Frequently Asked Questions

Select a FOA to view questions and answers for the specific funding opportunity. Alternatively select "Non-FOA related items" to view system FAQ items.

Question 1: We are considering submitting applications for more than one topic under funding announcement DE-FOA-0000816. I'm wondering if your agency would rather receive multiple proposals separated by topic (i.e., Topic 1 - Fish Behavior & Mortality, Topic 2 - Environmental Assessment, etc.), or if it is acceptable to submit one proposal covering multiple topics with the budgets and schedules combined?
Answer 1:

To be considered for multiple awards, multiple applications must be submitted.  Each application should be a discrete proposal for one award.

Question 2: Under Topic Area 1, is testing in a flume or mesocosm setting acceptable? If so, what does "access to a deployed device" mean in this context?
Answer 2:

For Topic Area 1, testing in a flume or mesocosm setting is acceptable.  For this Topic Area, the applicant must demonstrate that they have access to a hydrokinetic turbine, for testing in either field, flume, or mesocosm setting.  Please note: for Topic Area 2, marine and hydrokinetic devices around which monitoring is occurring must be deployed in the field.

Question 3: Is the focus of Topic 1 on near field (less than a few meters from the turbine) high resolution, animal-blade interactions only or does it include mid and far field monitoring distances as well? The equipment needs are quite different for very near field high resolution monitoring (video; Didson sonar) vs the lower resolution larger scale monitoring (mobile and stationary hydroacoustics), so I want to make sure I have a proper understanding of the Topic focus.
Answer 3:

The primary objective of Topic Area 1 is to support controlled studies to quantify fish behavior around MHK devices in either a field, a mesocosm, or flume setting.  To fully capture the extent of fish avoidance and evasion behaviors, optimally, such data would be collected in both the near and far field.  We recognize that limitations including setting (e.g. flume)  and instrumentation may make obtaining data at both these scales challenging; therefore, proposals attempting quantify behavior at either scale will be considered but preference will be given to those quantifying near-field behaviors.    

Question 4: We are currently funded for a fish monitoring and behavioral modeling project at an existing turbine. Under this new FOA, we plan to submit a proposal that expands the existing work to include additional turbines that are planning to be deployed by 2015. This would include baseline monitoring and post deployment monitoring and would involve lower resolution-large scale hydroacoustic monitoring. Therefore, although this work would inform blade strike the monitoring resolution is not appropriate for fine scale fish-blade interactions. Would this new proposed work fall under Topic area 1 or 2, or would the field monitoring portion fall under topic 1 and the behavior modeling under Topic 2?
Answer 4:

Monitoring around tidal turbines as described would fall under Topic Area 2.  The primary objective of Topic Area 2 is the collection of environmental monitoring data from deployed devices, whereas, Topic Area 1 seeks to support controlled studies to quantify fish behavior.   

Question 5: Assuming the new proposal described in Question #4 above falls under Topic 2, the FOA says applicants may apply for multiple awards under a Topic by submitting multiple and discrete applications. Collecting baseline data and then monitoring a turbine array would be costly. Therefore is it possible to submit two separate proposals under topic 2, one for the mobile hydroacoustic fish monitoring and one for model development that together would total more than 400k?
Answer 5:

Since the primary objective of Topic Area 2 is the collection of environmental monitoring data from deployed devices, an application that proposes solely to develop or enhance a model based on the data would not directly meet the primary Topic Area objective.  Each proposal will be evaluated on its own merit and therefore, should meet the objectives of the specific Topic Area on its own.   

Question 6: Is there a TRL level anticipated for said deployed device (i.e., could scaled devices qualify)?
Answer 6:

There is no required minimum Technology Readiness Level for deployed devices under this solicitation; however, if the scale of the proposed MHK device has an influence on the environmental effects of the device, this will affect the project review, since it will affect the relevance and applicability of the research.  For example, a 1/32-scale tidal device is unlikely to generate the same amount of sound, pose a commensurate risk for strike, and or cause the same amount of reefing/aggregation as a full-scale counterpart.  Applicants seeking awards for lower-TRL and smaller-scale devices should make a strong case for the applicability of the environmental research to a future commercial deployment of this and other devices.   

Question 7: Is there a reasonable definition of “deployed” that can be shared (i.e., for a set time frame/length of the award?)?
Answer 7:

For Topic Area 1, a deployed device will be considered to be a hydrokinetic turbine studied in a field, mesocosm, or flume setting.  For Topic Area 2, the device must be operating in a field setting. The FOA places no restrictions of the length of deployment.  The duration of deployment should be sufficient to answer the environmental question posed by the applicant. 

Question 8: Is there an expected timeframe for the deployment to be met?
Answer 8:

For Topic Area 2, applicants must provide proof that proposed tasks are planned for MHK projects that are already deployed or that have a credible plan to deploy within the first year of the project (by the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2014). 

 

The FOA places no restrictions of the length of deployment.  The duration of deployment should be sufficient to answer the environmental question posed by the applicant. 

Question 9: For devices to be deployed in state waters, is it a correct assumption that an applicant would have already demonstrated engagement with state officials on the permitting process at the time of the application to meet the requirement to demonstrate access to a deployed device?
Answer 9:

For Topic Area 2, applicants must provide proof that proposed tasks are planned for MHK projects that are already deployed or that have a credible plan to deploy within the first year of the project (by the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2014).  For applications based on projects not yet deployed, we encourage applicants to include a timeframe for permitting and deployment.  The length of that timeframe will depend on the nature of the project and the subsequent permitting pathway the project is taking.  Applicants may find the Siting Methodologies for Hydrokinetics Handbook a useful reference: http://www.oceanrenewableenergy.com/content/regulatory-handbook-pdf

Question 10: For devices to be deployed in the Outer Continental Shelf, is it correct that an applicant would already have to have initiated the BOEM permit application process, to meet the requirement to demonstrate access to a deployed device?
Answer 10:

For Topic Area 2, applicants must provide proof that proposed tasks are planned for MHK projects that are already deployed or that have a credible plan to deploy within the first year of the project (by the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2014).  For applications based on projects not yet deployed, we encourage applicants to include a timeframe for permitting and deployment.  The length of that timeframe will depend on the nature of the project and the subsequent permitting pathway the project is taking.  Applicants may find the Siting Methodologies for Hydrokinetics Handbook a useful reference: http://www.oceanrenewableenergy.com/content/regulatory-handbook-pdf

Question 11: For Topic Area 2, is it possible to write a proposal that addresses both Level 1 and Level 2 topics? (The specific issue of interest is the measurement of EMF around devices [level 1] and the behavioral responses of animals to EMF in the field [level 2])
Answer 11:

It is anticipated that successful applications under Topic Area 2, Level 2 will address both measurement of the stressor (e.g. EMF fields around devices and cables) and organismal response to that stressor.   The FOA states that Level 2 funding “will be for studies that not only characterize the baseline and stressor information, but also look at the response of the receptor.”  Since assessing the stressor is an inherent part of Level 2 projects, no additional funds will be awarded to projects Level 2 projects for stressor characterization. 

Question 12: Does the device have to be planned for deployment in U.S. domestic waters?
Answer 12:

As stated on Page 14, Section I of the FOA, EERE requires all work under EERE funding agreements to be performed in the United States – i.e., prime recipients must expend 100% of the total project cost in the United States.

 

Applicants and prime recipients may request a waiver of this requirement.  Applicants must include a written waiver request in the Full Application. Prime recipients must submit any waiver requests in writing to the assigned DOE Contracting Officer.  The DOE Contracting Officer has discretion to waive this requirement if he/she determines that it will further the purposes of this FOA and is otherwise in the interests of EERE.  See Section IV.D.10 of the FOA for waiver request information.

Question 13: Would deployment at a non-US site qualify if the country has a technology cooperation agreement with the US and DOE in particular?
Answer 13:

As stated on Page 14, Section I of the FOA, EERE requires all work under EERE funding agreements to be performed in the United States – i.e., prime recipients must expend 100% of the total project cost in the United States.

 

Applicants and prime recipients may request a waiver of this requirement. Applicants must include a written waiver request in the Full Application.  Prime recipients must submit any waiver requests in writing to the assigned DOE Contracting Officer.  The DOE Contracting Officer has discretion to waive this requirement if he/she determines that it will further the purposes of this FOA and is otherwise in the interests of EERE.  See Section IV.D.10 of the FOA for waiver request information.

Question 14: Does DOE have a list of known devices and a timeline for their deployment that applicants can use to explore potential partnerships for this or future FOAs that might require access to deployed devices?
Answer 14:

DOE is not planning to publish a list of devices and timeline for deployment to avoid the appearance of endorsing certain projects or the risk of providing incomplete information to applicants.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission publishes a list of hydrokinetic projects engaged in their regulatory process on their website.  http://www.ferc.gov/industries/hydropower/gen-info/licensing/hydrokinetics.asp

While this list does not include those MHK projects that are not seeking FERC licensure, at minimum this will provide a base resource for applicants.     

Question 15: Are projects that utilize a deployed device in international (non-US) waters eligible for funding under this opportunity?
Answer 15:

Please see answer to question #14 above.

Question 16: Are projects that utilize a device owned by an international (non-US) company eligible for funding under this opportunity?
Answer 16:

Foreign entities, whether for-profit or otherwise, are eligible to apply for funding under this FOA; however, the prime recipient must be incorporated in the U.S. or alternatively must seek a waiver from DOE to apply as the prime recipient. 

 

As stated on Page 15, Section 3, all prime recipients receiving funding under this FOA must be incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a State or territory of the United States. If a foreign entity applies for funding as a prime recipient, it must designate in the Full Application a subsidiary or affiliate incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a State or territory of the United States to be the prime recipient.  The Full Application must state the nature of the corporate relationship between the foreign entity and domestic subsidiary or affiliate.

 

Foreign entities may request a waiver of this requirement in the Full Application. See Section IV.D.10 for waiver request information.  The DOE Contracting Officer has discretion to waive this requirement if he/she determines that it will further the purposes of this FOA and is otherwise in the interests of EERE. 

 

A foreign entity may receive funding as a subrecipient.

Question 17: Question regarding the requirements we found appropriate apply to the Topic 2: Environmental Monitoring of MHK Projects - Although we have a potential partner from U.S. we would like to know if all work need to be related with devices installed in U.S. or could we work with devices installed in Europe?
Answer 17:

As stated on Page 14, Section I of the FOA,   EERE requires all work under EERE funding agreements to be performed in the United States – i.e., prime recipients must expend 100% of the total project cost in the United States.

 

Applicants and prime recipients may request a waiver of this requirement.  Applicants must include a written waiver request in the Full Application.  Prime recipients must submit any waiver requests in writing to the assigned DOE Contracting Officer.  The DOE Contracting Officer has discretion to waive this requirement if he/she determines that it will further the purposes of this FOA and is otherwise in the interests of EERE. See Section IV.D.10 of the FOA for waiver request information.

Question 18: The FOA says each individual application should address a distinct monitoring issue. However, it also says that DOE may adjust the number of awards and funding levels. Would DOE accept a single proposal that integrates monitoring of behavioral response of animals to both operational noise (priority 1) AND presence of WECs (priority 3) which costs greater than $400k in total?
Answer 18:

As stated in the FOA, each individual application should address a distinct monitoring issue.  This allows for a more uniform comparison of applications.  However, should two related projects be awarded that could utilize some of the same resources, we would consider tailoring the projects to take advantage of these options in the contract negotiation period. 

Question 19: Will the Letters of Intent be made publicly available prior to the application due date?
Answer 19: No, the Letters of Intent are meant for internal DOE purposes only and will not be made public
Question 20: The same methods can be used to answer different questions under Topic Areas 1 and 2. Can the same methods show up in two different proposals (asking somewhat different questions) under the two different tracks?
Answer 20:

Proposals submitted under Topic Area 1 and Topic Area 2 should be distinct; however, there may be some similarity in methodologies used between the two topic areas.   

Question 21: Please define "near field" in linear units (cm or meters) from device blades.
Answer 21:

We are hesitant to define near-field strictly because this space varies by both the type of stressor and the device size and other properties.  However, for observing fish interactions with turbine blades, we consider near-field to be roughly within a few meters of a turbine. 

Question 22: Do University's need to have 20% cost share? If there is a National Lab or other federal government lab involved in the proposal as a subrecipient to the University how is the cost share applied?
Answer 22:

All projects for Topic Areas 1 and 2 must demonstrate 20% cost share for the entire project cost, which include all subs (including Labs and FFRDCs).  This cost-share can come from any project partner and does not have to be distributed evenly among project partners, but is a requirement of each application regardless of the entities applying.  

Question 23: Will responses be given to the letters of intent? What if the letter of intent is submitted under the wrong topic area? In this case, will guidance will be given?
Answer 23:

As a general rule, we will not respond to letters of intent.  If there are questions regarding the appropriateness of a research question to a given topic area, please submit formally through the EERE Exchange system (EERE-ExchangeSupport@hq.doe.gov). 

Question 24: Please provide further guidance on submitting a Letter of Intent.
Answer 24:

Please go into the EERE Exchange system to complete your letter of intent by clicking the Apply button, filling in the details form and clicking the Create Letter of Intent button.

Question 25: Will DOE only send money to the prime contractor or are there circumstances under which money could also be sent directly to a collaborator (i.e., subcontractor) thereby saving some organizational overhead charges for subcontracting?
Answer 25:

All funding is made to the awardee/prime recipient, which is responsible for making payments to subrecipients/subcontractors and vendors per the approved award budget and the applicable cost principles.  The exception is Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs).  For FFRDCs, funding is sent directly by DOE to the FFRDC in the case that the FFRDC is a sub-awardee to a project.  If an FFRDC is a prime recipient, they are still responsible for making payment to all sub-awardees.        

      

Question 26: Is a “Documentation of Device Access” required if the device is in a public location (open water) and monitoring will take place by a boat, with no need to have divers in the water to monitor?
Answer 26:

Yes, documentation of access to a device is still required under this scenario.  We want to ensure that the MHK project developer has approved any research proposed to be conducted at their device.  

Question 27: If doing work outside of the U.S., what is the process for obtaining a Foreign Work Waiver?
Answer 27: To seek a waiver, the Applicant must submit a waiver request in the Full Application, which includes the following information: entity name, country (or state) of incorporation, description of the work to be performed by that entity, and the location where the work will be performed. If the applicant is seeking a waiver to have a foreign entity serve as the prime recipient, the applicant must explain why it is necessary to have a foreign entity serve as the prime recipient. If the applicant is seeking a waiver of the “Performance of Work in the United States” requirement, the applicant must explain why it is necessary to have the work performed outside of the United States. All waiver requests should explain how the waiver would further the purposes of this FOA and otherwise serve the interests of EERE. The Contracting Officer may require additional information before considering the waiver request. Save the Waiver Request(s) in a single file titled “ControlNumber_ LeadOrganization_Institution_Waiver”.
Question 28: Can we include PIs as investigators (e.g., include their CVs as part of the package) and acknowledge their input in the proposal (even if they will not be directly funded under the project)? If not, how else might we acknowledge their involvement? Is the ability to do this affected by whether a PI is a DOE national lab employee?
Answer 28: Only PIs and Investigators included in the project budget, whether covered by DOE FOA funds and/or cost share funds (in-kind or cash equivalent), should be included in the application.
Question 29: Would DOE consider funding a portion of a project directly to another government agency as a piece of a project or would those funds need to come through the lead applicant?
Answer 29: DOE would consider funding mechanism options during the negotiation period if selected for an award. At this time, DOE cannot guarantee the ability to fund a portion of a project directly to another government agency.  Regardless, all funding levels need to align with the topic area thresholds and requirements.
Question 30: With respect to Section II.H, of DOE-FOA-0000816, can DOE confirm the following statements are correct? 1. A project consisting of device(s) deployed in an aquatic environment would be considered ‘small-scale’ and categorically excluded per NEPA Part 1021, Subpart D, Appendix B5.25, if authorized by the US Army Corps of Engineer Nationwide Permit #52, meets all general, regional and specific conditions, and obtains all requisite Federal, State and Local permits. 2. Third Party Biological and Environmental Monitoring of a project which meets the criteria established in NEPA Part 1021, Subpart D, Appendix B3.16 would be categorically excluded.
Answer 30:

DOE cannot make any conclusions about the likely NEPA determination for an applicant’s proposed project prior to conducting the NEPA analysis (and the results of resource agency consultations).  The applicability of any DOE Categorical Exclusions depends upon project specifics, post selection.  

Question 31: Will applications that look at more than one monitoring issue be deemed non-compliant? If yes, how about applications where the DOE funding is used to study a single issue, but the cost-share is directed at studying additional issues.
Answer 31:

Each individual application should address a distinct monitoring issue.  If applicants wish to research more than one issue, they should submit a distinct application for each issue in question.    

 

All costs, both Federal and Cost Share, must be covered under the scope of work and total budget submitted with the application.  The cost-share should be relevant to the project/research topic proposed in the application.  Cost-share for an unrelated monitoring topic would not be allowable.

Question 32: In cases were passive monitoring for behavioral impacts to marine organisms at the device deployment site may potentially yield few data (e.g., encounter rate between fish and device is likely very low), would behavioral response testing in a test enclosure be acceptable? We would propose to use the same device as was deployed, operating under loads comparable to the offshore deployment; and, testing would occur closer to shore, though in the same waterbody and with the same target species of concern as the offshore deployment.
Answer 32:

For Topic Area 1, which seeks to quantify fish avoidance and evasion behaviors around turbines, testing can occur in a mescosm setting such as the one described.  For Topic Area 2, experimentation as described that is aimed at validating or increasing understanding of the monitoring results may occur as part of the larger proposal. However, in such cases, experimentation may not exceed 25% of project budgets, and cannot supplant monitoring activities.