Renewable Energy Direct Cash Reimbursements

Recovery Act Announcement: Energy, Treasury Now Accepting Applications for Funding for Renewable Energy Projects
July 31, 2009

With the goal of expanding development of renewable energy projects throughout the United States and creating new jobs, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced they are now accepting applications for a program that will make direct payments in lieu of tax credits to companies that create and place in service renewable energy facilities. The two Departments estimate distributing at least $3 billion in financial support to approximately 5,000 biomass, solar, wind, and other types of renewable energy production facilities. The funding for this effort is made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Recovery Act authorized Treasury to make direct payments to companies that create and place in service renewable energy facilities beginning January 1, 2009. Previously, these companies could file for a tax credit to cover a portion of the renewable energy project’s cost; under the new program, applicants would agree to forgo future tax credits in favor of an immediate reimbursement of a portion of the property expense. The Energy Department will assist Treasury in implementing this program by reviewing the technical merits of the applications.

Contact us for more information, have a great summer weekend!

Renewable Energy Direct Cash Reimbursements

Funding Under the Green Project Reserve

The current issue of OnTap magazine has an article on the Green Reserve portion of the recovery act allocation in the State Revolving Fund (SRF) program. There are four categories:

1. Green stormwater infrastructure
2. Energy efficiency
3. Water efficiency
4. Innovative environmental projects

There are some exclusions, standard SRF and recovery act regulations apply.

You can access the entire article below:

Green Project Reserve, On Tap Magazine

Related information:

EPA Stormwater PPT

EPA Green Reserve Webcast

ARRA Presentation

Build it Green PPT

Funding Under the Green Project Reserve

Energy Efficiency Block Grant Webinar July 28

In our blog post of July 13 we highlighted an energy efficiency grant program – next week there is a webinar to review potential uses.

For those non-entitlement communities that cannot attend on dates listed above, the state will hold a one-time webcast with the same agenda as the regional workshops.

Webcast:
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
9:00 am – 12:00 am

*Non-entitlement communities are any incorporated city, township or county government that did not receive a federal EECBG allocation under the funding opportunity announcement-DE-FOA-0000013 and is listed in the U.S. Census report of estimated population of MI Cities & Townships by County, 2000-2007.

Register on DLEG’s website at:
http://www.michigan.gov/dleg/0,1607,7-154-25676-217150–,00.html

Energy Efficiency Block Grant Webinar July 28

Local Energy Assurance Planning Initiative, Deadline Oct 8

Today’s featured grant applies to energy planning:

“A goal of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), in part, is to: “facilitate recovery from disruptions to the energy supply” and “enhance reliability and quicker repair of outages.” This initiative will create jobs at the local level and allow Cities to have well-developed, standardized energy assurance and resiliency plans that they can rely on during energy emergencies and supply disruptions. City governments will address energy supply disruption risks and vulnerabilities in their plans to lessen the devastating impact that such incidents have on the economy and the health and safety of citizens.

This initiative, (restricted to U.S. cities) called “Local Energy Assurance Planning” (hereinafter called the LEAP Initiative) focuses on developing new, or refining existing, plans to integrate new energy portfolios (renewables, biofuels, etc) and new applications, such as Smart Grid technology (http://www.oe.energy.gov/smartgrid.htm), into energy assurance and emergency preparedness plans. Better planning efforts will help contribute to the resiliency of the energy sector, including the electricity grid, by focusing on the entire energy supply system, which includes refining, storage, and distribution of fossil and renewable fuels.”

City and township governments are eligible to apply, the program anticipates 50 awards between $60,000 and $300,000 each.

Contact us for more information!

Local Energy Assurance Planning Initiative, Deadline Oct 8

NOAA Coastal Grant Programs Announced

NOAA has released details on several grant programs:

Habitat Restoration – Due Sept. 30
NOAA delivers funding and technical expertise to restore coastal and marine habitats. These habitats support valuable fisheries and protected resources, improve the quality of our water, provide recreational opportunities for the public’s use and enjoyment and buffer our coastal communities from the impacts of storms and sea level rise. Partnerships funded through NOAA have strong on-the-ground habitat restoration components that provide social and economic benefits in addition to long-term ecological habitat improvements that benefit NOAA trust resources. Through this solicitation, NOAA seeks to openly compete funding available for multi-year national and regional habitat restoration Partnerships. Partnerships will result in implementation of a wide-range of individual habitat restoration projects, from locally-driven, grass-roots projects that emphasize stewardship and hands-on restoration, to mid-scale, watershed level projects that yield significant ecological and socio-economic benefits. NOAA envisions working jointly on such Partnerships through its Community-based Restoration Program (CRP) to identify, evaluate, fund, and administer projects that offer this range of ecological, socio- economic and stewardship benefits to coastal watershed communities. This document describes the types of habitat restoration Partnerships that NOAA envisions establishing, portrays the qualities that NOAA deems desirable in such Partnerships, and describes criteria under which applications will be evaluated for funding consideration. Partnership applications selected through this announcement will be implemented through a multi-year cooperative agreement, and will ultimately involve joint selection of multiple community-based habitat restoration projects funded as sub-awards made through the Partner organization. Funding of approximately $10 million is expected to be available to establish habitat restoration Partnerships in 2010, with annual funding anticipated to maintain them for up to 3 years duration. Requests for funding to establish Partnerships typically exceed the funds available for this purpose and the selection process will be highly competitive. Typical Partnership awards will range from $500,000 to $1,000,000 per year. Funds will be administered by the NOAA Restoration Center within NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation. This is not a request for individual community-based habitat restoration project proposals so municipalities will want to contact current CRPs to request assistance.

Marine Debris Removal Project – Due Oct 31
The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP), authorized in the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act (MDRPR Act, 33 U.S.C. 1951 et seq.), provides funding to catalyze the implementation of locally driven, community-based marine debris prevention, assessment and removal projects that will benefit coastal habitat, waterways, and NOAA trust resources. Projects funded through the MDP have strong on-the-ground habitat components involving the removal of marine debris and derelict fishing gear, as well as activities that provide social benefits for people and their communities in addition to long-term ecological habitat improvements for NOAA trust resources. Through this solicitation the MDP identifies marine debris removal projects, strengthens the development and implementation of habitat restoration through the removal of marine debris within communities, and fosters awareness of the effects of marine debris to further the conservation of living marine resource habitats across a wide geographic area. Proposals selected for funding through this solicitation will be implemented through a cooperative agreement. Funding of up to $2,000,000 is expected to be available for Community-based Marine Debris Removal Project Grants in FY 2010.

Contact us for more information!

NOAA Coastal Grant Programs Announced

Economic Impact Model, Renewable Energy

DOE Webcast July 29 for State and Local Officials: “How to Estimate the Economic Impacts from Renewable Energy”

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Technical Assistance Project (TAP) for state and local officials is offering a webcast on how to use a DOE-developed tool to estimate the economic impacts from electric power projects, including renewable energy generation.
The presentation will take place Wednesday, July 29, from 3:00 to 4:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, and is titled “How to Estimate the Economic Impacts from Renewable Energy.” The presenters will be Gail Mosey and Eric Lantz from the DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Attendees will learn how to use an online economic model—called Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (JEDI)—to predict the economic development impacts of renewable energy in your state. Specifically, participants will learn how to use JEDI to design and run an economic impacts analysis and interpret the results. Finally, attendees will see an example of an analysis that the presenters recently carried out using the JEDI Wind Model.

The webcast is free of charge, but participants must register in advance to obtain a URL for the presentation and call-in phone number. Participants can register online, find information about the presenters, and read background materials and reports on the TAP Webcast section of the DOE Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program Web site.

Economic Impact Model, Renewable Energy

Community Large Scale Renewable Energy

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu today announced plans to provide up to $22 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support the planning and installation of utility-scale community renewable energy projects in up to four communities nationwide. This funding opportunity directly supports the Obama Administration’s goals of developing clean, renewable energy supplies, and creating new jobs and economic opportunities.
“American families and businesses are struggling in a recession and an increasingly competitive global economy. The Recovery Act was designed to rescue the economy from the immediate dangers it faces while rebuilding its fundamentals, with an eye toward new industry and opportunity,” Secretary Chu said. “To help meet these challenges, the Recovery Act invests significant dollars to put people to work to spur a revolution in clean energy technologies.”

The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will provide technical assistance to selected recipients, including concepts, best practices, planning, financial approaches, policy guidance, and recognition to help communities rapidly plan and deploy utility-scale renewable energy systems that provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy supplies for their communities, while creating jobs and new economic development opportunities. The projects will demonstrate how multiple renewable energy technologies, including solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal systems, can be deployed at scale to supply clean energy to communities.

DOE anticipates each project will leverage significant investment, including public and private sector investment in renewable energy systems. The projects funded under this Funding Opportunity Announcement are expected to create jobs and avoid 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Up to $22 million in DOE funding is available for these awards in fiscal year 2010. DOE anticipates making up to 4 awards totaling up to $21.45 million, and expects matching funds from public and private investment of $22 million or more.

Successful applicants will be awarded financial assistance to support the implementation of an integrated renewable energy deployment plan for a community, and the construction of renewable energy systems.

Completed applications are due September 3, 2009. DOE will select awardees by the end of November 2009.

Community Large Scale Renewable Energy

Online Class Offered for Wind Energy Siting Guidance

There is a nice opportunity to learn more about wind energy siting issues without incurring the time and expense of traveling to a class. . .

The Land Policy Institute and Michigan Citizen Planner offered training on Wind Energy Siting and Policy Issues in several Michigan cities in fall 2008 and spring 2009. This workshop series, sponsored by Michigan Farm Bureau and Michigan State University, covered a wide variety of issues concerning wind energy, with a focus on wind facility siting and regulation. Training over 1,100 attendees, the workshop provided local officials, farmers and other land owners with the tools and resources necessary to implement a strategic plan for wind energy development in their community. Due to the overwhelming response to the classroom-based workshop series, Michigan Citizen Planner is now offering this workshop online.

Online Course Link

Wind energy has been identified as an important part of Michigan’s plan to develop renewable energy sources. However, many municipalities have not developed clear policies or regulations to address the installation of wind turbines and other necessary equipment. In addition, landowners are seeking resources on how wind business development works and the types of local issues involved in wind energy, such as siting on agricultural lands. To address these issues this workshop will cover:

• The current status and context for wind energy
• Wind energy basics and how wind is harvested
• Wind energy development process
• Michigan policy environment and legislation
• Zoning concepts and local siting issues applied to wind facilities
• Key steps to developing and implementing local zoning regulations
• Zoning sampler: model codes and Michigan examples

This training is presented by:

Wayne R. Beyea, JD, AICP
Statewide Coordinator, Citizen Planner
Associate Director, MSU Land Policy Institute

Chuck McKeown
Renewable Energy Policy Program Manager and Data and Informatics Coordinator, MSU Land Policy Institute

Michigan Citizen Planner is an MSU Extension program within the MSU Land Policy Institute: a partnership that, with the Land Policy Institute Research Team has done extensive research and outreach for wind energy development in Michigan. This presentation shares their knowledge and resources in a format geared toward local officials.

Product includes the 1.5 hour online session and access to presentation materials and handouts

Cost: $69.99

Source: MSU Citizen Planner Program

Online Class Offered for Wind Energy Siting Guidance

Energy Efficiency Block Grant Apps Due Aug 10

Congratulations to the City of Charlevoix for taking the Green Community Challenge!

Michigan Green Communities Challenge is part of the an energy efficiency and renewable energy block grant program created through the federal recovery act. The deadline to apply for these funds has been extended to August 10. Funds may be used community-wide for energy efficiency and energy conservation, projects and programs. These can include: building energy audits, codes and enforcement (development and promotion of zoning changes to promote energy efficient development), material conservation programs (recycling), transportation improvements (including bike paths and walkways), renewable energy for municipal buildings, signals and street lighting, and more.

More information on the program’s basics is available online:

http://www.eecbg.energy.gov/

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dleg/EECBG_FAQ_4.15.09_275244_7.pdf

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dleg/EECBG_Grant_Program_-_Baily_Zetterberg_281242_7.pdf

While larger urban areas have allocations setaside, smaller communities can also apply under the competitive grant allocation category. Michigan has been designated to receive $19,599,600, with an additional $57M+ allocated for the larger urban areas.

MML also has created a challenge on their website:
All Michigan communities are eligible to complete the Basic Challenge, a program designed to reflect the governing body’s commitment to adopt policies and programs of energy efficiency and conservation. If a community decides to accept the Basic Challenge, its governing board must pass a resolution indicating its desire to participate, and complete Steps 1–6 as outlined in the attached materials.

Details are available on MML’s website, a quick summary of the six steps includes:
1. Obtain Organizational Support (Resolution)
2. Assign Responsibility
3. Collect all Energy Data for Governmental Operations
4. Assess Situation and Identify Gaps
5. Develop Goals and Activities: Planning for the Future
6. Measure Performance and Quantify Results

You can apply for these funds whether you are a member of MML or not, however, your community needs to be prepared to complete the steps required by the grant program.

Contact us for more information on making your community more energy efficient!

Energy Efficiency Block Grant Apps Due Aug 10

Should you consider becoming a certified local government?

If your community is fortunate enough to be home to historic sites, you may want to consider applying for Certified Local Government (CLG) status. Once designated a CLG, you can then access grants and incentives that are not available otherwise. In the recent past these grants have included funds for:

Conducting a survey of historic resources;
Preparing nominations to the National Register of Historic Places for buildings, sites, structures, objects and districts in the community;
Developing design guidelines for local historic districts;
Administering a local historic district ordinance;
Preparing a local preservation plan for managing historic resources;
Planning for the protection or the restoration of national register sites;
Preparing a feasibility study for restoration of a historic structure;
Restoration of national register-listed properties; or
Educating the community on historic preservation through the publication of brochures, a speaker’s bureau, or the development of a website.

Currently there are no CLGs in northwest Michigan, although Traverse City, Charlevoix, Cadillac and Boyne City carry a local district designation. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 was amended in 1980 to provide for a federal-state-local preservation partnership. Grant funds were made available from the National Park Service through the State Historic Preservation Offices for Certified Local Governments (CLGs) to initiate and support historic preservation activities at the local level.

Since then, nineteen Michigan local governments have become CLGs. Any municipality can become a CLG: a county, a township, a large city or small village, or a town. By meeting a few simple but important standards, a community may receive financial aid and technical assistance that will enhance and promote historic neighborhoods and commercial districts. An active CLG program can become an important planning vehicle for community development by identifying specific preservation projects and applying for grants to carry out the projects. The SHPO provides guidance for all units of government to initiate and develop such programs.

The Benefits of Becoming a CLG
Becoming a CLG makes a community eligible to apply for subgrants available only to CLG communities. At least 10 percent of the annual Historic Preservation Fund grant made to Michigan under the National Historic Preservation Act must be distributed to the CLGs. Becoming a CLG ensures that historic preservation issues are understood and addressed at the local level and are integrated into the local planning and decision-making process at the earliest possible opportunity.

Becoming a CLG can expand a local unit’s participation in the historic preservation program through the National Register nomination process and, with qualified staff, other programs such as review of federal undertakings for impact on historic resources under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Participation in the CLG Program promotes a positive image for the community by being a demonstration of commitment on the part of local officials to work with the state and federal government to preserve historic resources.

Obligations and Requirements
To qualify for certification, a local unit of government must have adopted a local historic preservation ordinance that complies with Michigan’s Local Historic Districts Act, PA 169 of 1970, as amended, and meets the guidelines set forth in the CLG Manual.

Once certified, a CLG is required to maintain an ongoing system for the survey and inventory of historic resources; must develop four-year historic preservation goals for the community;
is required to provide for adequate public participation in the local historic preservation program; may participate in the process of nominating historic properties to the National Register of Historic Places; and will be monitored every four years to ensure that all responsibilities are being met.

Contact us for more information!

Source: State of Michigan, Historic Preservation

Should you consider becoming a certified local government?