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.

 

Question 52: Are tribes still required to provide the 50% match on proposed projects? If so will the requirement change before a grant is due. Or if a reduction in required match is approved, can tribes modify their proposals to meet the updated cost sharing requirements?
Answer 52:


As noted, the Office of Indian Energy is in the process of exploring the possibility of reducing the minimum cost share requirement for the subject FOA. The timing of such a decision is currently not known; however, if a decision is made to reduce the non-Federal cost share requirement, its provisions and methodology will be incorporated into the currently open FOA DE-FOA-0002317. At this time, the minimum non-federal cost share required remains at 50%.

 

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 53: We have an interest in applying to the FOA-0002317 and have a question regarding eligibility. As a Tribal Nation we understand we are qualified to apply. Our project is owned by our Nation – but not on sovereign land. Based on your eligible project site locations as described on section III (pages 33-34) we understand projects that are not on sovereign land but owned by our Tribe are eligible. Correct? We are interested applying for solar for two of our tribally owned buildings – one is a new construction and one is an existing building where solar would be installed. Please confirm our project would be eligible for funding under Topic Area 1c.
Answer 53:


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 from the FOA:

 

Per Section III.A. (page 33), Tribal Lands include “lands held in fee simple (purchased or owned) by an Indian Tribe, Intertribal Organization, Tribal Energy Development Organization, or other eligible Applicant”. Therefore, if the Tribally-owned building(s), as defined in the FOA, are located on or are to be constructed on land owned by the Tribal Nation, those buildings and that land would be eligible.  

 

Under Topic Area 1 (page 15), “proposed installations must 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.” However, under Topic Area 1.c., “an energy generating system(s) can be proposed in addition to a single or multiple EEMs, but must meet the requirements for both Topic Area 1.a. and Topic Area 1.b.”

 

Therefore, if only solar is planned to be installed on two of your tribally owned buildings, as described, and a single or multiple EEMS are not  included in your project plan, the project would not be eligible under Topic Area 1.c. (Energy Generation System(s) and Energy Efficiency Measure(s)). You may, however, wish to review the requirements for Topic Area 1.a. (Energy Generating System(s)), which is intended for energy generating system(s) only, such as solar.

 

Please note:  It is imperative that you read each Topic Area carefully to determine which, if any, may be applicable to your proposed project.

 


Question 54: Hello, the tribe I am supporting intends to submit an application under 3b. Essentially the council would like to deploy a solar array for a low income tribal housing community of about 85 homes. This community is of course currently grid-connected. In looking at their utility bills and their current tariffs, it would be far more economically for the community if they disconnected from the grid and ran the system autonomously using a microgrid and natural gas to firm the power (gas piping already present/available). In doing so, it appears that this fits Category 3b as the community would no longer be grid-connected. Questions: 1) It is economically advantageous to use the current electrical distribution system from the utility as opposed to running new lines. However that specific discussion has not yet occurred with the utility and would be best done after an award is made. Should we just plan for the cost of running new lines and if the cost is reduced after negotiations, adjust costs post award? 2) Feasibility Study: How robust must a feasibility study be? There have been studies done that demonstrates that solar is absolutely viable in this geography and the NREL irradiation data confirms. However there has not been a study previously focused on this particular community in doing what we are proposing in the application. We can demonstrate the economic benefits of the project with the current utility bills and the availability of the resources (solar, natural gas), but is that sufficient for this application? Or must the Tribe wait until next year and in the interim commission a study of the obvious?
Answer 54:


Per section III. F. Questions Regarding Eligibility: “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: 

 

If, as described, the proposed project is to install an integrated energy system(s) for autonomous operation (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid) to power a substantial number of essential tribal facilities for tribal community resilience, then Topic Area 3.b. may apply, provided all other requirements of that Topic Area are met.

 

  1. DOE cannot advise you whether it is more economically advantageous for the Tribe to use the current electrical distribution system from the utility as opposed to running new lines. That decision must be made by the applicant.

     

  2. In addition to the other requirements identified in the FOA, to be eligible under Topic Area 3.b., the project proposed must be “based on a feasibility study that clearly identifies the need and demonstrates the technical and economic viability of the proposed integrated energy system(s) and the feasibility study must be provided as part of the application”.

     

    The feasibility study, along with design and engineering information, and economics analysis, will form the basis for determining the technical and economic viability of the proposed project which accounts for a substantial portion of the technical rating and whether an application is recommended for funding. More information related to the required feasibility study and technical and economic viability can be found under Section IV.C.4.  (pages 50-55).

Question 55: I am emailing on behalf of a Tribe as we develop and prepare to submit our application for the 'Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands' opportunity. For the required resolution there was some errors on the interpretation of what is required in the resolution. We are wondering if a cover letter will suffice for the adjustments to the resolution information. The Technical Point of Contact was incorrectly identified in the resolution. We wanted to provide a cover letter instead of routing the resolution through our governmental process to clarify our contact people. We intend to put the clarification on Tribal Letter Head and routing for signature by an Authorized Representative. Would this be considered for clarification in review?
Answer 55:


A letter signed by an authorized representative correcting only the Technical Point of Contact as a supplement to the executed Tribal Council Resolution is acceptable, provided the following items (with the exception of #5 below pertaining to the Technical Contacts) from Section IV.C.10. (beginning on page 60) are appropriately addressed in the Tribal Council Resolution:

 

“All Tribal Council Resolution(s), declarations, or resolutions must:

1.    Be specific to this FOA (title and number as shown on the cover page),

2.    Authorize the submittal of the application;

3.    Commit to the proposed project;

4.    Identify a representative of the Applicant as the Business Contact and authorize that person to act on behalf of the Applicant;

5.    Identify a representative of the Applicant as the Technical Contact (it is strongly recommended that the Technical Contact be a representative of the Applicant; however, if the Technical Contact is not a representative of the Applicant, authorization must be provided that delegates that authority to the proposed Technical Contact).

6.    Commit to the total amount of cost share (specific dollar amount or up to a maximum amount and percentage of total proposed project costs), regardless of the source of that cost share as the Applicant is ultimately and legally responsible for the entire amount of cost share;

7.    Identify the type of cost share being committed (cash if provided by the Applicant even if donated time, equipment use, unrecovered fringe benefit costs or unrecoverable indirect costs and either cash or in-kind if provided by a third party);

8.    Affirm that the project is on Tribal Land as that term is defined in this FOA (e.g., trust, tribally-owned fee, leased, Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), or ANCSA land subsequently conveyed and held, invested, or managed on behalf of a Native village or Tribal government); and

9.    If applicable, that the building(s) are tribally-owned or controlled (Topic Area 1), Essential Tribal Facilities (Topic Area 3), or unelectrified tribally-owned or controlled buildings (Topic Area 4). “

 

Question 56: For cost share: "Project teams may provide cost share in the form of cash or in-kind contributions. Cash contributions may be provided by the Recipient or Subrecipients. Allowable contributions include, but are not limited to: contribution of time, unrecovered indirect costs, unrecovered facilities and administrative costs, rental value of buildings, land or equipment, and the value of a service, other resource, or third party in-kind contributions." - Is the land or equipment applicable only to costs accrued before the submission of the grant? 2. Financial Audit - Can we include our cover letter from our auditors to suffice for the requirement of this file?
Answer 56:


  1. Per section IV.H.2. Pre-Award Costs (page 71), “DOE does not guarantee or assume any obligation to reimburse costs where the Applicant incurred the costs prior to receiving written authorization from the Contracting Officer.” 

Additionally, as stated under Section C.IV.10. (page 61) and Section IV.C.11 (page 64), “[n]ote that "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.” [Emphasis added]

 

Therefore, only the lease value of land or equipment contributed (or donated) to the project regardless of when it is purchased can be considered cost share. However, equipment purchased during the period of performance of the grant as part of the proposed project, is an allowable project cost and the value of that equipment must be included in the proposed project budget. Equipment that is purchased or leased during the period performance can also be considered as cost share.

 

  1. Per section IV.C.16. Financial Audit (page 66), “[a]ll Applicants must provide a copy of the most recent financial audit. [Emphasis Added]. 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.

 

Also, see the response to Question 46 under the Frequently Asked questions (FAQs) that sates that “[a]n 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’.”

 

Therefore, based on the above, a cover letter from your auditors will not suffice for the requirement for this file; the entirety of the financial audit must be submitted.

Question 57: Regarding the Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands grant, the Tribe’s application focuses on installing grid-connected canopy solar panels on the fourth floor of a parking structure. Since the project would provide energy to the Tribal building, could the application be submitted under Topic Area 4? Alternatively the application would be submitted as a Topic Area 1.a. project. Any input or guidance that you can provide would be appreciated.
Answer 57:


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 on the bottom of page 13), “[n]ote that projects to be proposed under Topic Area 1.a., Topic Area 1.c. and Topic Area 2 are intended solely for energy generating system(s) that are grid-connected. Projects proposed under Topic Area 1.b. can be for Tribal Buildings that are either grid-connected, ornot 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].

 

Therefore, unless the Tribal building for which the electricity from the canopy solar is to be used is currently unelectrified, it would not be eligible under Topic Area 4 (Electrification of Tribal Buildings). Whereas, Topic Area 1.a. (Energy Generating System(s)) is intended solely for energy generating system(s) that are grid-connected, as you describe.  

 

Please note that under either Topic Area (pages 15 and 28), “[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.”

Question 58: Are activities, which are needed to complete the mandatory 12 month verification period allowed to be included in the budget and expended from DOE grant funds?
Answer 58:


The costs associated with the mandatory 12 month verification period must be included in the proposed budget as part of the total proposed project costs. The costs associated with the verification period combined with all other project-related costs, will require at least a 50% cost share.

Question 59: In the case of a Tribal Utility applying on behalf of a Tribe, whom should be listed as the applicant and sign forms like SF-424 (tribe and utility have different organizational DUNS numbers), Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (Tribe may have lobbying activities, whereas the utility has none).
Answer 59:


If the Tribal Utility is submitting an application on behalf of an Indian Tribe, it must do so as a “Tribal Organization,” as defined in the FOA (page 32) and below.  In that capacity, the Tribal Utility would be the Applicant and sign the Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424) and all other application forms. In addition to meeting the definition of a “Tribal Organization,” the Tribal Utility must meet all other requirements of the FOA, including providing evidence of its authority to submit the Application on behalf of the Indian Tribe and complying with the registration requirements as described in Section IV.E. (page 70). Specifically, “DOE may not make a federal award to an Applicant until the Applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS [Dunn and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System Number] and SAM [System for Award Management] requirements and, if an Applicant has not fully complied with the requirements prior to submitting an application, the DOE may determine that the Applicant is not qualified to receive a federal award and use that determination as a basis for not considering their application.”

 

Tribal Organization,” per Public Law 115-245 has the meaning given the term in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5304). Specifically, per 25 U.S.C. 5304, "Tribal Organization" means the recognized governing body of any Indian tribe; any legally established organization of Indians which is controlled, sanctioned, or chartered by such governing body or which is democratically elected by the adult members of the Indian community to be served by such organization and which includes the maximum participation of Indians in all phases of its activities: Provided, That in any case where a contract is let or grant made to an organization to perform services benefiting more than one Indian tribe, the approval of each such Indian tribe shall be a prerequisite to the letting or making of such contract or grant.”

Question 60: We are working with two Tribes that will be applying. A question we had was if we submit early, would the review start early, or is the collective submittals reviewed after the deadline? One of the Tribes would like to submit by next week, but wasn’t sure if the review of these applications are all reviewed at one time.
Answer 60:


Applications will not be reviewed prior to the submission deadline for applications designated on the cover page of the Funding Opportunity Announcement, which per Modification 0004 is September 30, 2020.

 

Per Section IV.A. (bottom of page 40), “[o]nce the application is submitted in EERE Exchange, Applicants may revise or update their application until the expiration of the applicable deadline. DOE urges Applicants to carefully review their applications and to allow sufficient time for the submission of required information and documents.

Question 61: 1) May a consultant have precise tribal authorization language for the purpose of said consultant being appointed to apply for the subject FOA? 2) In the event of a dispute what is the legal jurisdiction and is there any cause for the financing party or lender to obtain a waiver of sovereign immunity? 3) Can land contributed for the project by the tribe be considered a capital contribution and accounted for by the lender to calculate the loan to value in order to meet the 50% grant requirement? 4) For the purposes of this FOA, what is included in Indirect Costs?
Answer 61:
  1. No, only Tribal organizations are permitted to submit applications on behalf of eligible tribal applicants. Per Section III. A. Eligible Applicants (starting on page 31) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “[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.

     

    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.”

     

    Also under Section III.A. page 32, “[a]pplications may also be submitted on behalf of Indian Tribe(s) by an authorized “Tribal Organization”, provided evidence of that authority is included as part of the application.” See the definitions of “Tribal Organization” under Section III.A. or Appendix A of the FOA.

     

    Furthermore, per Section IV.C.4. of the FOA, “[t]he Applicant’s “Business Contact” and “Technical Contact” should be representatives of the Indian Tribe, Intertribal Organization, Tribal Energy Development Organization, or authorized Tribal Organization, if applicable. The Applicant’s “Business Contact” must be a representative of the Applicant authorized to act on behalf of the Applicant in the daily administration of the grant and to negotiate the agreement (not necessarily the signatory). Note that all DOE official written correspondence related to this FOA, or agreement, if one is awarded, would be addressed to the “Business Contact”. The Applicant’s “Technical Contact” is a person authorized to act as project manager on behalf of the Applicant and would be the prime point of contact for DOE’s Project Officer during the period of performance of the grant, if an agreement is awarded. It is strongly recommended that the Technical Contact be a representative of the applicant; however, if the Technical Contact is not a representative of the Applicant, authorization must be provided as part of the Commitment file that delegates that authority to the proposed Technical Contact.”

     

  2. The Department of Energy will not advise on legal issues regarding business agreements between an Indian tribe and a financing party or lender.

     

  3. Per Section III.B.1. (Legal Responsibility) of the FOA (page 36), “the Recipient is ultimately and legally responsible for the entire amount of cost share, if an award is made.” Section III.B.1 also states, “[t]he Recipient is solely responsible for managing cost share contributions by the Project Team and enforcing cost share obligation assumed by Project Team members in subawards or related agreements.” Regarding land used as cost share, see Question #56 under Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that specifically states that “only the lease value of land or equipment contributed (or donated) to the project regardless of when it is purchased can be considered cost share”, not the purchase value.

     

  4. Generally, indirect costs are those costs not readily identified with a specific project or organizational activity but incurred for the joint benefit of both projects and other activities. Indirect costs are usually grouped into common pools and charged to benefiting objectives through an allocation process/indirect cost rate. Costs included in an indirect cost pool are specific to each entity and their entity type (for-profit, non-profit, hospital, States and Local Government and Indian Tribe government) and how that entity allocates direct and indirect costs. For more see 2 CFR 200 Subpart E, Cost Principles.

 

Indirect Rate inclusion for the FOA is detailed in the required Budget Justification file (IE 335). Per the Budget Justification file (IE 335), options for including indirect costs in an applicant’s budget include:

  • Indirect Costs have been approved or negotiated with a federal government agency. Provide a copy of the approved or negotiated indirect rate agreement as an attachment in the Budget Support file.

  • Indirect Costs are proposed with a federal government agency. Provide a copy of the approved or negotiated indirect rate agreement as an attachment in the Budget Support file.

  • No Indirect Costs have been proposed. It is understood that Indirect Costs cannot later be requested for reimbursement or used as Cost Share.  

  • A de minimis rate of 10% of the Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC)* is being requested and the Applicant is not a State, local government or Indian tribe. It is understood that the proposed Indirect Costs cannot be used as Cost Share. Per Appendix VII to 2 CFR Part 200, States, local governments and Indian tribes are not allowed to use the 10% de minimis rate.

     

    *Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC): Per §200.68 MTDC means all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each subaward (regardless of the period of performance of the subawards under the award). MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000. Other items may only be excluded when necessary to avoid a serious inequity in the distribution of indirect costs, and with the approval of the cognizant agency for indirect costs.


Question 62: Rather than the grant being used to pay for the upfront equipment capital expenditures of the solar project, could the grant be set aside by the tribe in a fund that is ear-marked for payment of future utility electric bills? This would allow the financing partner of the solar project to offer the tribe a lower Power Purchase Agreement rate and the tribe would see a decrease in annual operating expenses in paying for a portion of each years bills with the grant. With this decrease in operating expenses, we would support the tribe in re-investing this savings into the community through workforce training. The financing partner would provide more of the upfront capital expenditures for the solar project in order to ensure the project can be built, rather than fund the capital expenditures with the grant.
Answer 62:


As specified under Requirements for the Office of Indian Energy FOA’s (page 3) relative to Pre-award costs and Section III.B, Cost Sharing, “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.”  [Emphasis added]

 

As with cost share, only costs incurred during the period of performance of the grant, can be considered for DOE reimbursement. Therefore, DOE funds cannot therefore, be set-aside in a fund that is ear-marked for future utility electric bills.

 


Question 63: When putting together plans for a large renewable energy project, many things have to come together in order for the whole project to be viable and proceed. For example, when you get all the players lined up to purchase land for a Megawatt-scale project, you must proceed on a timely basis or the seller may find a new buyer or a new purpose for the land. Non-federal funds used for such purchases were planned to be part of our project’s matching funds. In the same regard, a portion of funds must be spent by 12/31/2020 due to federal tax credit requirements, which most renewable energy projects in the US rely on, so final engineering and installation steps needed to proceed, even though the proposal expected to include those funds in its non-federal match. We have a few dates that we request your consideration of for purchases, project equipment, supplies, services and other matching portions of projects where it was critical for them to proceed rather than hold off. Could you consider a change in the timing of how non-federal dollars can qualify for cost-sharing for this FOA due to the three (3) COVID-related delays this cycle? One way to make this work for projects that are in these circumstances could be to extend back the period of performance to include time from the FOA announcement date or the first published deadline (7/1/2020) rather than 90 days after receipt of any requested supplemental information. USDA and other agencies have allowed inclusion of such expenses incurred while preparing a complete application package.
Answer 63:

As specified under Requirements for the Office of Indian Energy FOAs (page 3) relative to Pre-award costs and Section III.B, Cost Sharing, “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.” 

 

Per section IV.H.2. Pre-Award Costs (page 71), Pre-award costs cannot be incurred prior to the Selection Official making selections.”

 

Under that same section (page 71), please also review Pre-Award Costs Related to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Requirements as “DOE’s decision whether and how to distribute federal funds under this FOA is subject to NEPA. Applicants should carefully consider and should seek legal counsel or other expert advice before taking any action related to the proposed project that would have an adverse effect on the environment or limit the choice of reasonable alternatives prior to DOE completing the NEPA review process.” Additionally, under Section, I.C., Applications Not of Interest, “[a]ny application where the Applicant has already taken irreversible actions regarding the proposed DOE funded project” Is not of interest.

 

Also, be aware that only the lease value of land for the period of the grant agreement can be considered, not the purchase value). See question 56 under FAQs

Question 64: Regarding the DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands, our applicant is facing serious issues reading the cost-share letter of commitment. The Tribe has been severely hurt by the pandemic in that many of their businesses, casino, and attractions were forced to close. The community's health and economic stability are lower than ever before. The Tribe is dominated by a 45% poverty rate. For these reasons, the Tribe desperately needs to complete their project as it will create dreadfully needed jobs, infrastructure, and revenue. The Tribe cannot have cash-in-hand due to these financial difficulties heightened by the pandemic, The Tribe has actively engaged and communicated with a reliable funding partner, but the bank cannot commit to the dispersal of funds without the confirmation of grant funding. The statement from the bank states that it is their priority to fund this loan and that the "motivation to consider the financing of this transaction is high." Considering the current pandemic environment, is it possible that this statement can be considered satisfactory for the cost-sharing commitment?
Answer 64:

The Department shares your concerns regarding whether and how to apply the current statutory cost share requirement to this FOA, especially in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19).  The Office of Indian Energy is considering how to address cost sharing concerns, consistent with existing law and regulation that would be incorporated into the FOA and/or grant award(s). However, at this time the minimum cost share requirement remains at 50%.    

 

Based on the limited information provided we offer the following:

 

Per Section IV. 11. Participant letters of commitment and cost sharing file (page 63), “[l]etters of commitment and cost sharing are required from all other project participants (excluding Vendors). The letters must be specific to this FOA and if cost share is being committed, include a statement of the total amount and type of cost share being committed and a detailed estimate of the cash value (basis of and the nature of) of all contributions to the project by the project participant. 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.”

 

Also, per page 5 of the FOA, “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.

 

Please also be aware that due to Federal regulations (page 4 of the FOA), “title to equipment acquired under a Federal award will conditionally vest upon acquisition with the non-Federal entity. The 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.” Therefore, equipment to be purchased in whole, or in part, under a grant award (if one is awarded) cannot be used as collateral on a loan.

 

Based on the limited information provided, DOE cannot make a determination on the sufficiency of the cost share commitment statements. However, subject to the above restrictions on encumbering equipment, a written assurance (e.g., commitment) from a funding partner and/or bank to disperse funds upon confirmation of grant funding through DOE as a result of this FOA (if an award is made) appears to meet the intent of a cost share commitment for purposes of this FOA, provided those commitments are binding guarantees.


Question 65: Our tribal organization is drafting a proposal to submit for the DOE Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands 2020 Grant #DE-FOA-0002317. Is the maximum project up to $2M with a cost share of 50% ($1M)? To meet the needs of our organization, our project (Topic Area 1.a) will exceed $1M. If the total project is not to exceed $1M with a cost share of $500,000, we have developed plans to scale back the overall project to stay within this budget. Please advise. This will drive what we submit as our final proposal.
Answer 65:

There is no maximum cost share that can be contributed or a limit on the project costs, provided the cost share is at least 50% of the total allowable costs of the project. However, the amount of DOE funds per award are limited as follow:

Per Section II.A.1., Estimated Funding (beginning on page 30), “[u]nder Topic Area 1 (Energy Efficiency Measure(s) or Energy Generating System(s) for Tribal Building(s)), DOE anticipates making two to four awards, with DOE funding per individual award varying from no less than $50,000 to a maximum of $1,000,000.“

Therefore, the maximum amount of DOE funding per individual award is a maximum of $1,000,000. If, for example, the maximum amount of DOE funds ($1,000,000) are being request, the minimum projects costs would be $2,000,000 since the cost share is a minimum of 50% of total allowable projects costs (minimum cost share is 50% of $2,000,000, or $1,000,000). However, since there is no limit to the amount of cost share, the projects costs could exceed the minimum of $2,000,000 in the example above. 

Please also see Appendix B – Cost Share Information on page 102 of the FOA document for examples on how to calculate cost share.

Question 66: My company provides solar systems. I am not related to any Tribal Group. I am not Native American. I would like to help those on the Reservations and have COMPLETE SOLAR POWERED products that can provide exactly what is needed. Is there a Tribe that would be interested in teaming up with my company to submit the FOA for Solar Power? Do you have any contacts?
Answer 66:

As federal employees, we must act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual, especially relative to a competitive funding opportunity announcement. Furthermore, Indian tribes or tribal entities must follow their own procurement policy when assessing third-party vendors, and it is at their discretion who they choose to engage in business arrangements. Given the above and the respect we have for tribal sovereignty, DOE will not recommend or provide referrals for any organization.

Question 67: I am working closely with some of the native nations in Arizona and was wondering if I am able to apply for this program, from my login with the DOE on behalf of the tribes I am working with? Or do they need to each have someone from their capital development offices, log in and apply from their desk? I am not taking any compensation for helping to apply for this program. I simply am trying to help uplift these communities, as they have limited resources and staffing.
Answer 67:

Although not preferred, a consultant may upload an application on behalf of an eligible applicant. In order to upload an application, the submitter must certify in EERE Exchange that they are authorized to submit on behalf of the applicant (eligible entity as defined in the Funding Opportunity Announcement). Also, if the application is submitted by proxy: (1) the entity uploading the application must have been authorized by an eligible applicant; and (2) the Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424) must be physically signed by an authorized representative of the eligible applicant as defined in the FOA and scanned prior to uploading to EERE Exchange. As an electronic (digital) signature would be invalid if the application was uploaded by proxy, it is essential that the Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424) is physically signed, scanned, and uploaded. Additionally, all entries in Exchange and the application itself must be as if completed and uploaded by the eligible applicant.

  
Sharing permissions (see page 10 of the
EERE eXCHANGE Applicant Guide) can be used to give EERE Exchange users from multiple organizations access to the submission for content management, oversight and review responsibilities and submission responsibilities. Note that uploading by proxy does not negate the requirement for the applicant to complete all other registrations (SAM, FedConnect, Grants.gov, and obtain a DUNS number) as described on page 3 of the FOA and Section VI.B., Registration Requirements, beginning on page 80 of the FOA.

Question 68: We are working with a Tribe on a submission to DE-FOA-0002317: ENERGY TECHNOLOGY DEPLOYMENT ON TRIBAL LANDS - 2020. We see that the deadline has been extended to Dec 10, 2020. We understand the "DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted." However, is it possible for the DOE to amend this to review applications and make awards on a rolling basis since the deadline has been extended 4 times?
Answer 68: Currently, there are no provisions to allow for the review of applications or to make awards on a rolling basis. All applications will be reviewed after the current submission deadline of December 10, 2020.
Question 69: Our tribal organization is drafting a proposal to submit for the DOE Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands 2020 Grant #DE-FOA-0002317. We would like to know if the "mandatory 12-month verification period" is to establish and verify the energy usage so that a feasibility study can be performed or is it to verify the savings after the project is completed?
Answer 69:

Per Section I. Funding Opportunity Description B. Topic Areas/Technical Areas of Interest (page 16), for Topic Area 1, “Verification of the actual energy saved and displaced annually (amount, cost, and percentage) will be required for a minimum of 12 months after installation of the energy generating system(s), and a description of those verification methods must be included as part of the Technical Volume and the activity included as part of the Workplan (see Section IV.C., Content and Form of the Application).” For similar requirements for Topic Area 2 and Topic Area 3, see pages 20 and 24.  

 

Therefore, the mandatory 12-month verification period is to verify and document the actual energy generated, saved or displaced annually after the installation of an energy system resulting from the subject funding opportunity announcement, not to baseline the energy usage so that a feasibility study can be performed.

Question 70: 1) I have a question about future years funding, as we are trying to prepare now by getting a feasibility study though the Energy and Mineral Development Program (EMDP) grant from the Department of Interior. First off, when will there be the next Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands FOA, 2021 or 2022? 2) Secondly, I understand we need to submit a feasibility study and energy options analysis for the Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands grant. I'm wondering how closely our feasibility study project needs to match the project outlined in the energy options analysis.
Answer 70:
  1. 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.​

     

    Also, specifically see Question #3 on the FOA Frequently Asked questions (FAQs) webpage at https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/FAQ.aspx?FoaId=a116cfde-ddb2-4129-94b4-1c7c36340b8c.

     

  2. Per section III. F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 39), “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 addition to the other requirements identified in the FOA, the project proposed must 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 [project] and the feasibility study must be provided as part of the application” (see pages 16, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26, and 28). [Emphasis added]

     

    The feasibility study, along with design and engineering information, and economics analysis, will form the basis for determining the technical and economic viability of the proposed project which accounts for a substantial portion of the technical rating and whether an application is recommended for funding. More information related to the required feasibility study and technical and economic viability can be found under Section IV.C.4.  (pages 50-55).

     

    Regarding the Options Analysis, “[s]uch 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]

     

    Also, specifically see Question #54 on the FOA Frequently Asked questions (FAQs) webpage at https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/FAQ.aspx?FoaId=a116cfde-ddb2-4129-94b4-1c7c36340b8c.

     

Unfortunately, DOE cannot advise you on the sufficiency of the Options Analysis or the proposed scope of a feasibility study based on the information provided, or predict whether the reviewers will determine the Options Analysis or Feasibility Study sufficient to support the technical and economic viability of a particular proposed project, if an application is submitted. However, the feasibility study will likely have much more bearing on the technical and economic viability of a proposed project, than an Options Analysis. Please review the weights given to each of the Technical Review Criteria (Section V.A. on page 75) to help guide you on the importance of the two documents. 
Question 71: I am writing because we represent a Tribe that is working with us on a feasibility study and development agreement that, if successful, will build a 200 MW natural gas fired power plant (possibly with 10-15 MW solar feature) on Tribal lands. Would you advise me what grants, if any, would be best applicable to the feasibility study, development agreement and proposed project? Would DE-FOA-0002317: ENERGY TECHNOLOGY DEPLOYMENT ON TRIBAL LANDS - 2020 be applicable and what are the instructions for applying? We are also seeking to acquire the existing infrastructure, including substations, on reservation from the utility company and create a Tribal network for our community with power management information technology. Would you advise me what grants, if any, would be best applicable to the feasibility study, development agreement and proposed project?
Answer 71:

The DOE Office of Indian Energy has a list current funding opportunities, including DOE sources and external sources of funding, on our website located here and distribute that information on our listserv which can be joined on our homepage. Regarding potential sources of funding for feasibility studies, the Department of Interior (DOI) currently has an Energy and Mineral Development Program (DEMP) grant opportunity which may be of interest and can be found on DOE’s Office of Indian Energy’s current funding opportunities page at the link above. You may also see ongoing opportunities at the bottom of the current funding opportunities page for other sources of funding, loan guarantees, and technical assistance.

 

Information related to the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002317 can be found here. This particular FOA is for the installation of energy systems and infrastructure.

 

Another resource for potential incentives or rebates is the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
Question 72: 1) FORMATTING: The FOA says every page must be numbered. • Are the page numbers to be numbered consecutively, regardless of section, for a total application of x pages? o Ex: Required Elements 1 to 23 (SF 424 through Waiver Request) = numbered pages 1 through 90 (hypothetical page #) • OR does each required component need to be numbered, specific to that file? o Ex: Technical Review: numbered pages 1 through 15. Workplan: numbered pages 1 through 5. 2) TRAVEL: The FOA says to include one-week + travel days to attend the program review annually. • Can you please clarify if one-week is 5 (business) days or 7 days? • Is there a required (or maximum/minimum) number of persons who should attend? • Do we also account for this travel during the 12-month verification period? 3) VERIFICATION PERIOD • Are there required activities that need to be included in the verification period, aside from the ‘verification of actual energy saved and displaced annually’ methodology and tracking? 4) COST SHARE • If a grantee does not utilize the full DoE awarded amount of funds, is the 50% cost share at the end of the project period based on the amount awarded or on the amount expended? o Ex: Awarded $100,000 in federal funds with $100,000 cost share. Expended $90,000 in federal funds, incrementally also spending $90,000 in cost-share funds [i.e., 50/50 cost share met]. Would the grantee still be required to spend the additional $10,000?
Answer 72:

1) FORMATTING: Each specific file must be consecutively numbered, not number consecutively with other files (e.g., Technical Volume numbered pages 1 through 15 and Workplan numbered pages 1 through 5).

2)  TRAVEL: For budgetary purposes, assume a 5-day meeting with an additional travel day on each end. For more information on the annual review and past presentations, please see the Office of Indian Energy website at https://www.energy.gov/indianenergy/projects/program-review.

DOE requests that at least one representative of the applicant attend and present; however, a couple of representatives may be necessary depending on the nature or phase of the project, with some recipients requesting contractor representatives attend. Be aware that the initial review may be at the start or early in the project and hence, fewer representatives might be appropriate, whereas multiple people may be desired to present the interim or final results.

Per section I. B. Topic Areas/Technical Areas of Interest of the FOA (Page 13): Travel costs for this annual review (one-week in duration plus travel days) must be included, for each year of the grant, in the proposed budget, including the year the initial award is anticipated.  The reviews are generally held in the Fall and therefore, the number of reviews proposed will depend on the start and end dates of the grant. 

3)  VERIFICATION PERIOD: Per Appendix C – Workplan Format of the FOA (page 110) the task details of the 12 month verification require the following: Explicitly describe methods to be used during the mandatory 12 month verification period to verify the energy saved, energy generated, performance of the system, and outcomes.

4) COST SHARE: The amount of cost share is based on funds expended and provided as a percentage of the total project costs in each invoice period for the duration of the project period, or otherwise on a  pro-rata basis per invoice. Therefore, if the entirety of approved DOE funds are not expended, then the cost share amount would be the percentage of actual project costs expended approved in the terms and conditions of the award, if one is made. In the example provided, the cost share amount would be 50% of the total project costs of $180,000, or $90,000; the grantee would not be required to contribute any more than 50% of the actual project costs expended (e.g., $90,000).

Question 73: I have a brief question concerning DOE funding opportunities and funding restrictions. I am working with a planning group to complete a grant application for a renewable energy feasibility study, funding for which is currently offered through the BIA’s Energy and Mineral Development Program. Once we complete our feasibility study and economic analysis, we intend to apply for DOE funds to support the installation of additional solar panels on our Tribal Reservation lands. One of my colleagues suggested that other federal agency grant awards (such as some offered through the DOT) do not allow for the same contractor who performed the feasibility study to act as the contractor performing the next project phase activities such as construction or installation of equipment. Is this the case with DOE grant funds?
Answer 73: A contractor who might have completed a prior feasibility study would not be barred from performing the next project phase activities such as construction or installation of equipment. However, 2 CFR §200.319 requires that “the non-Federal entity must conduct procurements in a manner providing full and open competition”, with a few exceptions as listed in §200.320(f)(1-4). Per Section IV.C.4. of the funding opportunity announcement (page 56), “if your application is selected for negotiation toward an award, any sole source contracts will need to be approved by DOE."
Question 74: I work a State Commission on Indian Affairs. We are a state agency that helps direct resources to state recognized tribes of our state. We are looking into this opportunity and it's not quite clear to me if this could apply to state recognized tribes?
Answer 74:

State recognized tribes are not an eligible applicant under this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). Frequently Asked Question #49, states:

 

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.”

Question 75: Our Tribe is interested in supporting solar energy infrastructure for our Tribe. Is there a way to reduce the match requirement of 50%?
Answer 75:

DOE just announced a formalized process for determinations of cost share reduction requests for Office of Indian energy awards. For more information on the process of how eligible entities can request a reduction in cost share, see the Office of Indian Energy website.

Question 76: For the Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands, DE-FOA-0002317, opportunity, will there be any consideration for awards under the stated minimum? We have a $40,000 project that is otherwise eligible, have the $20,000 non-federal match in hand, and would like to apply for $20,000.
Answer 76:

Applications that do not meet the minimum requirements of the Funding Opportunity Announcement, including the minimum DOE funding per individual award, will not be considered.

 

Per the FOA Executive Summary (Page 1):

 

DOE funding per individual award will range from:

(1) no less than $50,000 to maximum of $1,000,000 for Topic Area 1,

(2) no less than $250,000 to a maximum of $2,000,000 for Topic Area 2,

(3) no less than $50,000 to a maximum of $1,000,000 for Topic Area 3.a.,

(4) no less than $250,000 to a maximum of $2,000,000 for Topic Area 3.b, and

(5) no less than $250,000 to a maximum of $2,000,000 for Topic Area 4

 

Also, see Section II.a.1., Estimated Funding, for those same requirements of the minimum and maximum amount of DOE funding per individual award by Topic Area.

 

Therefore, applications for less than $50,000 in requested DOE funding will not be considered for Topic Area 1 and Topic Area 3.a., and applications for less than $250,000 in DOE funding for Topic Area 2, Topic Area 3.b., and Topic Area 4  will not be considered.

Question 77: We would like to find out if the Tribe can apply for cost share reduction for the upcoming DOE Energy Technology Development on Tribal Lands-2020 DE-FOA-0002317 due December 2020? Please clarify to help us determine how to proceed with our proposed grant application.
Answer 77:

Per the Eligibility section of the Cost Share Reduction Request Process webpage:

 

Requests to reduce (not eliminate) the non-federal cost share requirement may be submitted for:

(1) eligible open obligations (active financial assistance agreements),

(2) obligations made for applications previously selected for negotiation of award under Office of Indian Energy Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002168, and

(3) obligations made for awards resulting from the currently open FOA DE-FOA-0002317, and those requests will be expedited through this formalized process.

 

Based on #3 above, potential applicants to the currently open FOA DE-FOA-0002317 are eligible to submit a request.

 

For more information on the process of how eligible entities can request a reduction in cost share, including the Cost Share Reduction Request Template and instructions, see the Office of Indian Energy website.

 

Please also be aware that the submission deadline for applications has been extended to February 11, 2021. This extension is to allow those tribal communities dealing with COVID the opportunity to respond to this FOA, and to allow those interested in requesting a reduction in cost share to do so. 

Question 78: If there is a Tribal Energy Development Organization (TEDO) in place between a Tribe and City, and the Tribe applies and is awarded funding, can the project then be sited on City land?
Answer 78:

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 III.A., “Tribal Lands,” for purposes of this FOA, is defined as:

(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 [Emphasis added].

 

(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.

 

Indian land,” for purposes of this FOA, means –

(a) any land which is located within the boundaries of an “Indian reservation” (see

definition below), pueblo, or rancheria:

 

(b) any land not located within the boundaries of an Indian reservation, pueblo or

rancheria, the title to which is held –

(i) in trust by the United States for the benefit of an Indian tribe or an individual

Indian;

 

(ii) by an Indian tribe or an individual Indian, subject to restriction against alienation

under laws of the United States; or

 

(iii) by a dependent Indian community; and

 

(iv) land that is owned by an Indian tribe and was conveyed by the United States to a

Native Corporation pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43

U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.), or that was conveyed by the United States to a Native

Corporation in exchange for such land.

 

Therefore, based on the above, City land would not be eligible as Tribal Lands unless the lands were held in fee simple or held under a long-term land lease by the Indian Tribe, Tribal Energy Development Organization, or other eligible Applicant, or met one of the other definitions above.


Question 79: I have a question about DE-FOA-0002317: Is University eligible to be subcontracted?
Answer 79:

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.”

All entity types, including Universities, are eligible to participate as a subrecipient (subaward) or vendor (contractor). However, per Section IV.C.4. of the funding opportunity announcement (page 56), “if your application is selected for negotiation toward an award, any sole source contracts will need to be approved by DOE."

Additionally, 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.

Question 80: In looking at the Cost Share Reduction Request Form #C – “Identify the location of the tribal community or communities where the proposed project is located”: Our Tribe is a non-reservation Tribe. Can we use casino electricity costs/unemployment/loss of revenue as our tribal communities are located around tribal casinos in multiple areas?
Answer 80:

Based on the limited information provided, we offer the following:

As the electricity price provided will be compared to the average residential price of electricity in your state, it is important that the electricity price you provide be a residential rate, and not a commercial or industrial rate.

Per the instructions, “[i]f your proposed project includes sites in multiple tribal communities (i.e., Reservations, Alaska Native Villages, Tribal Jurisdictional Areas), you will need to provide a separate electricity price for each tribal community and record the data for each community on the Cost Share Reduction Request Form.” The instructions also state, “[i]f your proposed project includes sites in multiple tribal communities (i.e., Reservations, Alaska Native Villages, Tribal Jurisdictional Areas), you will need to provide the unemployment rate for each tribal community and record the data for each community on the Cost Share Reduction Request Form.”

Based on the above, if each community is in a different area as described, you should provide the best available electricity price and unemployment data for each community to be proposed as a project site. Also, feel free to offer an explanation of the data provided on the form.


Question 81: 1. I would like to know if any of the following projects listed below are eligible under this FOA. • wind power; they would be the small production wind turbines made for 1-2 houses • biomass conversion of wood derived from fuels reduction in the forested properties. Possible wood pellet production on the nearby ER14 property. This is where we are doing the biochar demo project this winter. • design of a solar carport at the Tribal Community Center 2. Also, are the full number of required documents, downloadable forms? And, are the other necessary documents required, able to be downloaded on the EERE Exchange in full directly on this page: https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/#FoaIda116cfde-ddb2-4129-94b4-1c7c36340b8c, or do I have to go to grants.gov and get it from there by clicking apply first? 3. The descriptions of possible projects identified in Question 1 are from the Tribe’s Environmental Director so it might be relevant to consider what counts as Tribal Land or Tribal Buildings, especially when it comes to the reservation and other lands. More importantly, does our Tribal Community Center count as either a Tribal Land or Tribal Building or both?
Answer 81:
  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 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:

  • For energy generating systems, such as wind, for a tribal buildings (e.g., one to two homes), you may want to review Topic Area 1.a. (Energy Generating system(s)) to see if such a project would meet the requirements of that Topic Area.

  • Harvesting and wood pellet production would not meet the intent of the FOA, which is intended for the installation of energy technology for energy generation, energy efficiency, storage or electrification.

  • For the installation (not the final design) of a solar carport at the Tribal Community Center, please refer to Topic Area 1.a. (Energy Generating system(s)) to see if such a project would meet the requirements of that Topic Area. Per Section I.A. of the FOA (page 15), “Costs 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.”

  1. The required documents for this FOA can be found under Application elements on page 6 and are detailed in Section IV.C. beginning on page 41. Forms and templates associated with this FOA can be obtained from EERE Exchange. However, the other elements of the application are self-generated. Please review Section IV.C. for information on the content and form of the application. A webinar was conducted for potential applicants which may also be helpful. To begin the application process, you would click “Apply” on EERE Exchange. Applications will only be accepted through EERE Exchange, not Grants.gov.
  1. Based on the limited information provided we offer the following:

Per the FOA (page 15 or Appendix A), ““Tribally‐owned or controlled building(s),” for purposes of this FOA, is a building or buildings where the eligible entity has the authority to augment or modify the building and where the building is either owned by the eligible entity or tribal members, or the eligible entity has a long‐term lease (as a minimum, for the useful life of the proposed project). “Tribal Building(s)” may include, but are not limited to, tribal member homes, schools, community buildings, clinics/hospitals, tribal government buildings, fire stations, police stations, radio stations, washaterias, utility facilities (such as water/waste water systems), tribal casinos, or tribal businesses.”

Section III.A., “Tribal Lands,” provides a detailed definition of Tribal Lands. Please review the definition to determine land eligibility. The Tribal Community Center would need to meet the requirements of a “Tribally-owned or controlled building” and be on Tribal Lands as defined under Section III.A. to be eligible.

    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:

    • For energy generating systems, such as wind, for a tribal buildings (e.g., one to two homes), you may want to review Topic Area 1.a. (Energy Generating system(s)) to see if such a project would meet the requirements of that Topic Area.

    • Harvesting and wood pellet production would not meet the intent of the FOA, which is intended for the installation of energy technology for energy generation, energy efficiency, storage or electrification.

    • For the installation (not the final design) of a solar carport at the Tribal Community Center, please refer to Topic Area 1.a. (Energy Generating system(s)) to see if such a project would meet the requirements of that Topic Area. Per Section I.A. of the FOA (page 15), “Costs 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.”

      The required documents for this FOA can be found under Application elements on page 6 and are detailed in Section IV.C. beginning on page 41. Forms and templates associated with this FOA can be obtained from EERE Exchange. However, the other elements of the application are self-generated. Please review Section IV.C. for information on the content and form of the application. A webinar was conducted for potential applicants which may also be helpful. To begin the application process, you would click “Apply” on EERE Exchange. Applications will only be accepted through EERE Exchange, not Grants.gov. Based on the limited information provided we offer the following:

      Per the FOA (page 15 or Appendix A), ““Tribally‐owned or controlled building(s),” for purposes of this FOA, is a building or buildings where the eligible entity has the authority to augment or modify the building and where the building is either owned by the eligible entity or tribal members, or the eligible entity has a long‐term lease (as a minimum, for the useful life of the proposed project). “Tribal Building(s)” may include, but are not limited to, tribal member homes, schools, community buildings, clinics/hospitals, tribal government buildings, fire stations, police stations, radio stations, washaterias, utility facilities (such as water/waste water systems), tribal casinos, or tribal businesses.”

      Section III.A., “Tribal Lands,” provides a detailed definition of Tribal Lands. Please review the definition to determine land eligibility. The Tribal Community Center would need to meet the requirements of a “Tribally-owned or controlled building” and be on Tribal Lands as defined under Section III.A. to be eligible.