Efficiency, Microgrids Eligible for $4B in DOE Loan Guarantees

April 17, 2014
Innovative energy efficiency projects, including microgrids, will be eligible for federal loan guarantees under a draft solicitation being circulated by the US Department of Energy.

Ernest Moniz, US energy secretary

Innovative energy efficiency projects, including microgrids, will be eligible for federal loan guarantees under a draft solicitation being circulated by the US Department of Energy.

Released April 16 for comment, the program also will offer the guarantees for renewable energy projects. In all, the DOE will make $4 billion in guarantees available.

Winning projects must avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases, and be replicable, market ready and have a “catalytic effect” that encourages future  re-use of the approach.

The request for proposals seeks projects in five categories. The two likely to be of the most interest to EnergyEfficiencyMarkets.com readers are: 1) advanced grid integration and  storage and 2) efficiency improvements. (The others are drop-in biofuels; waste-to-energy; and enhancement to existing facilities.)

The advanced grid integration and storage category includes microgrids that reduce carbon dioxide emissions at the systems level. It also encompasses smart grid projects that include demand response, energy efficiency, sensing and storage that allows greater penetration of renewables.  Similarly, the RFP seeks renewables that incorporate storage.

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Separately, the energy efficiency category includes projects that:

  • Improve or reduce energy usage in residential, institutional, and commercial facilities, buildings, and processes
  • Recover, store, or dispatch energy from curtailed or underutilized renewable energy sources
  • Recover, store, or dispatch waste energy from thermal, mechanical, electrical, chemical or hydro-processes
  • Dispatch, control, or stabilize intermittent power to large transmission lines, smart grids, and microgrids.

The DOE provided several examples of possible projects, such as efficiency improvements to a real estate portfolio or large group of buildings (hospitals, school districts, technology campuses, industrial parks, data centers.) Another example is distributed generation or microgrids that generate kilowatts or a small number of megwatts for hospitals, airports, hotels or distributed loads. A third would be energy storage and energy recovery for district energy or microgrids.

“Through our existing renewable energy  guarantees, the Department’s Loan Programs Office helped launch the U.S. utility-scale solar industry and other clean energy technologies that are now contributing to our clean energy portfolio,” said Ernest Moniz, US energy secretary. “We want to replicate that success by focusing on technologies that are on the edge of commercial-scale deployment today.”

The DOE has begun 30-day public comment period. The draft solicitation can be found online at http://lpo.energy.gov.

Want to keep on top of this RFP? Check back at EnergyEfficiencyMarkets.com’s RFP channel. Or subscribe to our free, twice weekly newsletter.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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