an estimate of the energy to be used in the building currently being constructed or planned to be constructed during the proposed grant period, exclusive of the specific EEMs being proposed in response to this FOA. The specific methodology used to estimate the energy saved annually for the specific EEMs being proposed is not specified; however, the quality and credibility of the estimate will be evaluated as part of the technical review based on the criteria published in the FOA (see Section IV.A., Technical Review Criteria, beginning on page 63 of the FOA).

 

There is no requirement for the building currently being constructed or planned to be constructed during the proposed grant period to be LEED certified or for the LEED methodology of comparing the “building as designed” to a second “baseline” building to be used. Again, the baseline building in this case is the “building as designed” without the specific EEMs being proposed as only the EEMs being proposed will be considered, not the entire the building.

Question 34: I am emailing today regarding the DOE’s Energy Infrastructure Deployment on Tribal Lands FOA. Specifically, I would like to know if there are any required trainings/conferences under this funding announcement. If so, could you email me the proposed location and date of the required training/conference?
Answer 34:

With respect to “trainings” for the 2019 Energy Infrastructure Deployment on Tribal Lands FOA itself, an informational webinar was held March 14, 2019, to provide potential applicants with information on the FOA. In addition to describing the FOA in detail, presenters discussed who is eligible to apply, what an application needs to include, cost share and other requirements, how to ask questions, and how applications will be selected for funding. The webinar material can be found on our website or accessed through EERE Exchange.

 

In addition, if an application is selected for negotiation, there may some webinars to help selectees and new awardees through the processes and requirements associated with a grant award.

 

Finally, as described on page 4 of the FOA and again on page 10, “[s]elected Applicants will be required to document progress in quarterly reports and the project results in a comprehensive final report, as well as present at an annual Program Review to be held each fall in Denver, Colorado. For planning purposes, Applicants should plan to attend and present grant activities each year during the period of performance of the grant, beginning in 2019. Travel costs for this annual review (one-week in duration plus travel days) must be included, for each year of the grant, in the proposed budget.” [Emphasis added]

 

Specific dates for the 2019 Program Review have not been set; however, the Program Reviews have historically been held in Denver or the surrounding area and have predominately been held in November. See our website for information on past Program Reviews.

 

Other than these webinars and the required annual Program Reviews, no other specific trainings or conferences are required under the FOA.

Question 35: Can a loan through a private bank and guaranteed in part by the U.S Department of the Interior be counted as the required match?
Answer 35:

Funds acquired through a loan, either through a bank or through another Federal agency such as DOI, are considered cash (so long as they must be repaid to the lender) and may be used as cost share.

 

Please realize that applicants are required to provide documentation regarding their cost share contributions as part of their application. Additionally, as stated in Section III.B.3. Cost Share Types and Allowability (page 30), “[c]ost share contributions must be specified in the project budget, verifiable from the Recipient’s records, and necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient accomplishment of the project. As all sources of cost share are considered part of total project cost, the cost share dollars will be scrutinized under the same federal regulations as federal dollars to the project. Every cost share contribution must be reviewed and approved in advance by the Contracting Officer and incorporated into the project budget before the expenditures are incurred.”

 

And, although the cost share requirement applies to the project as a whole, including work performed by members of the project team other than the Recipient of the grant award, the Recipient is legally responsible for paying the entire cost share.

Question 36: 1. We are interested in applying to install solar panels to generate electricity for our Heritage/Visitor Center. We would like to purchase and install batteries to store enough power to get us through the night (at least during the tourist season); however, your guidelines don't seem to allow battery storage systems under Topic Area 1. Energy Generating System(s) and/or Energy Efficiency Measure(s). Am I correct in that assessment? 2. Also, the Heritage Center is an economic driver in our community and it houses many of our tribe's most valuable cultural treasures, and so we consider it an "essential community facility" but it doesn't seem to match the descriptions you have listed in the grant guidelines for essential community facilities. Can you clarify what is essential? 3. In addition, we are only planning on serving two community facilities in our current proposal as a pilot project and, if the project proves successful, would pursue funding for installing solar panels in all the other tribally owned buildings. Would the 2 buildings be considered a "substantial" number of buildings since we are a very small community in Alaska?
Answer 36:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

1.  You are correct in that battery storage is not allowable under Topic Area 1 (Energy Generating System(s) and/or Energy Efficiency Measure(s)). As stated on page 13 and again on page 17 of the Funding opportunity Announcement (FOA) document, “[a]pplications proposing energy storage will only be considered under Topic Area 3. If an application proposes energy storage under Topic Area 1 or Topic Area 2, the application will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered.” However, battery storage is allowable under Topic Area 3 (Energy System(s) for Autonomous (Independent) Operation).

 

2.  Page 19 of the FOA states, ““Essential tribal facilities” for purposes for this FOA, are those facilities necessary for providing essential services, where “essential services” for purposes of this FOA means services, that if interrupted, would endanger the life, health or personal safety of the whole or part of the tribal community. Such essential services include, but are not limited to, emergency facilities or shelters, hospitals or medical services, fire services, police services, water/wastewater, sewage, communications, electricity, natural gas, telecommunications (including telephone, radio or television broadcasting, internet connectivity, and broadband speeds), and transportation.”


Specifically regarding the Heritage Center, if the facility could be used an emergency shelter in the event of an emergency and is considered as an "essential community facility" by the Tribe, DOE would consider the facility an “essential tribal facility” for purposes of this FOA. [Emphasis added] However, rationale as to why the Tribe considers the facility as “essential” will need to be addressed in the application, if you choose to submit one.

 

3.  Applications under Topic Area 3.b. Tribal Community Resilience, as stated on page 21 of the FOA document, must “[a]ffect a substantial number of essential tribal facilities (no less than three (3) facilities) within a tribal community.” Therefore, “two community facilities” would not be considered as substantial for purposes of this FOA. However, as stated on page 20, Topic Area 3.a. (Powering Essential Tribal Facilities) is intended for the installation of “energy system(s) for autonomous operation (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid) to power a single or multiple essential tribal facilities during emergency situations”. [Emphasis added]

Question 37: Regarding the upcoming DOE-IE FOA due May 1, can the DOE-required cost share be covered by an applicant making a commitment to apply for a loan or other funding that is available but not yet secured? In this case in particular, there is a non-federal funding source that is only available to a few communities and their receiving this funding for cost share is essentially guaranteed, but they do not yet have paperwork in hand confirming this, and will not by May 1. Can this be counted toward the cost share for the purposes of DOE application, with secondary commitment that if they don’t have the cost share in hand by the time of any DOE award agreement, they will take out a loan?
Answer 37:

Page 3 of the FOA states “Every cost share contribution must be allowable under the applicable federal cost principles, as described in Section IV.I.1 of the FOA. In addition, cost share must be verifiable upon submission of the application.” [Emphasis added] Therefore, cost share must be secured (“in hand”) at the time an applications submitted, not “by the time of any DOE award agreement”.

 

However, if “receiving this funding for cost share is essentially guaranteed”, then a letter from the source of those funds, in combination with a Tribal Council Resolution if the applicant is an Indian Tribes, or a declaration (or resolution) if the applicant is an Alaska Native Regional Corporation, Alaska Native Village Corporation, Intertribal Organization, or Tribal Energy Development Organization, committing those funds, would be consider sufficient evidence of cost share commitment.

 

Please also see the response to Question #35 above, regarding loans.

Question 38: I am hoping to clarify a few points regarding the engineering design requirement. We do not have engineering designs completed. We have many quotes, and the design fee is part of the cost included within the quotes. We would need to issue a contract to get the engineering design. Prior to issuing a contract, we would like to see if we could secure grant funds to help offset the project costs. Can you please advise on whether if all other components are met we could still potentially be competitive applicants?
Answer 38:

As selecting applications for negotiation of an award is a competitive process, DOE will not advise potential applicants on whether their proposed project would be competitive, or not. And, as stated under Section III.F., “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

As specifically stated in the second bullet under Section I.C., (Applications Specifically Not of Interest), “[a]pplications proposing studies or development (pre-construction) activities or any other activity which does not result in the installation of equipment to generation of electricity and/or heating or cooling, or a reduction in energy use”, such as engineering design, are not of interest and will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered.

 

Further, the Technical Viability section of the Technical Volume (Section IV.C. or page 43 of the FOA document), should “[d]escribe the design and hardware specifications associated with that hardware. Performance specifications and warranties, engineering drawings, and any other supplemental data should be included as an attachment under the Design and Engineering File.”

 

Be aware that Criterion 3, Project Description and Outcomes, accounts for 45% of the overall technical rating, with technical viability accounting for one fourth of that 45%.

Question 39: Does the lead applicant need to have any percent effort dedicated to a project? Is 0% an acceptable answer to the Lead Organization Percent Effort (1-100) question on the general application page?
Answer 39:

The “Lead Organization Percent Effort (1-100)” question on the General tab in EERE Exchange is required to be an integer between 1 and 100. So, for purposes of completing the general application page in EERE Exchange, the percentage must be at least 1.

 

The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) does not prescribe a specific percentage of work that must, as a minimum, be performed by the Applicant. However, if the application is selected for negotiation of an award, it will be the Applicant who is responsible for many aspects of the award.  More specifically, the individuals designated as the Applicant’s Business Point of Contact and the Technical Point of Contact in EERE Exchange will be the individuals DOE will correspond with regarding the application. Additionally, if the application is selected for and receives an award, the Applicant will, as a minimum, ultimately be responsible for the cost share, negotiating with DOE regarding the scope and budget for an award, complying with the Terms and Conditions of an award, including quarterly and final reporting, presenting at the annual Program Review, requesting reimbursement, complying with any required annual audit requirements, and being the point of contact for DOE regarding the financial assistance agreement.

Question 40: Slide 31 of the Funding Opportunity announcement (FOA) webinar presentation defines “Intertribal Organizations” as follows: ““Intertribal Organization,” as defined for purposes of this FOA, means any organization comprised of two or more Indian Tribes, established under Congressional, State, or Tribal law to act on behalf of the participating Indian Tribes. “Intertribal Organizations” may include, but are not limited to, intertribal councils, regional tribal organizations or associations, Alaska regional development organizations, and tribal federations. “ Would Alaska regional Native housing authorities (public corporations authorized by state statute, with tribally appointed boards and receiving federal Indian housing funds on behalf of multiple tribes) be eligible as Intertribal Organizations?
Answer 40:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

Per Section III.A. (beginning on page 24) of the FOA, states that “[i]n accordance with EPAct 2005 authorities and consistent with 2 CFR 910.126(b), eligibility for award under this FOA is restricted to: (1) an Indian Tribe; (2) Intertribal Organization; or (3) Tribal Energy Development Organization; and (4) on whose Tribal Lands the project(s) will be located. As your question recognizes:

 

Intertribal Organization,” as defined for purposes of this FOA, means any organization comprised of two or more Indian Tribes, established under Congressional, State, or Tribal law to act on behalf of the participating Indian Tribes. “Intertribal Organizations” may include, but are not limited to, intertribal councils, regional tribal organizations or associations, Alaska regional development organizations, and tribal federations.”

 

Based on the limited information provided, regional housing authorities authorized under state law (Section 996 under Chapter 55 of Title 18 of Alaska statute) may or may not meet the FOA requirements for an Intertribal Organization. Alaska statute establishes specific requirements for a regional native housing authority, and it will be the applicant’s responsibility to provide information and evidence or supporting documentation to establish it has met the requirements established under this FOA which is that the organization is comprised of two or more Indian Tribes and that the organization is established under Congressional, State, or Tribal law to act on behalf of the participating Indian Tribes. [Emphasis added] Specifically, see the Eligibility Statements and Evidence required as part of the application.

Question 41: The FOA states: "An executed Tribal Council Resolution from each participating Indian Tribe, a declaration (or resolution) from each Alaska Native Regional Corporation, Alaska Native Village Corporation, Intertribal Organization, and Tribal Energy Development Organization, and a letter of commitment from all other project participants are required as a part of the application…" and "An executed Tribal Council Resolution from each participating Indian Tribe, a declaration (or resolution) from each Alaska Native Regional Corporation, Alaska Native Village Corporation, Intertribal Organization, and Tribal Energy Development Organization, and a letter of commitment from all other project participants are required as a part of the application…" and "Statements of Commitment by Applicants must: 1) Authorize the submittal of the application; 2) Commit to the proposed project; 3) Identify the amount and source of cost share; and 4) Include a statement of commitment for the requisite cost share (see more on cost sharing below)." The project, that is the subject of the following questions, would be to benefit a Tribe of Native Alaskans. 1) May the Alaska Native Village Corporation submit the application for this FOA as the primary applicant? Since this Village Corporation will be contributing cost share, I understand that a declaration or resolution from the Village Corporation, containing the 4 items quoted above, would be required. 2) If the Federally Recognized Tribe which is associated with this Alaska Native Village Corporation is not providing any cost share, is the Tribe still required to provide a Tribal Council Resolution authorizing the Village Corporation to submit the application? 3) If the Alaska Native Regional Corporation which is associated with this Alaska Native Village Corporation is not providing any cost share or participating in this project, is the Regional Corporation required to provide a declaration or resolution authorizing the Village Corporation to submit the application? 4) Are the answers to Questions 1 through 3 dependent on which Topic Area is selected for the project, or do they not depend on the Topic Area selected?
Answer 41:

1.  As stated under Section I.A., Description/Background, on page 8 and throughout the FOA document, “DOE intends to provide financial support under the provisions of the Title V of EPAct 2005. Specifically, DOE’s Office of Indian Energy is soliciting applications from Indian Tribes, which include Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Village Corporations (hereafter referred collectively as “Indian Tribes”), Intertribal Organizations, and Tribal Energy Development Organizations……” [Emphasis added]

 

As stated on page 8 and the definition of Indian tribe under Section III.A., Eligible Applicants, beginning on page 24, Alaska Native Village Corporations are, in and of themselves, an eligible applicant and would be required to submit an executed declaration (or resolution) specific to this FOA and include a statement of the level and type of cost share being committed which must include the 4 items quoted above.

 

2.  As stated on page 9 of Section 1.A. Description/Background, “[a]n executed Tribal Council Resolutionfrom each participating Indian Tribe, a declaration (or resolution) from each Alaska Native Regional Corporation, Alaska Native Village Corporation, Intertribal Organization, and Tribal Energy Development Organization, and a letter of commitment from all other project participants are required as a part of the application…..”. [Emphasis added]

 

Therefore, if the Federally Recognized Tribe is participating in the proposed project, regardless of whether they are providing cost share, an executed Tribal Council Resolution specific to this FOA is required as part of the application. Additionally, a letter of commitment from all other project participants, regardless of whether they are providing cost share, are required as a part of the application.

 

If cost share is being a committed by any participating entity, then those statements of commitment, whether in the form of an Tribal Council Resolution, declaration (or resolution), or a letter of commitment, must include a statement of the level and type of cost share being committed. Specifically, as stated on page 52, “[t]he Statements of Commitment by any entity contributing cost share must include statements of cost share commitment. Statements of cost share commitment should include a detailed estimate of the cash value (basis of and the nature of) of all contributions to the project by project participants.”

 

3.  As stated on page 9 of Section 1.A. Description/Background, “[a]n executed Tribal Council Resolution from each participating Indian Tribe, a declaration (or resolution) from each Alaska Native Regional Corporation, Alaska Native Village Corporation, Intertribal Organization, and Tribal Energy Development Organization, and a letter of commitment from all other project participants are required as a part of the application…..”. [Emphasis added]

 

Therefore, if the Alaska Native Regional Corporation is participating in the proposed project, regardless of whether they are providing cost share, a declaration (or resolution) specific to this FOA is required as part of the application.

 

4.  The answers to Questions 1 through 3 above apply to all applications submitted under this FOA, regardless of the Topic Area that application is being submitted under.

Question 42: We are currently working with an Alaska Native village corporation on an application for DE-FOA-0002032. I’ve recently learned that there may be new, additional requirements to forming a Tribal Energy Resource Development Organization. Is it the case that the TERDO must be approved by the Assistant Secretary 30 days prior to the due date of the application?
Answer 42:

As stated in question #15 of the EERE Exchange FOA Q&As:

 

Please also be aware that the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act of 2017, enacted December 18, 2018, changed Tribal Energy Resource Development Organization (TERDO) to Tribal Energy Development Organization (TEDO) and provided the revised the definition as included in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) under Section III.A. (page 26) as follows:

 

““Tribal Energy Development Organization,” for purposes of this FOA, means:

 

a.  any enterprise, partnership, consortium, corporation, or other type of business organization that is engaged in the development of energy resources and is wholly owned by an Indian tribe (including an organization incorporated pursuant to section 17 of the Act of June 18, 1934 (25 U.S.C. 5124) (commonly known as the ‘‘Indian Reorganization Act’’) or section 3 of the Act of June 26, 1936 (49 Stat. 1967, chapter 831) (commonly known as the ‘Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act’)); and

 

b.  any “organization” of two or more entities, at least one of which is an Indian tribe, that has the written consent of the governing bodies of all Indian tribes participating in the organization to apply for a grant, loan, or other assistance under 2602 of EPAct (25 U.S.C. 3502) or to enter into a lease or business agreement with, or acquire a right-of-way from, an Indian tribe pursuant to subsection (a)(2)(A)(ii) or (b)(2)(B) of 2604 of EPAct (25 U.S.C. 3504), where “organization” means a partnership, joint venture, Limited Liability Company (LLC) or other unincorporated association or entity that is established to develop Indian energy resources.”

 

It will be the applicant’s responsibility to provide information and evidence or supporting documentation to establish it has met the requirements for a TEDO as defined above and in the FOA. Specifically, see the Eligibility Statements and Evidence required as part of the application. This particular FOA does not impose requirements for prior Department of interior Assistant Secretary approval for the determination of a TEDO, and is unaware of the timeframes for DOI’s processes. DOE will make eligibility determinations relative to this FOA solely based on information provided as part of the application.

Question 43: Our company is considering a partnership with a tribal entity to provide electric vehicle charging station infrastructure, required electric grid upgrades, and subsidized shared mobility services (electric vehicle car shares for residents to travel both inside and outside of tribal lands). For this project, would our tribal partner be required to submit the application, or can we submit the application on their behalf?
Answer 43:

Per Section III.A. (Eligible Applicants), “Only the following types of Applicants are eligible to apply to this FOA. All Applicants will be required to provide eligibility statements and evidence (see Section IV.C.9.) to support DOE’s eligibility determination. DOE will not make sufficiency determinations prior to an application being submitted. Applicants that do not meet the requirements of this subsection will be deemed ineligible and their applications will not be reviewed or considered. In accordance with EPAct 2005 authorities and consistent with 2 CFR 910.126(b), eligibility for award under this FOA is restricted to: (1) an Indian Tribe; (2) Intertribal Organization; or (3) Tribal Energy Development Organization; and (4) on whose Tribal Lands the project(s) will be located.”

 

Only applications received from eligible applicants will be considered, except as provided for in the FOA as follows. As stated on page 9 of the FOA document, “[a]pplications may also be submitted on behalf of Indian Tribe(s) by an authorized Tribal Organization, provided evidence of that authority is included as part of the application (see Section III.A. for eligibility information and Appendix A for the definitions).”

 

Please ensure that your proposed project actually meets the requirements of the FOA as specified under Section I.B. (Topic Areas/Technical Areas of Interest). Specifically that the proposed project is to:

 

  1. “Install energy generating system(s) and/or energy efficiency measure(s) for Tribal Building(s) (Topic Area 1); or,

  2. Deploy community-scale energy generating system(s) on Tribal Lands (Topic Area 2); or,

  3. Install energy system(s) for autonomous operation (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid) to power a single or multiple essential tribal facilities during emergency situations or for tribal community resilience (Topic Area 3).”  [Emphasis added]

     

    Regarding your statement “to provide electric vehicle charging station infrastructure, required electric grid upgrades, and subsidized shared mobility services (electric vehicle car shares for residents to travel both inside and outside of tribal lands),” please be sure to review Section I.B., Topic Area/Technical Areas of Interest (beginning on page 11), to decide whether your proposed project(s) are applicable to this FOA and result in energy regeneration, energy efficiency measures or powering of essential tribal buildings.

Question 44: 1) A particular energy company is a Tribal Energy Development Organization (TEDO); a 50/50 joint venture between an Alaska Native Village Corporation, and the local investor-owned utility. Each entity owns half of the shares. Would this particular energy company qualify as an eligible applicant? Please clarify why or why not. 2) We understand that “Indian Land” includes “lands held under a long-term land lease (as a minimum, for the useful life of the proposed project) by an Indian Tribe, Tribal Energy Development Organization, or other eligible Applicant.” Please confirm that any leases owned by the energy company with terms which coincide with the useful life of the project would qualify as “Indian Land,” even if the land the TEDO is leasing is owned by a third-party which is not an “eligible Applicant.” Please clarify why or why not. 3) The energy company is considering applying for funds – likely under Topic Area 2 or 3 – for a hydropower project that is currently under construction. The original cost estimate and budget for constructing the project were developed some years ago, and even though construction is in progress, additional funds would be very helpful to ensure the project can be completed on time and on budget. We wanted to ensure a hydropower project already under construction would not be deemed nonresponsive and ineligible for review as an “Application Specifically Not of Interest” due to some construction phase activities already have taken place. Please clarify why that would or would not be the case. 4) When considering economic viability, does the US DOE consider a project “economically viable” if the project’s total lifecycle cost-savings are lower than a “business-as-usual” or “do nothing” scenario? Or, does the US DOE require that the project immediately produce cost-savings versus the BAU scenario in year 1 for a project to be considered “viable” ? 5) Related to “economic viability” review, how would the US DOE treat an application for a project which produces energy at a cost slightly-higher than the BAU scenario in initial years, but will produce significant cost-savings over the full lifecycle of the project? 6) Would State regulatory authority approval of a project – which includes economic viability review and analysis - satisfy the requirement that a project be “economically viable”? Can evidence of this approval be submitted in place of an “economic analysis” ? 7) Assume a scenario in which a project substitutes renewable energy for diesel-based generation, producing a benefit stream whereby carbon emissions are reduced. Would the US DOE be willing to consider the monetized cost of carbon (social cost of carbon) within the project’s benefit stream for purposes of determining economic viability? It is our understanding that some federal agencies have at times been required to monetize the value of carbon emissions when making decisions. Is this program or the US DOE Office of Indian Energy subject to such requirements? Please clarify why social cost of carbon benefits would or would not be included in benefit-stream analysis for purposes of determining “economic viability.”
Answer 44:

NOTE:  Please be aware that if the project being considered in this series of questions has previously received funding, in whole or in part, from DOE, it would be considered a renewal application and would not be eligible under this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). See Section II.A.3 on page 24 of the FOA that states, “DOE will accept only new applications under this FOA. DOE will not consider applications for renewals or continuations of existing DOE funded awards through this FOA.”

Additionally, as stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the FOA, “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, assuming that the project being described is not a renewal, and thereby ineligible, we offer the following:

 

1.  The described energy company would be considered a TEDO if it meets the definition as published in the FOA and included below. It will be the applicant’s responsibility to provide information and evidence or supporting documentation to establish it has met the requirements for a TEDO as specified in the FOA. Specifically, see the Eligibility Statements and Evidence required as part of the application.

 

Tribal Energy Development Organization,” for purposes of this FOA, means:

 

  1. any enterprise, partnership, consortium, corporation, or other type of business organization that is engaged in the development of energy resources and is wholly owned by an Indian tribe (including an organization incorporated pursuant to section 17 of the Act of June 18, 1934 (25 U.S.C. 5124) (commonly known as the ‘‘Indian Reorganization Act’’) or section 3 of the Act of June 26, 1936 (49 Stat. 1967, chapter 831) (commonly known as the ‘Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act’)); and

     

  2. any “organization” of two or more entities, at least one of which is an Indian tribe, that has the written consent of the governing bodies of all Indian tribes participating in the organization to apply for a grant, loan, or other assistance under 2602 of EPAct (25 U.S.C. 3502) or to enter into a lease or business agreement with, or acquire a right-of-way from, an Indian tribe pursuant to subsection (a)(2)(A)(ii) or (b)(2)(B) of 2604 of EPAct (25 U.S.C. 3504), where “organization” means a partnership, joint venture, Limited Liability Company (LLC) or other unincorporated association or entity that is established to develop Indian energy resources.

     

    2.  If the described energy company meets the definition of a TEDO, then land held under a long-term land lease (as a minimum, for the useful life of the proposed project) would be defined as Tribal Lands for purposes of this FOA, even though the land being leased may be owned by a third-party which is not an “eligible Applicant”. See Section III.A. of the FOA (beginning on page 24) for definitions of Tribal Lands and Indian land.

     

    3.  As stated under Section I.C., Applications Specifically Not of Interest, an application proposing a hydropower project which is already under construction would be deemed nonresponsive and would not be reviewed or considered, as irreversible actions were taken regarding the proposed DOE funded project.

     

    4.  As stated under the Content and Form of the Application (Section IV.C.4.) of the FOA, “[t]he Applicant should demonstrate the economic viability of the proposed project by providing an economic analysis and address the financial sustainability of the proposed project.” DOE will evaluate the information provided in the application against the criteria and sub-criteria published in the FOA (Section V.A.) which, for economic viability, includes the “Quality of the economic  assessment; Reasonableness of the payback period; and Financial sustainability of the proposed project (see page 64).

     

    5.  See the response to question #4 above.

     

    6.  See the response to question #4 above. An Economics file is a required component of an application, and only information included in an application will be considered. In and of itself, State regulatory authority approval of a project would not satisfy the FOA requirement for “economic viability” unless it meets the criteria and sub-criteria published in the FOA (Section V.A.); it would not be considered a substitute for an economic analysis.

     

    7.  DOE will not evaluate a hypothetical situation as part of the questions and answers associated with this FOA. However, relative to monetizing green attributes, the FOA explicitly states under Section III.B.3 (Cost Shares Types and Allowability) that “Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) or other green attribute monetization fund” may not be used to meet cost share obligations.

     

Question 45: I just have a quick question about the lifespan of equipment purchased under the DOE Deployment Grant. How long does equipment need to be used for, per requirements of the grant? Is this dependent upon the warranty, or is there just a set number of years? Can you point to any guidelines on this process?
Answer 45:

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) does not impose a specific “lifespan” or “useful life” for equipment purchased under a resulting grant.  With respect to “the useful life of the proposed project,” for purposes of a long-term land lease, as specified under Section III.A. (Eligible Applicants) on page 26, the useful life of the proposed equipment will be unique to the specific technology being proposed. If this is what you are inquiring about, the equipment supplier should be able to provide specific information on that technology.   

 

For grant requirements specific to equipment, see the Executive Summary of the FOA (page 4) and 2 CFR 200.313which addresses equipment title, use, management requirements, and disposition.

 

If the information above does not fully address your questions, please submit another question.

Question 46: Can we use grant funds to put solar panels on top of (1) an existing parking structure and (2) a to-be-built parking structure (within the next two years), both of which serve the tribe’s casino?
Answer 46:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

While the information provided in your question is limited, parking structures would generally be acceptable for the installation of solar panels, provided:

  • The other requirements of the FOA are met.
  • The parking structures where the solar panels are planned to be installed are on “Tribal Lands” as defined in the FOA.
  • As stated on page 12 of the FOA, “only the incremental costs associated with the installation of energy generating system(s) or energy efficiency measure(s) will be considered allocable to the proposed DOE funded project.”
  • As also stated on page 12 of the FOA, all proposed installations must be for ““Tribally-owned or controlled building(s)” that are currently being constructed or planned to be constructed during the proposed grant period.” [Emphasis added]
Question 47: I am writing to ask if we are eligible to submit an application under FOA# DE-FOA-0002032 as we currently have a project open under a DOE Office of Indian Energy First Steps grant? We are hoping to apply to implement the results of our Energy Audit, only applying for Topic Area 1.b on implementing energy efficiency measures on several Tribally-owned buildings.
Answer 47:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 32) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following:

 

A current or past agreement with the Office of Indian Energy does not preclude a potential applicant from applying to this FOA; however, as stated in Section II.A.3. New Applications Only (page 24 of the FOA document), “DOE will accept only new applications under this FOA. DOE will not consider applications for renewals or continuations of existing DOE funded awards through this FOA.” Generally, an application to implement energy efficiency measures, resulting from energy audits under a previous planning type grant, would be considered a new application for energy infrastructure deployment under this FOA and not a continuation of the existing planning grant.