Energy Law Alert: U.S. DOE Releases Funding Opportunity Announcement for Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology Development
On April 20, 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy (the "DOE") released the long-awaited Financial Assistance Funding Opportunity Announcement ("FOA") titled "Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology Readiness Advancement Initiative
." Federal funding for this initiative for fiscal year 2010 is expected to be up to $15.36 million, with the possibility of continued funding at or near that level for 2011 and 2012. Because all federal funding is subject to annual appropriations, these figures should be treated as estimates.
The DOE has recognized that marine hydrokinetic ("MHK") technologies can provide renewable, environmentally responsible, and predictable baseload electricity to load centers along the nation's coastlines. And to help accelerate the development and deployment of these technologies, the DOE intends to advance the technological and operational readiness of MHK systems and components across a range of technology readiness levels ("TRLs") through this FOA. Although TRLs have been used for years by both NASA and the Department of Defense to develop advanced, mission-critical systems, this is the first time TRLs will be used by the DOE to assess the technological readiness of new renewable energy technologies. Recognizing that MHK devices and components are still largely in the early stages of research and development, the DOE has adopted a simplified TRL structure for purposes of this FOA.
The DOE is seeking applications in two topic areas: (1) MHK Technologies Concept Development (TRLs 1-3) and (2) MHK Technology Readiness Level Advancement (TRLs 4-9). Funding will be made available in each topic area for both "systems" and "components." The DOE organized and grouped the TRLs into four discrete funding categories:
- Discovery / Concept Definition / Early Stage Development, Design and Engineering (TRLs 1-3);
- Proof of Concept (TRL 4);
- System Integration and Technology Laboratory Demonstration (TRLs 5-6); and
- Open Water System Testing, Demonstration, and Operation (TRLs 7-8 ).
Each category has prescribed funding levels and project performance periods. Applicants will be required to self-select the TRL appropriate for the development stage of the technology for which they are seeking funding. Award recipients will be expected to share between 20% and 50% of a proposal's cost, depending on (1) whether the funding will be provided for a system or a component and (2) the TRL of the technology to be funded. A brief summary of the expected number of awards in each topic area and the associated expected federal funding is included below. For a complete funding breakdown for systems and components, and for applicant qualifications and requirements, see the FOA.
Topic Area Summary
As the table shows, the focus of the DOE's funding over the next three years is on those technologies closest to deployment. Although some resources will be allocated to systems and components at TRLs 1-3 during fiscal year 2010, the DOE is expecting that all funding in 2011 and 2012 will be awarded to technologies in TRLs 4-9.
Applications are due to DOE by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on June 7, 2010.
For more information on the DOE's FOA and other topics related to the development of offshore renewable energy projects, contact:
Cherise Oram at (206) 386-7622 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael O'Connell at (206) 386-7692 or email@example.com
Chad T. Marriott at (503) 294-9339 or firstname.lastname@example.org