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Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act and the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Building a stronger, more resilient Minnesota

The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, became law on November 15, 2021. The Minnesota Department of Commerce is dedicated to making the most of this historic opportunity to build a stronger, more resilient Minnesota. We look forward to working with local and tribal governments, utilities, businesses, communities and other entities interested in energy-related partnerships to protect the health, safety and energy security of all Minnesotans.

The IIJA authorized billions of dollars in funding opportunities across a wide variety of areas, including energy-related infrastructure. Funding opportunities authorized under IIJA include grid modernization, new electric transmission, energy system resiliency and reliability updates, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, improvement to the energy efficiency of buildings, smart manufacturing, carbon capture and carbon utilization projects, renewable energy technologies and demonstration projects and other innovative initiatives.

Commerce outreach will primarily focus on energy-related funding opportunities whether opportunities are issued by the U.S. Department of Energy or issued by another federal agency. The U.S. DOE alone will offer up to 60 new programs through the IIJA.


Ask us! The Minnesota Commerce Department is your partner for energy specific IIJA funding opportunities 

Interesting in partnering with the MN Department of Commerce around funding opportunities? Have questions? Send an email, detailing the program, your organization and contact information to IIJA Initiatives Project Manager Kellye Rose: fedquestions.commerce@state.mn.us.

Sign up for energy specific IIJA email updates from the MN Department of Commerce.
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The U.S. Department of Energy has changed the due date for submissions to the 40101(d) Preventing Outages and Enhancing the Resilience of the Electric Grid (Formula Grants to States and Indian Tribes). The due date for the State Energy Office to submit the Minnesota State Plan was extended from September 30, 2022, to March 31, 2023. The DOE has also issued two requests for feedback on other Grid Resilience and Reliability funding opportunities (40101(c), 40103(b), 40107).  See the GRIP item, in the RFI section, below. Responses are due to the DOE by October 14, 2022.

Informational webinars on grant basics for potential applicants to Grid Resilience funding opportunities

Commerce will host two informational seminars for entities thinking of applying to one or more of the IIJA Grid Resilience funding opportunities and who want to better understand the processes involved. Interested parties can choose to attend a session on one of two dates. Each session will explain the process differences in applying to the State Energy Office for a share of grant funds that will be allocated to the State versus applying directly to a federal agency as part of a competitive grant funding opportunity. The session will cover "How to read a FOA", and, for those potentially applying directly to the federal government, the discussion will cover things applicants can be doing now to prepare for the opening of the funding opportunities. Time will be reserved for audience questions and discussion. 
Interested parties can choose to attend one of the two times below.  Registration links to receive meeting invites are linked below.     

Recent and expected federal funding activity

The federal government usually follows the following announcement structure for a specific funding opportunity: 1) Issuing a Request for Information (RFI); 2) Issuing a Notice of Intent (NOI); 3) Issuing a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) or Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). The federal agency offering the funding opportunity generally also holds webinars during the various stages to fully communicate details of the funding opportunity and assist in stakeholder planning.

IIJA Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA):

Section 40205 and 41003(b) Rare Earth Element Demonstration Facility   

  • Informational webinar: 1:00-2:00 pm CDT October 13, 2022 
  • Full application due date: November 21, 2022, 7:00 pm CDT.
  • DE-FOA-0002618; CFDA Number: 81.089
  • RFI published in February 2022: DE-FOA-0002686 
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) has issued a FOA to support increasing the domestic supply of rare earth minerals. IIJA appropriated appropriations of $156 million for the design, construction and operation of a Rare Earth Element (REE) Demonstration Facility that demonstrates the extraction, separation and refining from unconventional feedstock materials to high purity individual or binary rare earth metals (REM) and/or critical minerals and materials (CMM).
This FOA seeks applications from academic institutions acting as the Prime Applicant for a Phase I Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) study and a Phase II design, construction and operation of a first-of-a-kind (FOAK) domestic demonstration facility that produces REEs and CMM from domestic resources that include unconventional and secondary sources, such as acid mine drainage, mine waste or other deleterious material.
Watch DOE's Rare Earth Element Demonstration Facility web page for posting of the webinar link.

Section 40101(d): Preventing Outages and Enhancing the Resilience of the Electric Grid (Formula Grants to States and Indian Tribes)

  • Full application due dateChanged from September 30, 2022, to 10:59 pm March 31, 2023.
NOTE: The U.S. Department of Energy has changed the proposal submission due date.

Notice of Intent (NOI):

Information on recent NOI, and in most cases, information on Teaming Partner lists can be found by clicking on the opportunity links below:


Open IIJA Requests for Information (RFI) and Draft FOA comments:

Sections 40101(c), 40103(b) and 40107 Grid Resilience and Innovative Partnerships (GRIP)  

The DOE Grid Deployment Office (GDO) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) has issued two requests for feedback related to grid resilience and reliability. The DOE intends to coordinate implementation of three grid programs together, to the extent practicable, to maximize the benefits and impacts of the three programs, supporting the development of more comprehensive and regional resilience strategies. Together, the three programs will be called Grid Resilience and Innovative Partnership, or GRIP. The DOE is seeking comments, via this RFI, on the combined implementation strategy, the implementation strategy for the individual programs, and on some of the required components. Concurrently, DOE has published the DRAFT FOA for GRIP, with a request for comments from all stakeholders and the public.

Section 40101(c): Preventing Outages and Enhancing the Resilience of the Electric Grid

  • Eligible entities: an electric grid operator, an electricity storage operator, an electricity generator, a transmission owner or operator, a distribution provider, a fuel supplier and any other relevant entity (as determined by the DOE Secretary.

Section 40107: Deployment of Technologies to Enhance Grid Flexibility/Smart Grid Investment Matching Grant Program 

  • Eligible applicants: institutions of higher education; For-profit entities; Non-profit entities; State and local governmental entities and tribal nations.

Section 40103(b): Program Upgrading Our Electric Grid and Ensuring Reliability and Resiliency 

  • Eligible applicants - a State, a combination of two or more States, an Indian Tribe, a unit of local government, a public utility commission.

Sections 40207(e), (f)(2), (f)(3), (f)(4) and 40208 Collection, Transportation, Sorting, Processing and Second-Life Applications for End-of-Life Lithium-Ion Batteries

The DOE's Manufacturing & Energy Supply Chains Office in collaboration with the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office has issued a Request for Information covering multiple programs related to Lithium Ion Battery Recycling.

Section 40207(e) Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize to offer the continuation of the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize Competition for additional rounds after completion of the existing round.

Section 40207(f) Battery and Critical Mineral Recycling: Battery Recycling Research, Development and Demonstration Grants. Programs proposed under this Section:

  • Battery Recycling Research, Development, and Demonstration Grants to fund projects which create innovative and practical approaches to increase the reuse and recycling of batteries;
  • State and Local Programs for establishment or enhancement of battery collection, processing and recycling centers;
  • Retailers As Collection Points to implement a system for the acceptance and collection of covered batteries and covered battery-containing products, as applicable, for reuse, recycling or proper disposal.

Section 40208: Electric Drive Vehicle Battery Recycling and Second-Life Applications Program to fund eligible entities to conduct research, development, testing and evaluation of solutions to increase the rate and productivity of electric drive vehicle battery recycling; and for research, development and demonstration projects to create innovative and practical approaches to increase the recycling and second-use of electric drive vehicle batteries.


Non-IIJA funding opportunities

Exploratory Topics (Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions) SBIR - STTR  

  • Full application due date: November 15th, 2022, 8:30 am CST
  • DE-FOA-0002785; CFDA Number: 81.131 (SBIR/STTR Announcement)
  • DE-FOA-0002784; CFDA Number 81.131 (Topic A Announcement)

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has opened a Small Business Innovation Research / Small Business Technology Transfer cycle. This announcement is purposely broad in scope and will cover a wide range of topics to encourage the submission of the most innovative and unconventional ideas in energy technology. The objective of this solicitation is to support high-risk R&D leading to the development of potentially disruptive new technologies across the full spectrum of energy applications. Topics under this FOA will explore new areas of technology development that, if successful, could establish new program areas for ARPA-E, or complement the current portfolio of ARPA-E programs. This funding opportunity will be left open and additional topics added as amendments in the future. The first topic announced for funding is Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions (see topic A DE-FOA-0002784 link above).

Also see FedConnect July 2022 RFI announcing a teaming partner list for this topic. 


Clean Hydrogen Production, Storage, Transport and Utilization to Enable a Net-Zero Carbon Economy

  • Full application due date: October 25, 2022, 10:49pm CDT.
  • DE-FOA-0002400; CDFA Number: 81.089

DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) is amending a previously released FOA to add interest areas for funding and add further clarification to information in the FOA.  The FOA is to support the development of technologies enabling clean hydrogen production, transport, storage, and use in the energy sector, including electricity, heat, transportation, and industrial use. Newly added interest areas eligible for project funding are:

  • 4) Advanced Turbines
  • 14a) Methane pyrolysis/decomposition, in situ conversion, or cyclical chemical looping reforming
  • 14b) Hydrogen Production from Produced Water
  • 15) Technologies for Enabling the Safe and Efficient Transportation of Hydrogen Within the U.S. Natural Gas Pipeline System
  • 16) Fundamental Research to Enable High Volume, Long-term Subsurface Hydrogen Storage

U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development

  • Full application due date: October 11, 2022, 4pm CDT.
  • DE-FOA-0001817; CDFA Number: 81.121

DOE’s Idaho Operations Office has opened the application period for the U.S. Industries Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development. The FOA is envisioned to provide support for the revitalization and expansion of the U.S. nuclear industry by encouraging growth of a pipeline for advanced nuclear reactors, specifically through the employment of key private-public partnerships. 

The cost-shared activities envisioned under this FOA would address industry-identified projects from a very broad scope of technical topical areas including, but not limited to, innovations and improvements in:

  • Advanced nuclear reactor designs, including small modular reactors of various technology types;
  • Engineering, analyses and experimentation that would address first-of-a-kind reactor design, certification, and licensing issues;
  • Advanced manufacturing, fabrication and construction techniques for nuclear parts, components, and full-scale plants, or integrated efforts that could positively impact the domestic nuclear manufacturing enterprise;
  • Sensors, instrumentation and control systems;
  • Plant auxiliary and support systems;
  • Operational inspection and monitoring capabilities;
  • Modeling and simulation of various elements of plant life cycle;
  • Procedures, processes, and methodologies that can impact operational efficiencies;
  • Integration of nuclear energy into micro-grid, non-electric, and/or hybrid applications;
  • Other components, systems, processes, or capabilities, including dynamic convection technologies, that could result in performance and economic improvements in advanced nuclear reactor designs;
  • Efforts to address regulatory and licensing issues with the NRC.

Resources

DOE Announces $1 Million in Prizes for Communities Adopting SolarApp+

The U.S Department of Energy Solar Energy Technology's Office (SETO) launched the SolarAPP+ Prize, a million-dollar prize program designed to accelerate the adoption of SolarAPP+, an online platform that instantly issues permits for code-compliant residential solar photovoltaic systems. Local governments that successfully adopt SolarAPP+ by April 27, 2023 can receive a $15,000 cash prize.

SolarAPP+ is a platform that reduces one of the major bottleneck for residential solar installations,  speeding timelines by easing the permitting process. To date, SolarAPP+ has approved over 9,500 projects and saved more than 9,500 hours in plan review time. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's report on SolarApp+ performance, projects are permitted and inspected about two weeks faster, given that permits are issued instantly for code-compliant systems.

Register here for DOE's informational webinar about the prize on September 27, from 12-1:30 CDT.  

DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) webinar: Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) solar research incentives

Join SETO for a webinar designed for SETO awardees and members of the solar energy research community: “Reaching for the Solar Future: How the Inflation Reduction Act Impacts Solar Deployment and Expands Manufacturing." IRA-updated incentives for solar deployment and domestic solar manufacturing will be addressed, and also highlight the IRA’s broader implications for SETO’s Solar Futures Study analysis, which modeled the deployment of solar necessary for a decarbonized grid by 2035.

Get ready to apply for federal funding opportunities

As of April 4, 2022, entities doing business with the federal government (including grant applicants responding to a federal funding opportunities) are required to be registered in the System for Award Management found at SAM.gov and to have a Unique Entity Identification (UEI). UEI's are created by registering in SAM.gov. Registration in SAM.Gov is free.

Entities that were registered in SAM.gov, with either active or in-active registrations, prior to April 4, 2022, have had a UEI assigned to their file. This transition to using a UEI rather than a DUNS number allows the federal government to streamline the entity identification and validation process, making it easier and less burdensome for entities to do business with the federal government.

For additional information, read the Quick Start Guide for registering an entity in SAM.gov. Note: display issues have been noted when trying to access the documents linked above via the Chrome browser. If the guidance articles do not show by clicking on them above, copy the link address and paste it into a different browser such as Firefox.


Additional resources for Tribal Nations


Bipartisan Infrastructure Law “How-To” guidebook available

The White House released a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law guidebook to help potential applicants plan and prepare to apply. This guidebook is a roadmap on upcoming funding opportunities, as well as an explanatory document on program-level direct federal spending. The link to the guidebook is also found on the IIJA Build.gov website.



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Interested in partnering with the MN Commerce Department around funding opportunities? Have questions? 

Send an email, detailing the program, your organization and contact information to fedquestions.commerce@state.mn.us or call the MN Energy Information Center at 651-539-1886.

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