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: Is the new funding different than the one that was out earlier in the year? Will we have a chance to know if applications submitted for the previous funding opportunity have been awarded?
Answer 1:

Funding Opportunity Announcement’s (FOAs) are generally distinct from one another and a thorough review of each is necessary to understand any differences. However, this FOA (De-FOA-0002317) is very similar to the previous FOA (DE-FOA-0002168). To learn more about the recently issued FOA and any differences from the previous FOA, please join our webinar April 7, 2020 at 3:00 Eastern.

 

Per the FOA documents, “DOE will notify all Applicants of its eligibility and selection determinations. The selection notification letter will inform the Applicant if its application was selected for award negotiations, or not. Alternatively, DOE may notify one or more Applicants that a final selection determination on particular applications may be made at a later date, subject to the availability of funds or other factors. Written feedback on all eligible applications will also be provided at the time of notification. Ineligible applications will not be reviewed or considered for award negotiations. If determined ineligible, the Contracting Officer will send a notification letter by email to the technical and administrative points of contact designated by the Applicant in EERE Exchange. The notification letter will state the basis upon which the application is ineligible and not considered for further review.”

 

Regarding applications submitted to the previous FOA (DE-FOA-0002168), those applications are currently under comprehensive review and once selections decisions made, all applicants will be notified.
Question 2: The FOA states that "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." Under Topic Area 1.b, energy audits or industrial energy assessments are required in the application. Could the fees paid for an energy audit or industrial energy assessment be a reimbursable pre-award cost if the applicant is approved?
Answer 2:

No, fees paid for an energy audit or industrial energy assessment are not reimbursable by DOE or as cost share since these costs would be incurred prior to award selection.

Question 3: Can you please tell me what the differences are between “Energy Infrastructure Deployment on Tribal Lands – 2020” (DE-FOA-0002168), and “Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands – 2020” (DE-FOA-0002317)? These two (2) opportunities appear to offer almost identical Topic Areas. Also, will “Energy Infrastructure Deployment On Tribal Lands” continue to be offered in future fiscal year funding cycles?
Answer 3:

Funding Opportunity Announcement’s (FOAs) are generally distinct from one another and a thorough review of each is necessary to understand any differences. However, this FOA (De-FOA-0002317) is very similar to the previous FOA (DE-FOA-0002168). To learn more about the recently issued FOA and any differences from the previous FOA, please join our webinar April 7, 2020 at 3:00 Eastern.

 

It is anticipated that the Office of Indian Energy will continue to offer funding opportunities, however, funding is subject to annual Congressional appropriations and, as such, it is not possible to predict when the next opportunity will be made available or what type of projects or activities will be solicited. To be notified of future funding opportunities, please be sure to sign up for the Office of Indian Energy’s listserv at the bottom-right corner of our website at http://www.energy.gov/indianenergy/office-indian-energy-policy-and-programs or for current funding opportunities, see our funding page at http://energy.gov/indianenergy/funding.

Question 4: Can funds be used to replace batteries in existing energy systems?
Answer 4:

The funding opportunity Announcement (FOA) is fuel and technology neutral. Energy storage system(s) on a community scale are specifically being sought under Topic Area 2.b. (Community Energy Storage), where “Energy storage system(s)” for purposes of this FOA, include, but are not limited to, batteries, pumped hydropower, flywheels, compressed air energy storage, or thermal energy storage systems. [Emphasis added]

 

Energy storage system(s) such as batteries are also eligible under Topic Area 3 and Topic Area 4, if integrated into an “Integrated Energy System(s)” which for purposes of this FOA, “are system(s) that provide power to essential tribal facilities or Tribal Buildings and must, as a minimum, include, (1) energy generating system(s) and (2) controls and management system(s), and may include (3) energy storage system(s)” assuming the other requirements of those Topic Areas are met. See Appendix A of the FOA for definitions.

 

Beginning on page 23 of the FOA relative to Topic Area 3, eligible ““integrated energy system(s)” under Topic Area 3 must, as a minimum, provide power for essential tribal facilities and must, as a minimum, include, (1) energy generating system(s) and (2) controls and management system(s), and may include (3) energy storage system(s). Although integrated energy system(s) must include as a minimum an energy generating system(s) and controls and management system(s) and may include energy storage system(s), some components may already exist and therefore, not all of the components need be proposed for DOE funding; however, the integrated energy system(s) as a whole must meet the requirements under Topic Area 3.”

 

Therefore, depending on the Topic Area and assuming all other requirements of that Topic Area are met, an energy storage system(s) such as batteries is an eligible technology under this FOA.

Question 5: Can we apply for the purchase of a generator with the grant funds or as matching costs?
Answer 5:

The funding opportunity Announcement (FOA) is fuel and technology neutral. Section I.B. (Topic Areas/Technical Areas of Interest) of the FOA states, “DOE is seeking applications for energy generating system(s) which under this FOA includes combined heat and power system(s), conventional distributed generation system(s) and renewable energy system(s).”

 

As it applies to Topic Area 1.a., 1.c. and 2.a. and as integrated into an integrated energy system(s) under Topic Area 3 and 4, ““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 “Conventional distributed generation system(s),” for purposes of this FOA, include, but are not limited to, gas turbines (combustion engine), generators, reciprocating engines, stirling engines, microturbines, or combustion steam turbines.” [Emphasis added] specifically, see page 17 of the FOA or Appendix A for definitions.

 

Therefore, depending on the Topic Area and assuming all other requirements of that Topic Area are met, a generator is an eligible technology under this FOA.

Question 6: Can we utilize NAHASDA funding as our match?
Answer 6:

Per Section III. B. Cost Sharing on page 34 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), states that “All cost share must come from non-federal sources and be clearly identified in the application, unless otherwise allowed by law” and provides some instances where federal funds may be permissible for use as cost share, such as funds provided under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) of 1996 (25 U.S.C. 4101, et seq.) and it’s implementing regulation (24 CFR §1000.122) that states, that “[t]here is no prohibition in NAHASDA against using grant funds as matching funds.”

 

Under that same section (page 35) it also provides guidance on the documentation needed if funds form a federal source are being proposed either as additional federal funds against the total project costs or as non-federal cost share, as allowed by law. Specifically, that “the Applicant must provide a commitment letter from the federal agency as part of the application that specifically commits those funds and identifies the statutory authority that allows those funds to be used for the project being proposed. Additionally, if those funds are to be used as non-federal cost share, the commitment letter must also include the excerpt from the statutory authority that allows those funds to be used as non-federal cost share. These commitment letters will be reviewed to determine allowability, by DOE Legal Counsel and the Contracting Officer, prior to accepting funds as either additional federal project funds or non-federal cost share from other federal sources.”  

Question 7: Will hydrogen storage technologies qualify under DE-FOA-0002317?
Answer 7:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following:

 

As stated in the FOA under Appendix A (page 94) of the FOA, ““Energy Storage System(s)” for purposes of this FOA, include, but are not limited to, batteries, pumped hydropower, flywheels, compressed air energy storage, or thermal energy storage systems.” [Emphasis added] Therefore, hydrogen storage technology, provided it is at least a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 9, is not prohibited under this FOA, as long as it meets the other requirements of the specific Topic Area and FOA.

Question 8: I am helping tribal groups in rural Alaska prepare applications for the recent Indian Energy FOA's Topic Area 1.b. Because of the recent travel restrictions put in place by the Alaskan governor in response to the COVID pandemic, we are having trouble completing the technical volume. Recruiting an energy auditor to audit the buildings and hiring an engineer to design an energy efficient heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) retrofit are both now unable to be accomplished because neither can travel to evaluate the sites. From conversations with potential auditors or engineers, neither feel comfortable providing a distance assessment. How would you suggest addressing these constraints? I am sure all interested applicants who do not have an energy audit, feasibility study or design schematics on hand are faced with a similar challenge.
Answer 8:

Currently, there are no plans to extend the due date for applications in response to this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA); however, we are monitoring the impacts of COVID-19 and will continue to evaluate whether an extension is appropriate. Nonetheless, to be eligible under Topic Area 1.b., an energy audit or audits, as well as a Technical Volume are required at the time of submission.  

 

If the FOA due date is extended, anyone who is registered in grants.gov, has subscribed to the original FOA posting, and subscribe to opportunities, will receive a notification via email. For more information on how to subscribe in Grants.gov, see

https://www.grants.gov/help/html/help/index.htm?callingApp=custom#t=Connect%2FSubscribeToOpportunities.htm. Note that application will not be accepted through Grants.gov. Only complete applications submitted to EERE Exchange by the due date, will be considered.

Question 9: One key definition in the FOA Appendix was “Community-scale” for purposes of Topic Area 2, means serving a “substantial” number of the total buildings within a community, or a “substantial” portion of the community’s energy load, or an entire tribal community. Then, referring back to Page 21 of the FOA there is the statement "Affect a substantial number of buildings within a tribal community (no less than three (3) buildings); and”. Therefore, is at least three (3) buildings in community or economic development complex area the threshold number?
Answer 9:

The FOA is currently being amended to remove the language pertaining to “no less than three (3) buildings” and therefore, the requirement is to “[a]ffect a substantial number of buildings within a tribal community”, where substantial means of “ample or considerable amount”.

 

Specifically, under “Topic Area 2, DOE is seeking applications for the deployment of community-scale energy generating system(s) or community energy storage on Tribal Lands affecting a “substantialnumber of the total buildings within a community, or a “substantial” portion of the community’s energy load, or an entire tribal community, where for purposes of this FOA, “substantial” means of “ample or considerable amount”.”

 

Additionally, “as part of the Technical Volume, an explanation and rationale as to how the proposed project meets the community-scale requirement, specifically addressing the “substantial” element, is required (see Section IV.C.4).”

 

Anyone who is registered in grants.gov, has subscribed to the original FOA posting, and subscribe to opportunities will receive a notification via email. For more information on how to subscribe in Grants.gov, see

https://www.grants.gov/help/html/help/index.htm?callingApp=custom#t=Connect%2FSubscribeToOpportunities.htm

Question 10: 1) Is there any consideration to delaying the application deadline due complications from the coronavirus (COVID-19)? 2) Is this the only Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands grant anticipated for 2020?
Answer 10:

1)   Currently, there are no plans to extend the due date for applications in response to this FOA; however, we are monitoring the situation and will continue to evaluate whether an extension is appropriate.

 

2)   It is anticipated that the Office of Indian Energy will continue to offer funding opportunities; however, funding is subject to annual Congressional appropriations and, as such, it is not possible to predict when the next funding opportunity will be made available or what types of projects or activities will be sought. As this is the second Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) issued during fiscal year 2020 it is unlikely that another FOA will be issued this fiscal year.

 

To be notified of future funding opportunities, please be sure to sign up for email updates from the Office of Indian Energy’s at the bottom-right corner of our website at http://www.energy.gov/indianenergy/office-indian-energy-policy-and-programs or for current funding opportunities, see our funding page at http://energy.gov/indianenergy/funding.

 

Question 11: Are we able to use BIA 638 (PL93-638) funds provided under Indian Education and Self-Determination Act as our non-federal match?
Answer 11:

Per Section III. B. Cost Sharing on page 34 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), states that “All cost share must come from non-federal sources and be clearly identified in the application, unless otherwise allowed by law” and provides some instances where federal funds may be permissible for use as cost share, such as funds provided under the Indian Self-Determination Act (Public Law 93-638), self-determination contract funding through 25 U.S.C § 450h(c) and compact funding under 25 U.S.C. § 450j-1(j).

 

Under that same section (page 35) it also provides guidance on the documentation needed if funds form a federal source are being proposed eitheras additional federal funds against the total project costs or as non-federal cost share, as allowed by law. Specifically, that “the Applicant must provide a commitment letter from the federal agency as part of the application that specifically commits those funds and identifies the statutory authority that allows those funds to be used for the project being proposed. Additionally, if those funds are to be used as non-federal cost share, the commitment letter must also include the excerpt from the statutory authority that allows those funds to be used as non-federal cost share. These commitment letters will be reviewed to determine allowability, by DOE Legal Counsel and the Contracting Officer, prior to accepting funds as either additional federal project funds or non-federal cost share from other federal sources.”  

Question 12: Can a Tribe receive an FY20 award if they received an FY19 award and it is still in progress?
Answer 12:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, we offer the following:

 

An eligible entity may apply under the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002317, even if they were previously awarded under a prior FOA; however, the activities proposed must not be duplicative, and may not supplement an existing funded project, although those previously funded activities could be complimentary to those activities to be proposed under the currently open FOA.

 

Be aware, however, that one of the program policy factors that may be considered in determining which applications to select for award negotiations is whether “Applicants who have not previously received a grant from the Office of Indian Energy” (see Section V.C. on page 77).

Question 13: 1) It was stated in the presentation that casinos are eligible, but then in the Topic Area 3 discussion I thought it seemed like they were implying casinos must be designated as emergency shelter’s to be eligible. Could you clarify if casino’s not designated as emergency shelters would be eligible? 2) Would the development of a tribally owned electrical substation that is being built to liberate the tribe from dependence on the incumbent utilities substation qualify as an integrated energy system? I ask because the substation project development would not include development of new generation sources, rather it would connect with existing energy generation sources, so I am concerned that distinction might disqualify the project.
Answer 13:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following:

 

Per Appendix A of the FOA and page 15, “Tribal Building(s)” may include a single or multiple ““Tribally-owned or controlled building(s)” located on Tribal Lands”, where for purposes of the FOA, Tribally-owned or controlled building(s) “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, washaterias, utility facilities (such as water/waste water systems), tribal casinos, or tribal businesses.”

 

However, you are correct in that under Topic Area 3, system(s) proposed must be for “essential tribal facilities” as defined on page 23. Each Topic Area should be fully reviewed to determine if the planned project meets the requirements of that specific Topic Area.

 

With regarding to the ‘development of a tribally owned electrical substation’, an electrical substation does not, in and of itself, meet the definition of an integrated energy system. See the definition of an integrated energy system beginning on page 23 of the FOA.

 

Specifically, “[i]nterconnection infrastructure such as distribution substations, circuits, circuit breakers, switchgear, busbars, distribution lines, distribution transformers, capacitors, voltage regulators, meters, and utility poles, may be proposed under Topic Area 3.b., provided the proposed infrastructure is essential to the proposed project.” [Emphasis added] In other words, under Topic Area 3, a substation would only be eligible if ancillary to the proposed integrated energy system and only if it is essential to the proposed integrated energy system project.

 

Additionally, substations may be eligible under Topic Area 4, but only to provide electricity to unelectrified Tribal Buildings.

Question 14: I am having difficulty saving and submitting the Project Data Metrics File. Exchange will only allow files with the extensions .xls and .xlsx and the file is saving with the extension .xlsm. How do I submit this file?
Answer 14:

The drop down selections in the Project Data Metrics File give the file an extension that is .xlsm. To submit the file, once completed, save the file as .xls or .xlsx and then submit.

 

 

 

Question 15: Given the current economic downturn, is there a possibility to lower the 50% cost share requirement = e.g. 25% instead?
Answer 15:

As required by statute, 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. [Emphasis added]

 

However, DOE is monitoring the situation and will continue to evaluate whether a reduction in cost share is appropriate.   

 

Anyone who is registered in Grants.gov, has subscribed to the original Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) posting, and subscribed to opportunities will receive a notification via email of any changes to the FOA. For more information on how to subscribe in Grants.gov, see

https://www.grants.gov/help/html/help/index.htm?callingApp=custom#t=Connect%2FSubscribeToOpportunities.htm. Note that applications to this FOA will only be accepted in EERE Exchange; however, to be notified of any changes to the FOA, please subscribe to notifications in Grants.gov as described above.

Question 16: Is there a period of time after the awarding of the grant by which time the project must be completed?
Answer 16:

Per Section II. 2 (Page 31) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE anticipates making awards with a period of performances of approximately one (1) to two (2) years, but no longer than three (3) years including the mandatory 12 month verification period.”

Question 17: I am working with a tribal college on a potential solar deployment project. Are tribal colleges eligible for the DOE Tribal Energy Grants?
Answer 17:


As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, we offer the following:

 

 Per Section III. A. (page 31) of the FOA, “[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.” Additionally, under that same section, the FOA 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.” For a definition of Tribal Organization, see Section III.A, Eligible Applicants.

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, we offer the following:

 

 Per Section III. A. (page 31) of the FOA, “[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.” Additionally, under that same section, the FOA 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.” For a definition of Tribal Organization, see Section III.A, Eligible Applicants.

Question 18: We are currently thinking of drilling two or more new long leg (1 mile+) shallow horizontal wells into coal to greatly enhance the gas interception capacity of the system and hopefully significantly reducing the amount of methane seepage at the outcrop to atmosphere. This would be similar to technology used to degas coal mines before and during shallow mining operations. We are evaluating using the collected gas for heating system gas distributed to utilities and setting up a utility scale gas turbine plant for sale of electricity to the Tribe and the grid. We would use the grant funding (and the Tribal match) for drilling the horizontal collection wells to feed the system. We think this could fit under category 2A in the grant package FOA. But it is unconventional enough that we wanted to sound the idea first. We know “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.” But any input you can provide would be appreciated.
Answer 18:

As referenced in your question, “DOE will notmake 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, we offer the following: To be eligible under Topic Area 2.a., the FOA states:

 

Under Topic Area 2.a. (Community-Scale Energy Generating System(s) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), (Section I.B. in page 21), “DOE is seeking applications for the deployment of community-scale energy generating system(s) to provide electricity and/or heating or cooling to a substantial number of the total buildings within a community, or a substantial portion of the total community’s energy load, or an entire tribal community. [Emphasis added]

 

Therefore, if the project proposed for funding is solely for “drilling the horizontal collection wells” as described and does not result in the generation of electricity and/or heating or cooling, it would not meet the intent or requirements of the FOA. 

 

If, however, the project being proposed will generate electricity and/or heating or cooling to a substantial number of total buildings within a community, the project may be eligible, provided it meets all other requirements of the FOA. Such other requirements include, but are not limited to, those itemized below and the use of commercially-proven warrantied technology.  Please also note that to be commercial, the technology must be Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 9, where TRL 9 is “Commercial-Scale Production/Application”.  See Appendix A of the FOA for a definition.

 

(1)  Provide an Options Analysis to demonstrate that other options were considered and that the proposed energy generating system(s) best meets the overall tribal objectives;

(2)  Be based on a feasibility study that identifies the need and demonstrates the availability of the resource and the technical and economic viability of the proposed energy generating system(s) and the feasibility study must be provided as part of the application;

(3) Include an estimate of the energy generated annually (amount, cost, and percentage) for the tribal community through the proposed energy generating system(s);

(4) Be a minimum of 100 kW rated capacity (or for heating or cooling the Btu equivalent of 170,607 Btu/hr.);

(5) Affect a substantial number of buildings within a tribal community (no less than three (3) buildings); and

(6) Use commercially-proven warrantied technology (see the definition of “commercially-proven” and “warrantied” under Appendix A). (Emphasis added)

 

Question 19: We have a question regarding your 'not of interest,' category and example below. We have an advanced prototype micro-combined heat and power system that we are currently participating in pilot study and it is in final design and engineering phase, TRL 8. We would propose the production of 20-30 systems for employment on tribal lands in a configuration to be determined with Tribal leadership, with whom we've been engaging. Tribal Grant 'Not of Interest' Excerpt: “Applications proposing studies, design and engineering (excluding final design and engineering), or development (pre-construction) activities; or any other activity which does not directly result in the installation of equipment to generate electricity and/or heating or cooling, reduce energy use, or enhance energy storage and delivery infrastructure.” Please let us know if our technology meets this Tribal Grant's standards for application? We greatly appreciate the clarification, as we would like to pursue the opportunity but only if DoE deems our technology at the appropriate level of 'final design and engineering' as we've outline above, and also per this grant's standards?
Answer 19:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, we offer the following:

 

Per Appendix A. of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (Page 92):  “Commercially-proven” for purposes of this FOA, means the technology must be at least a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 9, where TRL 9 is “Commercial-Scale Production/Application” and represents an in-service application of the technology in its final form and under mission condition and at TRL 9, the actual, commercial-scale system is proven through successful mission operations, whereby it is fielded and being used in commercial application. Information relative to the technology and its TRL should be provided as part of the application. For more on TRL, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_readiness_level.”

 

Additionally, it is unclear what is meant by “production of 20-30 systems”; however, be aware ‘manufacturing’ activities are not of interest either (see Section I.C. on page 29).

  



Question 20: If a Tribe's project would be able to pay a loan back in a short amount of time could a third party finance their 50%?
Answer 20:

Loans are an allowable form of cost share, provided equipment to be purchased under the grant agreement is not used as collateral for the loan. Specifically, see page 4 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) which states “[t]he non-Federal entity cannot encumber this equipment without approval of the Federal awarding agency and must follow the requirements of 2 CFR 200.313 before disposing of the equipment.”

 

Section IV. C. 12 (Page 63) of the FOA, states, “"Cost Sharing" is not limited to cash investment. Allowable contributions (e.g., contribution of time, unrecovered indirect costs, facilities and administrative costs, rental value of buildings (not the purchase value), lease value of land or equipment (not the purchase value), and the value of a service, other resource, or third party in-kind contributions) incurred as part of the project may be considered as all or part of the cost share. Only cost share contributions made during the period of performance of the grant can be considered.”

 

Page 5 of the FOA states, “cost share must be available or accessible at the time of submission of the application, as described below. A written assurance (e.g., commitment) must be provided at the time of application submission. The written assurance (e.g., commitment) is a binding guarantee that funds are available or, with respect to the use of equipment, contributed labor hours, or unrecovered indirect costs, accessible. Cost share commitments cannot be dependent on some future event, such as receiving a grant, obtaining a loan, or securing an investor. [Emphasis added]. That paragraph on cost share goes on to state, “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) the Recipient is ultimately and legally responsible for the entire amount of cost share if an award is made.”

 

Question 21: Can we work with the tribes and apply for the grants in working with them? Or would they have to pay us and apply for the grant?
Answer 21:

Only an eligible entity, as defined in Section III.A. of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), may submit an application under this FOA. As stated in Section III.F. on page 39 of the FOA, however, “[t]he decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant". Any business arrangements between an eligible entity and an industry partner or vendor is outside the purview of DOE; however, if an award was to be made, no pre-award costs such as those for preparation of an application can be considered for reimbursement or as cost share (see Pre-award Costs on page 3 of the FOA).   

 

Question 22: I am reaching out in regards to the DOE Energy Grant (DE-FOA-0002317). I represent a tribe which is in the process of putting together a wellness center in response to Covid-19. They are pursuing multiple funding opportunities to pay for the center using covid-19 related health grants that have stemmed from the CARES Act. However funding is not completely set yet, so there isn’t a 100% green light on the project. When the wellness center is completed, the tribe plans on installing solar and geothermal combination of heating and cooling to energize the center. I would like to know whether you believe it would be worth pursuing this DOE grant now in order to pay for the solar/geothermal or whether this project would not be considered for the grant since funding is not at 100% on the wellness center?
Answer 22:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following: 

 

Per Section I.C. of the FOA (page 29) identified applications not of interest. Specifically, “[a]pplications proposing studies, design and engineering (excluding final design and engineering), or development (pre-construction) activities; or any other activity which does not directly result in the installation of equipment to generate electricity and/or heating or cooling, reduce energy use, or enhance energy storage and delivery infrastructure” are not of interest.

 

Further, under Topic Area 1 (page 16 of the FOA), “[f]or Tribally-owned or controlled building(s) that are currently being constructed or planned to be constructed during the grant period, the estimated amount of displaced or energy saved in the building(s) must be based on the projected annual energy use over a 12 month period and those projections supplied as part of the application. Only the incremental costs associated with the installation of the energy generating system(s) and EEM(s) will be considered, not the cost of constructing the building.” [Emphasis added]

 

Based on the above, the design and engineering for the proposed energy systems, must therefore, have been completed prior to submitting an application and the design of the building must be such that the energy displaced by the proposed energy systems can be projected and included as part of the application. Furthermore, the Tribally-owned or controlled building(s) must be under construction or planned to be constructed during the grant period, which based on the information provided, seems uncertain. Per the information provided, if the energy systems to be proposed are not intended to be installed until after the completion of the building and the funding and timing for that construction uncertain, an application for said energy systems may be premature.

 

Also note that per Section III.B. (Cost Sharing) on page 34 of the FOA, “[c]osts associated with the construction of a building(s) or structure(s) such as carports (unless integral to the energy 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), energy storage system(s), integrated energy system(s), or energy efficiency measures will be considered allocable to the proposed DOE funded project.

 

Additionally, be aware that per page 34 “[a]ll cost share must come from non-federal sources and be clearly identified in the application, unless otherwise allowed by law”. Therefore, of federal funding is anticipated as cost share for the proposed energy systems, you must confirmed those funds can be used as non-federal cost share and “provide a commitment letter from the federal agency as part of the application that specifically commits those funds and identifies the statutory authority that allows those funds to be used for the project being proposed. Additionally, if those funds are to be used as non-federal cost share, the commitment letter must also include the excerpt from the statutory authority that allows those funds to be used as non-federal cost share.”

 

Feel free to join our email list to be notified of any future funding opportunity announcements on our website.

Question 23: I have a question under DE-FOA-0002317, regarding Topic 1.b., Multiple Energy Efficiency Measures. The description of the Topic Area says that multiple energy efficiency measures must be proposed for each tribally-owned building proposed. Is retrofitting several different types of light bulbs in the same building to more efficient LED bulbs considered multiple measures? Or is a lighting upgrade of all lighting in the building considered one measure?
Answer 23:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, we offer the following:

 

As included in your question, Section I. B. (page 18) of the FOA states, “[u]nder Topic Area 1.b., multiple EEMs must be proposed for each Tribally-owned or controlled building proposed.” For purposes of this FOA, lighting retrofits would be considered a single energy efficiency measure and would not constitute ‘multiple’ energy efficiency measures, regardless of the number or different types of lights to be replaced.

Question 24: We are currently considering applying for Topic Area 2.a. (Community-Scale Energy Generating System(s)) under the Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands funding opportunity. The proposed project would involve a wind project and a substation to allow for sale of excess wind energy not used by the tribe to the market. As the focus under Topic area 2.a. is on energy generation, we’re not sure whether this project would have a chance of being funded as the cost of the substation is substantially more than the cost of the wind energy generating system.
Answer 24:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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.

 As a result, DOE cannot advise you. However, based on the information provided, we offer the following:

 Specific to Topic Area 2.a., page 22 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), states “[i]Interconnection infrastructure such as distribution substations, circuits, circuit breakers, switchgear, busbars, distribution lines, distribution transformers, capacitors, voltage regulators, meters, and utility poles, may be proposed under Topic Area 2.a., provided the proposed infrastructure is essential to the proposed project. The justification as to why that infrastructure is essential to the proposed project must be addressed as part of the Technical Volume. Note that in order for the proposed infrastructure to be eligible, not only must it be essential, but the land on which that infrastructure is proposed must either be (1) on Tribal Land; or (2) the necessary site access such as right-of-way agreement(s) must have been obtained prior to submitting the application. [Emphasis added]

Also, be aware that “Applications 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 under this FOA. However, if a proposed energy generating system(s) meets the requirements under Topic Area 2.a. (Community-Scale Energy Generating System(s)), a portion of the electricity may be sold, provided that revenue from the sale of that electricity must benefit the eligible entity and the tribal community. If a portion of the electricity is proposed for sale, an explanation of how the revenue from the sale of that electricity will benefit the eligible entity and the tribal community is required as part of the Technical Volume.” [Emphasis added]

Provided it meets the requirements of the FOA, each proposed project will be evaluated (as a whole) based on criteria published in the FOA, none of which specify the percentage of the project or percentage of costs that must be dedicated to energy generation."

Question 25: We are interested in applying for the Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands – 2020, DE-FOA-0002316. Our systems process waste plastic and convert into valuable liquid fuels that can be used directly in diesel engines, or cogenerated into electricity. Is there an updated timeline, or is it possible for us to apply in the near term?
Answer 25:

As stated on the cover page of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), the submission deadline for applications under DE-FOA 0002317 is July 1, 2020.

 

Relative to your question regarding the possibility to apply in the near term, as stated in Section III.F., Questions Regarding Eligibility, of page 39 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, based on the information provided, we offer the following:

 

Section III.A. (page 31) of the FOA states, “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.”

 

Also see eligible Topic Areas under Section I.A. and applications not of interest under this FOA under Section I.C.

 

Question 26: We are seeking funding to place solar on the roof of a cultural heritage center. I cannot quite figure out which topic area we are to apply under. The building isn’t yet built so the building isn’t electrified so could it go under Topic Area 4? On the other hand, it would appear to fit under Topic Area 1.a. as well. Could you clarify?
Answer 26:  

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following: 

                                                

Under Topic Area 4, DOE is seeking applications for the deployment of energy infrastructure to electrify Tribal Buildings. Topic Area 4 (beginning on page 27) is intended for the deployment of energy infrastructure or integrated energy system(s) to provide electricity to a “substantial” number of unelectrified Tribal Buildings where for purposes of this FOA, “substantial” means of “ample or considerable amount”. Additionally, “unelectrifiedfor purposes of this FOA, means “Tribal Buildings not connected to (1) the traditional centralized electric power grid or (2) an integrated energy system(s) operating independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid.” Therefore, Topic Area 4 would only apply if a substantial number of unelectrified buildings are being proposed.

 

Whereas, under Topic Area 1.a., applications for energy generating system(s) for Tribal Building(s) are being solicited, where Tribal Building(s)” may include a single or multiple “Tribally-owned or controlled building(s)” located on Tribal Lands and may be for “either: (1) Existing “Tribally-owned or controlled building(s)”; or (2) “Tribally-owned or controlled building(s)” that are currently being constructed or planned to be constructed during the proposed grant period.” Therefore, if the building to be constructed will be grid-connected once completed, then Topic Area 1 might apply.  See Topic Area 1 beginning on page 15 of the FOA.   

 

Question 27: Good afternoon, I am reviewing the FOA for Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands 2020 and would like to know if in addition to the helpful examples within the application packet, there is an example of a previous, successful application I may view?
Answer 27:

No.  Applications submitted to prior FOAs may contain those applicants’ confidential, business sensitive and/or proprietary information; in addition, they address different FOA requirements, which may be inapplicable to the current FOA.  The Office of Indian Energy will not, therefore, provide examples of previous successful applications for applicants’ use in preparing their own applications.

 

Question 28: I’m working with a couple of tribes in Alaska and we’d like to know if a commitment letter from an accredited lending organization will suffice as a 50% commitment match for this funding opportunity, due on July 1st. If not, what is acceptable to meet the 50% commitment?
Answer 28:

Per page 3 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “all Applicants are required to submit an Applicant Tribal Council Resolution or Declaration of Commitment and Cost Sharing File, which must include a statement of commitment and cost sharing by the Applicant. For Indian Tribes, that statement of commitment and cost sharing must be in the form of an executed Tribal Council Resolution, unless an Indian Tribe does not have a Tribal Council.” And, for Alaska Native Regional Corporations or Village Corporations, Intertribal Organizations, and Tribal Energy Development Organizations, “the statement of commitment and cost sharing may be in the form of a declaration or resolution signed by an authorized representative able to commit the entity. In addition, letters of commitment and cost sharing are required from all other project participants (excluding Vendors), to be provided under the Participant Letters of Commitment and Cost Sharing File.”

 

Page 5 of the FOA further clarifies that “cost share must be available or accessible at the time of submission of the application,” and a “written assurance (e.g., commitment) must be provided at the time of application submission. The written assurance (e.g., commitment) is a binding guarantee that funds are available or, with respect to the use of equipment, contributed labor hours, or unrecovered indirect costs, accessible. Cost share commitments cannot be dependent on some future event, such as receiving a grant, obtaining a loan, or securing an investor. Furthermore, 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) the Recipient is ultimately and legally responsible for the entire amount of cost share if an award is made. In addition, if an award is made, cost share will be verified, once invoiced. Documentation for all costs (evidence of expenditures) associated with the project will be required with each and every request for reimbursement from DOE for DOE’s portion of those costs.”

 

Therefore, the applicant must provide the written assurance (e.g., commitment) at the time of submission of the application that funds are available or if contributed accessible, in the form of a Tribal Council Resolution, declaration, or resolution, depending on the type of applicant; however, those funds are not verified, unless an award is made, and then only once invoiced. As such, besides the written assurance by the applicant that funds are available, or if contributed accessible, no additonal verification of funds or documentaiton of availability is required with the application. Note that that availability cannot be dependent on a future event such as obtaining a loan.  In addition, if the applicant intends to obtain a loan as part of its cost share, the loan cannot encumber any equipment or property acquired by the applicant as part of the DOE grant (i.e., no equipment or property acquired by the applicant as part of the DOE grant may be used as collateral for the loan).

Question 29: My office recently learned about this FOA and are in pursuit of projects that could fall under Topic Area 1, 2 or 4. However, in order to meet the application requirements, I am wondering if you could help me understand what a feasibility study and/or energy audit entails? Is there a website or contact from whom I can learn more about the details of what is needed to develop or contract for a feasibility study and/or energy audit?
Answer 29:

Per ‘Analyses, Feasibility Study and Energy Audit(s)’ on page 50 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “[t]he Applicant should provide a description of the analyses, feasibility study and/or energy audit(s)/assessment(s) that are the foundation upon which the proposed project is based, including as a minimum:

 

For Topic Area 1 and Topic Area 2, the Applicant should describe the mandatory analysis that demonstrates that other options were considered and that the proposed project best meets the overall tribal objectives (Options Analysis), and describes the required energy audit(s) or industrial energy assessment(s) that identifies and quantifies energy reduction and savings (Topic Area 1.b. and Topic Area 1.c.) or the required feasibility study that demonstrates the availability and sustainability of the resource and the technical and economic viability of the proposed energy generating systems (Topic Area 1.a., Topic Area 1.c., and Topic Area 2.a.) or energy storage system (Topic Area 2.b.). Include any resource supply agreements under the Statement of Commitment and Cost Sharing File.” [Emphasis added]

 

“For Topic Area 4, the Applicant should describe the mandatory analysis that demonstrates that multiple options were considered and that the proposed project best meets the overall tribal objectives (Options Analysis). Also provide the required feasibility study that demonstrates the technical and economic viability of the proposed energy infrastructure or integrated energy system(s).” [Emphasis added]

 

Generally, energy audits are a tool for uncovering operational and equipment improvements that will save energy, reduce energy costs, and lead to higher performance. For more, see A Guide to Energy Audits.

A feasibility study is an assessment that demonstrates the availability and sustainability of the resource and the technical and economic viability of the proposed energy generating systems. Many examples of tribal energy project feasibility studies are posted on the DOE Office of Indian energy website. Examples of comprehensive feasibility studies are as follows: (1) Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation's feasibility study; (2) Kaw Nation Wind Feasibility Report; and (3) Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Report.

Question 30: The Tribe intends to submit an application under the DE-FOA-0002317 Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands. Our Tribal Operations are closed except for essential staff and the Tribal Council is not meeting due to the COVID Emergency. Is there a possibility to obtain a Waiver of the Resolution requirements for this application under the COVID Emergency Designation and provide this when the Tribal Council reconvenes? I have noted several other federal agencies are providing such waivers.
Answer 30:

The DOE Office of Indian energy has no intention of waiving the requirement for a Tribal Council Resolution as part of applications submitted under Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002317 as those Tribal Council Resolutions document the authority to submit an application and cost share commitments which are essential to DOE accepting an application. However, we continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 and whether an extension is appropriate. If the FOA due date is extended, anyone who is registered in grants.gov, has subscribed to the original FOA posting, and subscribe to opportunities, will receive a notification via email. For more information on how to subscribe in Grants.gov, see https://www.grants.gov/help/html/help/index.htm?callingApp=custom#t=Connect%2FSubscribeToOpportunities.htm   Note that the application will not be accepted through Grants.gov. Only complete applications submitted to EERE Exchange by the due date, will be considered.

Question 31: Is there a way to incorporate the recently announced administration focus on rare earth resources with our proposal? I think we saw something about the Defense Department a couple of months ago announcing a new set of grants connected to rare earth stuff? Could our proposal be updated to fit in to the agenda of your agency, possibly through linkage to the new DoD interest in energy involving rare earth permanent magnets as a strategic matter? Could the Executive Order on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery be useful as an Authority to pull all this together?
Answer 31:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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.”

Review of the Topic Areas and eligibility requirements provided in the FOA should guide your decision making as to whether to submit an application to DE-FOA-0002317. Note that we can only address the subject FOA, Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands – 2020.

Question 32: If our firm was to assist an applicant for DE-FOA-0002317 with engineering estimates and writing of their grant application, would this preclude our firm from performing any of the engineering design work should the applicant be awarded this grant funding?
Answer 32:

No, assisting with the preparation of information for an application would not preclude a firm from performing work under a grant agreement, if one is awarded. However, as described in the Budget Support File:  the Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR 200) requires competition to the maximum extent practical. The applicant must explain how each of the entities included under the Contractual cost category of the Budget Justification form (IE 335) were selected. If any of these entities were selected non-competitively, per 2 CFR 200.317(f)(3), the applicant must submit a separate formal request signed by an authorized representative and addressed to the Contracting Officer to approve the non-competitive selection(s). Include those requests as part of the Budget Support file as required per this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). The approval request should be on the Applicant’s letterhead and include the justification for each of the sole source selection(s), including: (1) any unique or exclusive qualifications; (2) time urgency, if any; (3) past working relationships; and (4) any other rationale.

 

Please note, however, that the FOA is seeking applications for the installation of energy technology, systems, and infrastructure. As such, per Section I.C., design and engineering (except final design and engineering) is not of interest under this FOA – meaning design and engineering should have been completed prior to submitting an application and the results included as part of an application.

Question 33: I was wondering if you knew about the CARES Funding and if it is allowable to use those funds as a match towards this grant. If you know or could find out that would be good.
Answer 33:

Based on the limited information provided in your question, and considering the provisions of Section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), funding from the CARES Act is Federal in nature and therefore may generally not be used as cost share for this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).  DOE, however, will not make any determinations of allowability of cost share funds from a federal source prior to the submittal of applications. The decision whether to submit an application incorporating funds from a federal source lies solely with the Applicant.

As set forth in Section III.B of the FOA (beginning on page 34), “If funds from a federal source are being proposed either as additional federal funds against the total project costs or as non-federal cost share, as allowed by law, the Applicant must provide a commitment letter from the federal agency as part of the application that specifically commits those funds and identifies the statutory authority that allows those funds to be used for the project being proposed. Additionally, if those funds are to be used as non-federal cost share, the commitment letter must also include the excerpt from the statutory authority that allows those funds to be used as non-federal cost share. These commitment letters will be reviewed to determine allowability, by DOE Legal Counsel and the Contracting Officer, prior to accepting funds as either additional federal project funds or non-federal cost share from other federal sources.” That same section also provides instances where federal funds may be permissible for use as cost share.

More information about guidelines related to the CARES Act can be found here, including the Department of Treasury’s interpretation of these limitations on the permissible use of Fund payments.

Question 34: Topic Area 4 is for non-grid tied systems, but we were wondering if installation of a net-metered PV solar power system with a battery backup to be used in the case of an outage would be eligible under Topic Area 4.
Answer 34:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following: 


Projects proposed under Topic Area 4 are intended for Tribal Buildings currently unelectrified. Grid-connected projects will only be accepted under Topic Area 1.a., Topic Area 1.c., and Topic Area 2. [Emphasis added]. As such, although an integrated energy system, such as a solar power system with a battery and controls and management system, is eligible under Topic Area 4, a net-metered system is not as Topic Area 4 (see page 27) is intended to provide electricity to “unelectrified Tribal Buildings by (1) deploying energy infrastructure to connect Tribal Buildings to the traditional centralized electric power grid; or (2) deploying integrated energy system(s) to operate independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid.” [Emphasis added]


You may wish to review the requirements of Topic Area 3 (beginning on page 23) as that topic area is intended for the installation of integrated 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]

Question 35: I am an engineer for a government agency. We have a project to put solar panels on a reservation, supporting a health care center. I am looking at the grant opportunity: DE-FOA-0002317, ENERGY TECHNOLOGY DEPLOYMENT ON TRIBAL LANDS – 2020. Would we be eligible for this grant? The applicant would be a US agency, but the project will be on tribal lands.
Answer 35:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following:

 

Section III. A. Eligible Applicants from the FOA: “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 who 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.”

 

Based on the above, therefore, a U.S. agency would not be directly eligible to submit an application; only an Indian Tribe, Intertribal Organization, and Tribal Energy Development Organization are eligible applicants.

Question 36: I have a question about the subject FOA. Since applications will be accepted from: (1) an Indian Tribe; (2) Intertribal Organization, or (3) Tribal Energy Development Organization, are there any such organizations looking for an implementation partner? Some FOAs post a Partnering List to facilitate team formation, but this Funding Opportunity is a little different in that regard since the Tribe or Tribal Organization will be the applicant. We do a large volume of Federal energy work and are receptive to opening up discussions with an applicant who does not yet have a strong implementation partner.
Answer 36:

To avoid any perception of preference or endorsement of towards any particular entity or technology which is prohibited under DOE ethics standards and to respect the competitive process, the DOE Office of Indian Energy does not post a “partnership list”. Any business arrangements must will need to be made through direct contact directly with an Indian tribe or tribal entity, and as the DOE Office of Indian Energy will not make referrals.

Question 37: I'm trying to quickly determine if there are any qualifying tribal lands in the US Virgin Islands. I was able to find a great mapping system for rural / agricultural land. Is there a similar resource for tribal land or can you point me to an appropriate resource? This is related to development of <100kw wind power installations using a highly efficient turbine design.
Answer 37:


As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following:

 

Eligible project site locations are described in section III. A. Eligibility Information (pages 33-34) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) which include the following as eligible Tribal Lands: (a) ”Indian land” (see definition below); (b) lands held in fee simple (purchased or owned) by an Indian Tribe, Intertribal Organization, Tribal Energy Development Organization, or other eligible Applicant; (c) 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; and (d) 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.” See page 34 for the definition of “Indian Land”.  

 

To review Tribal Nation maps please visit this website. Based on the eligibility requirements of the FOA, however, no Tribal Lands are located in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

 

Question 38: The FOA (DE-FOA-0002317) states that for Topic Area 1.c., applications must be based on energy audit(s) or industrial energy assessment(s) that demonstrate the technical and economic viability of the proposed EEM(s) and those energy audits or industrial energy assessments must be provided as part of the application. If the project is being proposed for a tribally-owned building that is planned to be constructed during the proposed grant period and doesn’t have an audit or assessment since the project is to be constructed, does this rule apply? If so, can you share the detailed expectations of this requirement for projects that are planned to be constructed?
Answer 38:


All Applicants are required to submit either: a (1) feasibility study and/or (2) energy audit(s) or industrial assessment(s). As specifically required for each Topic Area, this requirement includes: energy audit(s) or energy assessment(s) for Topic Area 1.b. and Topic Area 1.c., and a feasibility study or studies for Topic Area 1.a., Topic Area 1.c. and Topic Area 2, Topic Area 3, and Topic Area 4. Any other relevant background or supplemental data may be included under the Site and Resource Map and Graphics File.

 

An energy audit for a tribally-owned building that is planned to be constructed during the proposed grant period would include an analysis of the energy to be used in the building to be constructed (baseline) and then further analysis to determine the incremental energy and cost savings of the energy efficiency measures proposed for incorporation into the design. Such an analysis typically involves the use of building energy modeling software. For more on building energy modeling, see DOE’s Building Energy Modeling 101. For more on building energy software, see DOE’s website or the Building Energy Software Tools Directory

 

Question 39: I would appreciate responses to the following questions which will aid in determining which projects our Tribe may elect to submit applications for FOA 0002317 and to focus our responses. Question A: Would the construction of a Tribal owned electric substation (as part of a microgrid) intended to distribute power to multiple essential facilities within Tribal lands be considered an eligible project under Topic Area 3(b) “Tribal Community Resilience” of DE-FOA0002317. Tribal facilities tied to the substation will have distributed combined heat and power, Solar PV, and emergency diesel generators to support Tribal electric requirements in the event of a grid outage. Question B: The Tribe initiated the phased development of a Tribal owned substation with engineering and utility studies already completed. Substation site grading and long lead time equipment purchases are expected to be initiated prior to grant award notification. We would exclude pre-substation site work and long lead time equipment purchased prior to grant award from the scope of work defined in San Manuel’s DE-FOA0002317 application submittal. In view of the above, would the substation construction phase and associated costs incurred after grant award notification be considered an eligible project under DE-FOA0002317. Question C: Would the construction of 12 kV distribution circuits connecting essential facilities within Tribal Lands to a tribal owned substation be considered an eligible project under Topic Area 3(b) “Tribal Community Resilience” of DE-FOA0002317. This would be a unique project application submitted for DE FOA0002317 (mutually exclusive of the substation project referenced above). Question D: Would a Solar PV project located on top of parking structure at a Tribal Facility that is electrically connected to a Tribal owned substation distributing power to multiple essential facilities within Tribal lands be considered an eligible project under Topic Area 2(a) “Community Scale Energy Generating System” of DE-FOA0002317.
Answer 39:


 

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following:

 

In making your decisions, you may wish to review the following sections of the FOA.

 

Questions A and C:

Per Section I. B. of the FOA (beginning on the bottom of page 23) “[e]ligible “integrated energy system(s)” under Topic Area 3 must, as a minimum, provide power for essential tribal facilities and must, as a minimum, include, (1) energy generating system(s) and (2) controls and management system(s), and may include (3) energy storage system(s). Although integrated energy system(s) must include as a minimum an energy generating system(s) and controls and management system(s) and may include energy storage system(s), some components may already exist and therefore, not all of the components need be proposed for DOE funding; however, the integrated energy system(s) as a whole must meet the requirements under Topic Area 3.” [Emphasis added]

 

Relative to Topic Area 3.b. (page 26), the FOA states “Interconnection infrastructure such as distribution substations, circuits, circuit breakers, switchgear, busbars, distribution lines, distribution transformers, capacitors, voltage regulators, meters, and utility poles, may be proposed under Topic Area 3.b., provided the proposed infrastructure is essential to the proposed project. The justification as to why that infrastructure is essential to the proposed project must be addressed as part of the Technical Volume. Note that in order for the proposed infrastructure to be eligible, not only must it be essential, but the land on which that infrastructure is proposed must either be (1) on Tribal Land; or (2) the necessary site access such as right-of-way agreement(s) must have been obtained prior to submitting the application.” [Emphasis added]

 

Therefore, a substation or distribution line, in and of themselves, would not be eligible under Topic Area 3.b.; however, if the substation or distribution line is essential to the proposed integrated energy system project and meets the requirements above and in the FOA, it may be eligible.

 

Question B:

Section I.C. of the FOA, Applications Specifically Not of Interest, identifies the types of applications that are not of interest and will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered, including “[a]ny 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), integrated energy system(s), community energy storage, energy infrastructure or the installation and energy efficiency measures, including irreversible actions related to the construction of a building(s) or structure(s) (such as a carport), if the building(s) or structure(s) are being built specifically to enable the DOE funded project. Irreversible actions relative to the proposed DOE funded project may include, but are not limited to, site clearing, ground breaking, equipment or system purchase or installation, building renovation, and building retrofits.”

 

As such, DOE could not consider a situation where “site grading and long lead time equipment purchases” occurred prior to grant award, as those would be considered irreversible actions that could not be segmented from the construction.

 

Question D:

Section I. B. of the FOA (page 21) states “[u]nder Topic Area 2.a., DOE is seeking applications for the deployment of community-scale energy generating system(s) to provide electricity and/or heating or cooling to a substantial number of the total buildings within a community, or a substantial portion of the total community’s energy load, or an entire tribal community.” Therefore, a solar PV project located on top of parking structure at a Tribal Facility that provides power to multiple essential facilities within Tribal lands, would appear to meet the intent of Topic Area 2.a., provided the proposed system provides electricity and/or heating or cooling to a substantial number of the total buildings within a community, or a substantial portion of the total community’s energy load, or an entire tribal community, and the system or systems are a minimum of 100 kW rated capacity. [Emphasis added]

 

However, per Section I. C. of the FOA, Applications Specifically Not of Interest (page 29), “[a]pplications proposing the construction of a building(s) or structure(s) such as carports. Only the incremental costs associated with the installation of energy generating system(s), energy storage system(s), integrated energy system(s), or energy efficiency measures will be considered allocable to the proposed DOE funded project and not the cost of constructing the building(s) or structure(s), unless those structures are integral to the proposed project.” Therefore, depending on the nature of the “parking structure”, costs for the “parking structure” may not be considered.

 




 

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following:

 

In making your decisions, you may wish to review the following sections of the FOA.

 

Questions A and C:

Per Section I. B. of the FOA (beginning on the bottom of page 23) “[e]ligible “integrated energy system(s)” under Topic Area 3 must, as a minimum, provide power for essential tribal facilities and must, as a minimum, include, (1) energy generating system(s) and (2) controls and management system(s), and may include (3) energy storage system(s). Although integrated energy system(s) must include as a minimum an energy generating system(s) and controls and management system(s) and may include energy storage system(s), some components may already exist and therefore, not all of the components need be proposed for DOE funding; however, the integrated energy system(s) as a whole must meet the requirements under Topic Area 3.” [Emphasis added]

 

Relative to Topic Area 3.b. (page 26), the FOA states “Interconnection infrastructure such as distribution substations, circuits, circuit breakers, switchgear, busbars, distribution lines, distribution transformers, capacitors, voltage regulators, meters, and utility poles, may be proposed under Topic Area 3.b., provided the proposed infrastructure is essential to the proposed project. The justification as to why that infrastructure is essential to the proposed project must be addressed as part of the Technical Volume. Note that in order for the proposed infrastructure to be eligible, not only must it be essential, but the land on which that infrastructure is proposed must either be (1) on Tribal Land; or (2) the necessary site access such as right-of-way agreement(s) must have been obtained prior to submitting the application.” [Emphasis added]

 

Therefore, a substation or distribution line, in and of themselves, would not be eligible under Topic Area 3.b.; however, if the substation or distribution line is essential to the proposed integrated energy system project and meets the requirements above and in the FOA, it may be eligible.

 

Question B:

Section I.C. of the FOA, Applications Specifically Not of Interest, identifies the types of applications that are not of interest and will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be reviewed or considered, including “[a]ny 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), integrated energy system(s), community energy storage, energy infrastructure or the installation and energy efficiency measures, including irreversible actions related to the construction of a building(s) or structure(s) (such as a carport), if the building(s) or structure(s) are being built specifically to enable the DOE funded project. Irreversible actions relative to the proposed DOE funded project may include, but are not limited to, site clearing, ground breaking, equipment or system purchase or installation, building renovation, and building retrofits.”

 

As such, DOE could not consider a situation where “site grading and long lead time equipment purchases” occurred prior to grant award, as those would be considered irreversible actions that could not be segmented from the construction.

 

Question D:

Section I. B. of the FOA (page 21) states “[u]nder Topic Area 2.a., DOE is seeking applications for the deployment of community-scale energy generating system(s) to provide electricity and/or heating or cooling to a substantial number of the total buildings within a community, or a substantial portion of the total community’s energy load, or an entire tribal community.” Therefore, a solar PV project located on top of parking structure at a Tribal Facility that provides power to multiple essential facilities within Tribal lands, would appear to meet the intent of Topic Area 2.a., provided the proposed system provides electricity and/or heating or cooling to a substantial number of the total buildings within a community, or a substantial portion of the total community’s energy load, or an entire tribal community, and the system or systems are a minimum of 100 kW rated capacity. [Emphasis added]

 

However, per Section I. C. of the FOA, Applications Specifically Not of Interest (page 29), “[a]pplications proposing the construction of a building(s) or structure(s) such as carports. Only the incremental costs associated with the installation of energy generating system(s), energy storage system(s), integrated energy system(s), or energy efficiency measures will be considered allocable to the proposed DOE funded project and not the cost of constructing the building(s) or structure(s), unless those structures are integral to the proposed project.” Therefore, depending on the nature of the “parking structure”, costs for the “parking structure” may not be considered.

 


Question 40: 1) Can the project to be submitted be a continuation/completion of a project that has already begun? 2) Will the funder allow the applicant to implement the NEPA process? If not, can the applicant serve as co-lead on the NEPA process?
Answer 40:
  1. As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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 mu t sbe submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following:

 

As stated in Section II.A.3. (page 31) of Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002317, “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.”  Therefore, although an eligible entity may apply under the FOA even if they were previously awarded under a prior FOA, the activities proposed must not be duplicative, and may not supplement, an existing funded project.  The previously funded activities, however, could be complementary to those activities proposed under the current FOA.

 

Be aware, however, that one of the program policy factors that may be considered in determining which applications to select for award negotiations is whether “Applicants who have not previously received a grant from the Office of Indian Energy” (see Section V.C. on page 77).​

 

  1. With respect to your questions related to the NEPA process for selected awards, per Section VI. B. 6. (page 83 of FOA) we provide the following:

 

“DOE’s decision whether and how to distribute federal funds under this FOA is subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (42 USC 4321, et seq.). NEPA requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision-making processes by considering the potential environmental impacts of their proposed actions. For additional background on NEPA, please see DOE’s NEPA website, at http://energy.gov/nepa.“

 

“While NEPA compliance is a federal agency responsibility and the ultimate decisions remain with the federal agency, all Applicants selected for an award will be required to assist in the timely and effectively completion of the NEPA process in the manner most pertinent to their proposed project. If DOE determines certain records must be prepared to complete the NEPA review process (e.g., biological evaluations or environmental assessments), the costs to prepare the necessary records can be included as part of the proposed project budget.”

 

Additionally, if needed, DOE will confer with Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPO) or other agencies.

 

Question 41: Please provide clarification regarding the “Applicant Tribal Council Resolution or Declaration of Commitment and Cost Sharing” requirement. The Tribe I am consulting for operates under the direction of a government body referred to as the “Business Committee”. The Business Committee is made up of the Tribal Chairperson, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and three Business Committee Members elected by the Tribe and is responsible for making business decisions in the best interest of the Tribe. Will a Resolution by the “Business Committee” of this particular Tribe fulfill the DOE’s “Declaration of Commitment and Cost Sharing ” requirement?
Answer 41:


Per Section I.A. (beginning on page 11) and IV.C.10 (page 61) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement, “[f]or Indian Tribes, that statement of commitment and cost sharing must be in the form of an executed Tribal Council Resolution, unless an Indian Tribe does not have a Tribal Council. If an Indian Tribe does not have a Tribal Council, the statement of commitment and cost sharing may be in a format other than a Tribal Council Resolution and must include evidence of the statutory or other legal authority authorizing that form of commitment in lieu of a Tribal Council Resolution. Such evidence must establish that the commitment submitted carries the same level of Tribal leadership commitment as a Tribal Council Resolution.”

 

Therefore, provided the Resolution by the “Business Committee” is accompanied by sufficient evidence that that commitment carries the same level of Tribal leadership commitment as a Tribal Council Resolution, then it should suffice. However, DOE will not review or make a sufficiency decision prior to receiving the submitted application. The decision to submit an application lies solely with the applicant.

Question 42: We would like to install medium sized solar panel arrays tied to our power grid to utilize solar to power agriculture pumps needed to draw water to our rice fields. There are a few tribal homes/buildings on the properties that would be connected to the solar power as well. Would this be an allowable project under this FOA? If so, what topic area would you suggest?
Answer 42:


As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following: 

Projects to be proposed under Topic Area 1.a. (Energy Generating system(s) for Tribal Buildings) and Topic Area 2.a. (Community-Scale Energy Generating System(s)) are intended solely for energy generating system(s), such as solar systems, that are grid-connected. Note that Topic Area 1.a. is intended to power Tribal Buildings (see the FOA for a definition) and Topic Area 2.a. to power a substantial number of the total buildings within a community, or a substantial portion of the total community’s energy load, or an entire tribal community. For Topic Area 2.a., either a single energy generating system or multiple energy generating systems may be proposed, with the minimum system size of 100 kW rated capacity or BTU equivalent for either a single individual energy generating system or the aggregate of multiple energy generating systems. Projects proposed under Topic Area 4 are intended for Tribal Buildings that are currently unelectrified.

As described above and in the FOA, the focus of this FOA is to provide power to Tribal Buildings. Therefore, it is important you read each Topic Area carefully to determine which, if any, Topic Area may be applicable to your proposed project.

Question 43: My company is an Alaska Native/American Indian Owned Small Business. I am also a shareholder in three Alaska Native Corporations unrelated to my small business. Would I be eligible to apply for this grant opportunity through a consultant group?
Answer 43:


As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following:

 Section III. A. Eligible Applicants beginning on page 31 of the FOA, states “[o]nly 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 who do not meet the requirements of this subsection will be deemed ineligible and their applications will not be reviewed or considered. [Emphasis added]

Section III.A. further states, “[i]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.”

Therefore, based on the above, a small business is not an eligible applicant, nor an individual.

Question 44: We are a tribal organization applying for funding to build an energy efficient community building in the Arctic environment. We are applying under Topic Area 1.b. to include multiple energy efficiency measures as part of the construction. For the options analysis, the "current state option" does that mean using historic data on energy usage for the old building, "do minimum" mean energy usage for the new building built for the minimum code for arctic construction and "do something" upgrading the insulation, water system, heating systems, etc. to items that are more energy efficient. Are we supposed to explore different types of heating systems, water systems, types of insulation etc. as the options analysis?
Answer 44:


Per Section IV.C.7. of the funding opportunity announcement (beginning on page 59), “[a]ll Applicants are required to submit an Options Analysis to demonstrate that other options were considered and that the proposed project best meets the overall tribal objectives. The “Options Analysis”, for purposes of this FOA, is a systematic assessment and evaluation of possible alternative approaches available for achieving specific energy objectives and determining which of the options are the most effective and provides the best solution to achieve those objectives. Such an analysis is intended to explore all feasible technology alternatives (e.g., conventional technologies, renewable technologies, energy efficiency measure(s), integrated energy system(s), energy infrastructure) and provide evidence that the proposed project choice can actually be implemented and is the best option available among all feasible alternatives.” [Emphasis added]

 

DOE cannot advise you on the options to be considered as those options are specific to the overall tribal objectives and specific energy objectives defined by the applicant. However, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following additional information from the Options Analysis Template provided as Appendix E of the FOA (beginning on page 125) and under the FOA (Required Application Documents) on EERE Exchange:

 

As excerpted from Appendix E of the FOA (page 127), ““Current State” Option: The “current state” option (or “do-nothing” option) is evaluated as a bench-mark, to determine whether the other options considered improved or detracted from the current situation. The “current state” option is a no-investment option (no costs beyond those currently being spent on energy, operations and maintenance, etc.). It is critical to analyze current energy use data to establish the baseline or current conditions. Establishing the “do-nothing” option typically begins with collecting historical energy use data (e.g., electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, propane, etc.) and conducting energy audits, either for energy efficiency or generation.

˗ Provide a description to include energy needs (current and forecasted), energy sources, costs, jobs, or other items for comparison.”

 

From page 128 of the FOA, ““Do-minimum” Option(s): Define the "do-minimum" option(s) for the project which is a scenario that requires minimum effort and cost. This option assumes incurring certain insignificant investment outlays that go beyond the existing operational and maintenance costs. For example, partial modernization of an existing infrastructure requires fewer investment efforts and expenditures than a full infrastructure modernization would. The "do-minimum" option provides the least cost solution for achieving the overall objectives requirements.

˗ Provide a description of the “do-minimum” option(s) including the incremental costs and benefits (e.g., costs, jobs, or other items for comparison).”

 

From page 128 of the FOA, “"Do-something" Options. Identify other possible alternative solutions against the "do-nothing" and “do-minimum” options. Such solutions are identified on the basis of how they best meet the objectives or requirements. The "do-something" options typically involve an amount of investment depending upon the energy objectives or requirements. In many cases, the focus is placed on cost, where every option is evaluated against the level of investment and amount of savings.

˗ Provide a description of the “do-something” option(s) including the incremental costs and benefits (e.g., costs, jobs, or other items for comparison).”

 

 

Question 45: I am assisting a couple of villages in rural Alaska to prepare applications to the Tribal Infrastructure opportunity DE-FOA-0002317 and would like to clarify the financial audit requirements listed on page 66 of the FOA, which states: “All Applicants must provide a copy of the most recent financial audit. For non-profit entities, states, local governments, and educational institutions, a Single Audit is required. For for-profit entities, a copy of the most recent independent audit is required.” These applicants are Tribes/local governments, so I believe we fall under the non-profit category. Does “Single Audit” refer to what was previously known as the OMB Circular A-133 audit (i.e., an organization-wide financial statement and federal awards' audit of a non-federal entity that expends $750,000 or more in federal funds in one year)? These tribes have not been subject to an A-133 audit and they also don’t regularly undergo organizational financial audits. One of the tribes does have plans to complete an audit, but even that is currently on hold for an indefinite period because they can’t find any financial professionals willing to travel to complete the audit due to COVID restrictions. Does this disqualify these applicants from this program? Or can we submit a statement such as… “The Council does not regularly undergo audits and does not have an A-133 to produce at this time. We are in good financial standing with all funding agencies and creditors. We will produce any necessary financial documents upon request.” … in lieu of this requirement?
Answer 45:



Per Section IV.C.16. of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (page 66), “All Applicants must provide a copy of the most recent financial audit. For non-profit entities, states, local governments, and educational institutions, a Single Audit is required. For for-profit entities, a copy of the most recent independent audit is required.” A ‘Single Audit’ for non-profit entities, states, local governments (including Indian tribes), and educational institutions, is what prior to 2 CFR 200 was known as an A-133 Audit.

 

An Indian tribe or any other eligible entity who is not required to obtain a ‘Single Audit’ due to expenditures of less than $750,000 in Federal funds during the entity’s fiscal year, is not exempt from submitting financial information as required under Section IV.C.16. of the FOA. In the absence of a ‘Single Audit’, the applicant must submit their most recent Financial Statements, including a statement that entity expended less than $750,000 in Federal funds in a fiscal year and therefore, not required to conduct a ‘Single Audit’.

 

Be aware that 2 CFR §200.501(d) of the Code of Federal Regulations, states that any “non-Federal entity that expends less than $750,000 during the non-Federal entity's fiscal year in Federal awards is exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in §200.503 Relation to other audit requirements, but records must be available for review or audit by appropriate officials of the Federal agency, pass-through entity, and Government Accountability Office (GAO).” [Emphasis added]

 

Question 46: Does a political subdivision/quasi-governmental entity of a tribe qualify as an “Indian Tribe” applicant under this FOA. For example, at Navajo, there are Chapters that are quasi-governments under the central Navajo government. Thus, secondly, would a Chapter resolution meet the FOA’s requirement for tribal resolution?
Answer 46:


As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following:

 

Section III. A. Eligible Applicants beginning on page 31 of the FOA, states “[o]nly 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 who do not meet the requirements of this subsection will be deemed ineligible and their applications will not be reviewed or considered. [Emphasis added]

 

Section III.A. further states, “[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.”

 

Based on those requirements, and using your submitted example, a Navajo Nation Chapter would only be an eligible applicant, in and of itself, if the Chapter was a Local Governance Act Certified Chapter, certified by the ‘central Navajo government’ per Title 26, Navajo Nation Local Governance Act, of the Navajo Nation Code, the purpose of which is to delegate to Chapters governmental authority with respect to local matters consistent with Navajo law. Evidence of that certification must be included with the application, along with a resolution (or comparable commitment) from the Chapter leadership.  

 

If, the Navajo Nation Chapter is not Local Governance Act Certified by the ‘central Navajo ‘government’, the Chapter would need evidence, such as a Tribal Council Resolution, from the ‘central Navajo government’ delegating the authority to the Chapter to submit an application on behalf of the ‘central Navajo government’. That evidence must be included as part of the application, in addition to a resolution (or comparable commitment) from the Chapter leadership.

Question 47: 1. If awarded this grant, under bullet item #3, are we able to use the funds to upgrade our generations or do we need to look at replacing our generators entirely? If we would need to use the funds only allowed to purchase new equipment and need to provide a budget with cost analyze? 2. This grant provides the UPS systems cost, but is there a max budget/cost of funds we can use for that?
Answer 47:


  1. At the outset, your question #1 is unclear in several respects. In an effort to be responsive, however, we’re providing the information below. In the event we have misunderstood the question, you may submit a clarifying one.  In addition, it is unclear what is being asked by the “need to use the funds only allowed to purchase new equipment and need to provide a budget with cost analyze”. Please send a follow-up clarifying question.

     

    If by “bullet item #3” you are referring to Topic Area 3 of the FOA, please review the following from Section I. B., Topic Areas/Technical Areas of Interest (page 23) which states, “[u]nder Topic Area 3, DOE is soliciting applications to install integrated 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].

 

As such, the intent of Topic Area 3 is for the installation of new generation as opposed to upgrades, unless, however, increased production resulting from the upgrades can be quantified and demonstrated as part of the application.

 

Also be aware that per Section I.B. relative to Topic Area 3 (beginning on page 23), “[e]ligible “integrated energy system(s)” under Topic Area 3 must, as a minimum, provide power for essential tribal facilities and must, as a minimum, include, (1) energy generating system(s) and (2) controls and management system(s), and may include (3) energy storage system(s). Although integrated energy system(s) must include as a minimum an energy generating system(s) and controls and management system(s) and may include energy storage system(s), some components may already exist and therefore, not all of the components need be proposed for DOE funding; however, the integrated energy system(s) as a whole must meet the requirements under Topic Area 3.” [Emphasis added]


2.  Each application will be reviewed per the Technical Review Criteria under Section V.A. of the FOA (page 75). There are no specific requirements limiting the percentage of costs for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) versus other elements of the system. However, there are limits on the amount of DOE funds per award depending on the Topic Area per Section II.A.A., Estimated Funding. For instance, under Topic Area 3.b. (Tribal Community Resilience), DOE funding per individual award varying from no less than $250,000 to a maximum of $2,000,000.

 

Question 48: Our current generators that are used to power critical Tribal Government and community space infrastructure do not have any communication capability. We are interested in using the grant award to upgrade these generator control systems/panels to have network connectivity. This connectivity would allow monitoring of events critical to the maintenance and running of the generators during times of emergency. Does topic area 3 of the FOA allow this type of upgrade?
Answer 48:


As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided we offer the following:

 

Please review the following from Section I. B., Topic Areas/Technical Areas of Interest (page 23) which states, “[u]nder Topic Area 3, DOE is soliciting applications to install integrated 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].

 

As such, the intent of Topic Area 3 is for the installation of new generation as opposed to upgrades, unless, however, increased production resulting from the upgrades can be quantified and demonstrated as part of the application.

 

Also be aware that per Section I.B. relative to Topic Area 3 (beginning on page 23), “[e]ligible “integrated energy system(s)” under Topic Area 3 must, as a minimum, provide power for essential tribal facilities and must, as a minimum, include, (1) energy generating system(s) and (2) controls and management system(s), and may include (3) energy storage system(s). Although integrated energy system(s) must include as a minimum an energy generating system(s) and controls and management system(s) and may include energy storage system(s), some components may already exist and therefore, not all of the components need be proposed for DOE funding; however, the integrated energy system(s) as a whole must meet the requirements under Topic Area 3.” [Emphasis added]

 

Further clarification (page 24): “Controls and management system(s)” for purposes of this FOA include, but are not limited to, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, power and frequency controllers, voltage regulators, power protection systems.

Question 49: Can you tell me if my organization, which is an Alaska Native Corporation that was formed from ANCSA, qualifies for this funding opportunity: DE-FOA-0002317 Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands?
Answer 49:


As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following:

Section III. A. Eligible Applicants beginning on page 31 of the FOA, states “[o]nly 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 who do not meet the requirements of this subsection will be deemed ineligible and their applications will not be reviewed or considered.” [Emphasis added]

Section III.A. further states, “[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.”

 

Section III. A. Eligible Applicants (Page 32) also defines Indian Tribe, Alaska Native Regional Corporation and Village Corporation as follows:

 

““Indian Tribe,” for purposes of this FOA, means any Indian tribe, band, nation or other organized group or community (including Alaska Native villages) that is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians (see below for further definition), and any Alaska Native Regional Corporation or Village Corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688) [43 U.S.C. §§ 1601 et seq.].” [Emphasis added]  

 

And, for purposes of this FOA, “an eligible Indian tribe, band, nation or other organized group or community (including Alaska Native villages), must be federally recognized as listed in Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs, published by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Federal Register on January 30, 2020, 85 FR 20.”

 

For purposes of this FOA, “Alaska Native Regional Corporation” means one of the thirteen Alaska Native Regional Corporations, as defined in and established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. §§ 1602(g)).

 

Alaska Native Village Corporation” or “Village Corporation”, for purposes of this FOA, is as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. §§ 1602(J)).

Question 50: I am trying to find a sample of “Subcontract Plan File” as required for the Funding Opportunity Announcement. Do you have something on file that you might be able to share with me?
Answer 50:


Samples of completed Subcontract Plan File(s) and/or a template are not available. However, we offer the following from Section IV. C. 20. (Page 67), a “Subcontract Plan is required if Subawardees (i.e., Subrecipients or Vendors) have not been selected. The Subcontract Plan should include a description of the selection process to be employed, statement of work, and criteria to be used for selection. The Subcontract Plan may be supplemented by excerpts of the Applicant’s procurement policy and procedures document.”

Question 51: I am working with a fishing village in Alaska that would like to submit an application. Can I get clarification on which category would be the best fit as it feels like they are a blend of a couple Topic areas? In short, this fishing village currently does not process any of their fish as the cost of power makes it cost prohibitive (currently pay 0.80/kw). However, they are interested in extending the work season and adding economic development to their community by adding a fish processing plant (they already have a building). The goal would be to install a microgrid, PV, and battery storage so that they use less diesel fuel and reduce the cost of power by at least half (during the summer fishing /processing season). Clearly as a remote village they are not part of the traditional grid. They just have an autonomous village power system for their community. So in looking at the chart on page 8 of the FOA, only the non-grid connected categories should apply, but at the same time they are also generating power. What would be the proper category?
Answer 51:


As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39) 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, based on the limited information provided, we offer the following: 

 

Per Section I.B., Topic Areas/Technical Areas of Interest (beginning at the bottom of page 13), “[p]rojects proposed under Topic Area 1.b. can be for Tribal Buildings that are either grid-connected, or not grid-connected. Topic Area 3 can be for either: (1) integrated energy system(s) that are normally grid-connected, but can disconnect and function autonomously (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid), or (2) integrated energy system(s) that normally operate autonomously (not connected to the traditional centralized electric power grid). Projects proposed under Topic Area 4 are intended for Tribal Buildings currently unelectrified.” [Emphasis added]

 

As you describe, a “microgrid, PV, and battery storage” for a remote village that is “not part of the traditional grid” may be eligible under Topic Area 3.b. (Tribal Community Resilience) if the proposed system is connected to the “autonomous village power system” and as such, powers a “substantial” number of essential tribal facilities within a community, or a “substantial” portion of the community’s energy load, or an entire tribal community, and meets the other requirements under that Topic Area. If, however, the proposed “microgrid, PV, and battery storage” system is intended to power only the fish processing plant facility and that building is considered essential, then Topic Area 3.a. (Powering Essential Tribal Facility(s)) may be one to explore. Based on your description of the proposed project it is not apparent that Topic Area 1.b. (Multiple Energy Efficiency Measures) and Topic Area 4 (Electrification of Tribal Buildings) would be applicable.

 

However, it is imperative you read each Topic Area carefully to determine which, if any, may be applicable to your proposed project.