Grid Resilience Formula Grant FAQs
Who are the eligible entities that can apply for a subgrant award under this Grid Resilience Program?
Eligible entities are limited to electric grid operators, electricity storage operators, electricity generators, transmission owners or operators, distribution provider and fuel suppliers or other entities determined by the DOE. However, the KCC shall give preference to only entities that deliver electricity to the public.
What is the overall purpose of the Program?
Under this Program, the Department of Energy (DOE) provides grants to States who then provide subgrants to eligible entities to initiate projects that will improve the resilience of their electric grid against disruptive events. A disruptive event, as defined by the Program, is “an event in which operations of the electric grid are disrupted, preventively shut off, or cannot operate safely due to extreme weather, wildfire, or a natural disaster.”
What are the goals of the Program?
The primary goals of the Program are to demonstrate measurable improvements in energy resilience, with a focus to necessary and supporting grid modernization investments in rural, underserved and disadvantaged communities, to invest in modernized grid infrastructure and to create good-paying jobs.
What projects are eligible under this Program?
Eligible projects must not be one currently being funded or not already under consideration for funding. Projects to be advanced are those that have either been deferred due to lack of funding or projects that are in the early planning stage.
The list of eligible projects provided by the DOE includes:
a) Weatherization technologies and equipment;
b) Fire-resistant technologies and fire prevention systems;
c) Monitoring and control technologies;
d) The undergrounding of electrical equipment;
e) Utility pole management;
f) The relocation of power lines or the reconductoring of power lines with low-sag, advanced conductors;
g) Vegetation and fuel-load management;
h) The use or construction of distributed energy resources for enhancing system adaptive capacity during disruptive events (modification, refurbishing or replacement of old components to ensure weatherization/resilience but not to increase output capacity), including:
- Microgrids; and
- Battery-storage subcomponents;
i) Adaptive protection technologies;
j) Advanced modeling technologies;
k) Hardening of power lines, facilities, substations, of other systems; and
l) The replacement of old overhead conductors and underground cables.
Resilience measures that are NOT allowed include:
a) Construction of a new –
1) Electric generating facility; or
2) Large-scale battery-storage facility that is not used for enhancing system adaptive capacity during disruptive events; or
The KCC will accept for review any of the above approved eligible projects but will give preference to the following projects; c) monitoring and control technologies, e) utility pole management, k) hardening of power lines, facilities, substations and of other systems, and l) the replacement of old overhead conductors and underground cables.
What if an eligible entity has multiple projects or the same project but multiple locations? Do we have to apply for separate project and/or location?
Yes, if the applying entity desires to fund multiple eligible projects, or the same project in multiple locations, the entity must submit a separate application for each project and/or location.
Is there a limit on the number of project applications an entity can apply for or a dollar amount to be awarded per project?
Not at this time, but the KCC does reserve the right to limit the number of applicant projects to be approved or the dollar amount to be awarded per project if it finds it necessary in the future.
The definition for the small utility class is for utilities that sold less than 4,000,000 MWh in 2021. Is the EIA-861 and EIA-861S being used to determine whether a utility is considered in the small utility class?
If the eligible utility is not listed on the EIA’s website, another data source is acceptable by the DOE if it contains relevant, recent, and complete data. If no data source is available, the utility can submit a formal letter certifying the electricity sales to qualify.
How does my company apply for this Program?
Applications and all required documentation must be submitted online using the Kansas Infrastructure Hub Submittable Portal no later than 5 p.m. CT on December 29, 2023. The Submittable Portal is a an online application-based program that simplifies the application process and manages applicant profiles and proposals across a variety of Kansas state agency funding opportunities. An Application Guide can be found on the KCC’s website.
Does the project have to be completely engineered or would a preliminary engineering report and estimate be sufficient for completing an application to the DOE?
If the proposed project is approved by the KCC and is subsequently found adequate by the DOE, the KCC will provide a subaward to the entity equal to the amounts in its filing with the DOE. Therefore, any estimated costs should be as close as possible to actual costs. However, if the engineering design is necessary for the implementation of the project, the grant funding could potentially be used for the engineering design if it leads to a physical implementation benefitting grid resilience. So, to answer your question the project does not necessarily need to be completely engineered.
I noticed that the projects can extend over 10 years but the funding is only over 5 years. In most funding opportunities the funds are available only for the year of funding. Can projects really extend up to 10 years?
DOE’s guidance states, “DOE anticipates making awards initially with an estimated period of performance of 5 years. Awards may be extended to span the amount of time necessary for Recipients to complete all subaward project efforts, up to 10 years.” It is the KCC’s understanding of this guidance that the project should be for a performance period of no more than 5 years. However, if for some unforeseen reason, such as a supply chain issue, the project term has not been completed in 5 years, the KCC may request approval from DOE to extend the project term up to a maximum term of 10 years.
Does the KCC have a minimum or maximum project limit with the limited amount of funding available?
The KCC stated in its Program Narrative that at this time the KCC does not want to limit project size or scope for funding but will reserve the right to do so later. The KCC does not know what to expect at this point until it sees the applications. The KCC is not imposing a limit on the size or scope of any project at this time.
As to rural, underserved or disadvantaged communities which is a higher priority for funding?
In its Program Narrative the KCC stated as one if its four objectives of the Program that it would “ensure that funds are distributed equitably, particularly in rural, disadvantaged, and underserved communities”. Applications will be evaluated on the established criteria, including community benefit.
How will the KCC fund projects, large utility first then smaller utility?
In its Program Narrative the KCC stated that “Kansas would propose to fund approved projects to the set-aside class of small eligible entities until the federal grant dollars are fully allocated under the set-aside minimum amount. If Kansas does not receive qualified projects from the small set aside entities that fully utilize the minimum set aside amount, Kansas will allocate the remaining funds to other larger eligible entities’ qualified projects. The remaining funds would be allocated first to the small set-aside entities that were not fully funded from the set-aside minimum dollar amount, if any, then to the remaining eligible entities until the federal grant dollars available have been fully allocated.”
From a financial perspective, the KCC is not giving priority to the size of the project or in dollar amount, but how the project meets the purpose and goals of the Program and the criteria of this offering, including community benefit.
Filing for Eligible Entity Status:
From DOE FAQ: “After a grant has been awarded to a State or Indian Tribe, but prior to selecting an entity for a subaward, the State or Indian Tribe must request the Secretary make an eligible entity determination for a proposed entity not identified in Section 40101(a)(2). The State or Indian Tribe must indicate how this proposed eligible entity will generate the greatest community benefit (whether rural or urban) in reducing the likelihood and consequences of disruptive events as required by Section 40101(d)(5). The request for a determination by the Secretary would be initiated by the State or Tribe grant recipient by submitting the request to the Federal Project Officer for the grant agreement. The Federal Project Officer can advise the State or Indian Tribe on the process and information requirements for making the request.”
If two small community utilities joined together to make a filing would the KCC look at a small application? Would it be better if we included more communities?
No entity or project will be considered “too small”. Applications will be evaluated based on the established criteria, including community benefit.
If an organization is going to file an application on behalf of several entities, what is the timeline for DOE to determine if the organization is an eligible entity?
DOE has stated that any requests for an organization to be recognized as an authorized eligible entity should be filed sooner, rather than later. DOE has also stated that this filing should be done prior to a project being submitted to the DOE for finding of adequate. No timeline has been provided to date.
The determination of an eligible entity using the Eligible Entity Notification Form asks for the Recipient Award Number. Does this mean an entity must submit an application before any eligibility determination will be made?
It is the State that must apply for the eligible entity determination, with the assistance of the proposed eligible entity in supplying the necessary information to make the application. The award number required is the State’s award number. As mentioned above, DOE has suggested that any requests for an organization to be recognized as an authorized eligible entity should be filed sooner, rather than later.
For the determination of eligible entity using the Eligible Entity Notification Form, does project detail need to be provided, if so, what level of detail?
In the field “Brief description of the proposed work the Eligible Entity will perform”, a brief (not detailed) description of the work that the Eligible Entity intends to do to benefit grid resilience would be required.