Advanced Renewable Energy Project Grant Solicitation
Questions and Answers.

Questions and answers listed here have been submitted in response to the solicitation for the Nebraska Energy Office’s Advanced Renewable Energy Project. Questions submitted electronically are usually answered within three working days. Questions submitted via mail or phone will not be answered.

July 28, 2009

I have a question regarding the availability of funding through this solicitation. We have received tax credits to rehab an historic building located in Omaha, Nebraska. We have had several conversations on including renewable energy technologies (solar hot water system and a geothermal system) in this project. The building, which is currently vacant, will be restored to 16 apartments for low income families.

Would these be consistent with the intent of this solicitation?

Use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds requires coordination with and the support of state historical preservation agencies to qualify for funding.

If this project was submitted under the solicitation, it appears it would meet the renewable energy criteria outlined in the proposal subject to meeting the other criteria/conditions listed.

The project would likely also be eligible for a 2.5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loan of up to $750,000 since the renewable energy systems would be part of a larger energy efficiency building retrofit.

Are there any programs to fund rural grid tied wind generators? We have a small farm ideally suited for wind generation.

The above described project would likely not meet the criteria of the Advanced Renewable Energy Project solicitation.

Funding for this type of project can be obtained from the Nebraska Energy Office’s Dollar and Energy Savings Loans at 2.5%, or from the USDA Rural Development’s 9007 grants.
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July 29, 2009

Is it feasible under the current guidelines for the Village to hook up the Village shop, fire barn, library and senior center using wind energy?

Wind energy is an eligible technology under the solicitation. For this project to be successful under the solicitation, the applicant would have to describe how the renewable technology is being used in new ways or utilizes cutting edge technologies. For example, several technologies might never have been used together in a Nebraska project, or the technology has never been utilized in the state. Whether the project described in the question would be funded will, in part, be determined by the qualities of the competing applications.

This project would be eligible for a 2.5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loan for up to $75,000 for a 12 kW wind turbine system and grid interconnection. Whether that would provide sufficient power for all the buildings is not known.
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July 30, 2009

We are undertaking a project to convert agriculture byproducts into a bio-based plastic resin.  We are initially exploring the conversion DDG into this plastic resin and will explore the use of crop residue like wheat straw and corn stover.  We would build a plant for conversion of about 90 million lbs of material annually into a bio-resin for a wide variety of applications in plastics manufacturing. This will be a direct replacement for petroleum based resins.  While it is not a conversion of bio-based products to energy, it is a direct replacement of petroleum.  Could we have a conversation about this project fitting under this grant's guidelines?

While a project that converts ethanol waste products and crop waste in a bio-based resin that would replace petroleum is laudable, this project would likely not meet the solicitation’s criteria since one of the key requirements is “By March 30, 2012, the proposed project must be generating measurable amounts of energy.”

Under the State Energy Program guidelines that apply to this solicitation, new construction is not eligible. So, constructing a plant could not be financed. The question is unclear if this conversion of agricultural by-products is research or not. If the project involves research, it could not be funded under this solicitation because research is prohibited under State Energy Program rules.

There may be other nationally available funding – grants or loan guarantees – from either the U.S. Department of Energy or the U.S. Department of Agriculture that could potentially provide financial support to the development of this project. On July 30, 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the availability of up to $36 billion in loan guarantees “depending on the applications and market conditions” for renewable energy projects, biofuels and large transmission projects. Of the $36 billion:

  • Up to $8.5 billion in lending authority supported by 2009 annual appropriations for renewable energy.
  • Up to $2 billion in subsidy costs, provided by the Recovery Act, to support billions in loans for renewable energy and electric power transmission projects.
  • Up to $500 million in subsidy costs to support loans for cutting edge biofuel projects funded by the Recovery Act
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July 31, 2009

Are recently completed projects eligible? The building in question employs a geothermal heat pump system and a wind turbine still in the process of troubleshooting - not operational yet.

Projects begun before financial assistance awards have been negotiated and approved by the Energy Office are not eligible to receive a grant under this solicitation.

Are there any funding restrictions if a project would seek to utilize tax credits in addition to the grant funding?

The availability of tax credits from other sources would not disqualify this project. A cash match of 15 percent would still be required to meet eligibility criteria.
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Aug. 3, 2009

Is a limited liability company organized under Nebraska law an eligible applicant for financial assistance under this solicitation?

Yes, a limited liability company organized under Nebraska law is an eligible applicant under this solicitation.
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Aug. 5, 2009

The solicitation states that a subdivision of Nebraska government may be an eligible applicant. Can you clarify what types of entities qualify under that definition, i.e. cities, counties, etc.?

Any political subdivision of the state of Nebraska is eligible under the solicitation. Eligible applicants would include villages, second class, first class, primary class and metropolitan cities; counties; joint action agencies; natural resource districts, school districts; community colleges and other similar entities.
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Aug. 11, 2009

On page 6 of the Funding Opportunity announcement for Advanced Renewable Energy Projects, the following applicant eligibility is defined:

Legal Nebraska residents: a Nebraska taxpayer, a Nebraska partnership, a Nebraska-chartered corporation, a subdivision of Nebraska government, or a person who has maintained a permanent residence and lived in the state for more than one year

Does the term a Nebraska chartered corporation include a Nebraska limited liability company?

Yes, a Nebraska limited liability company is an eligible applicant.
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Aug. 12, 2009

Two questions on the same topic: Buy American provision.

Question #1 The solicitation states that manufactured goods are to be produced in the United States. How is the term, produced, defined and what source will be used to verify this requirement?

Question #2 I see funding is permitted for equipment that is US sourced only. Is this a 100% ratio? I understand defense contracts must be 50% domestic. My concern is that the world of advanced renewables is centered outside of the US and certain components for systems will need to be sourced outside of the US because they simply aren't available here or are inferior.

Is there a domestic/foreign ration that can be applied or can the grant applicant outline why foreign equipment is needed and that it is not available in the United States.

The American manufactured goods requirement for iron, steel and manufactured goods is based on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act legislation passed by Congress. Written statements from the manufacturer attesting to the origin of the metal used in the equipment may be sufficient to comply with this provision. The Energy Office has asked for information on this provision, but at this time the U.S. Department of Energy has provided no guidance on how this provision of the Act will be enforced.

The Buy American provision from L.R. 1:

SEC. 1605. USE OF AMERICAN IRON, STEEL, AND MANUFACTURED GOODS. (a) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for a project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public building or public work unless all of the iron, steel, and manufactured goods used in the project are produced in the United States. (b) Subsection (a) shall not apply in any case or category of cases in which the head of the Federal department or agency involved finds that (1) applying subsection (a) would be inconsistent with the public interest; (2) iron, steel, and the relevant manufactured goods are not produced in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available quantities and of a satisfactory quality; or (3) inclusion of iron, steel, and manufactured goods produced in the United States will increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25 percent. (c) If the head of a Federal department or agency determines that it is necessary to waive the application of subsection (a) based on a finding under subsection (b), the head of the department or agency shall publish in the Federal Register a detailed written justification as to why the provision is being waived. (d) This section shall be applied in a manner consistent with United States obligations under international agreements.
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Aug. 13, 2009

Two questions about the Letter of Intent due September 3, 2009:

What is the desired content of the letter of intent?

What does a letter of intent consist of?

The answer to the question can be found on page 6 of the solicitation, Part IV Letter of Intent, Application and Submission Information, Part_B:

B. LETTER OF INTENT

Letter of Intent.
Applicants are required to submit a letter of intent by September 3, 2009. This Letter of Intent should include the name and contact information of the applicant, the title of the project, the name of the Project Director/Principal Investigator(s), the amount of funding requested, the amount being provided as match, the total project cost and on the remainder of the page, a description of the project. An applicant may submit more than one application if the projects are different. If multiple projects are being submitted a Letter of Intent is required for each project. Letters of Intent and accompanying project descriptions will be used by the Nebraska Energy Office to organize and expedite the merit review process. Letters of Intent should not contain any proprietary or sensitive business information. The Letter of Intent must not exceed one (1) page when printed using standard 8.5 by 11 paper with 1 margins (top, bottom, left and right) with font no smaller than 11 point. The letter of intent should be sent by email to: AdvRenewGrants@nebraska.gov. “

In general, applicants should describe the proposed project in sufficient detail that a reviewer can ascertain if the project will meet the definition for renewable energy identified on page 7, and the seven objectives identified also on page 7:

The objectives of this Advanced Renewable Energy Project solicitation are to: 1) increase renewable energy generation in Nebraska; 2) demonstrate the use of renewable energy technologies in new ways; 3) deploy cutting edge renewable energy technologies in the state, 4) generate energy from renewable resources on or before March 30, 2012, 5) avoid greenhouse gas emissions, 6) leverage funds; and 7) create and retain jobs.

The URL for the electronic form Letter of Intent is at http://www.neo.ne.gov/grants/documents/sf-424%20letterofintentf.pdf. Applicants can complete the form and email it, or print a hard copy and submit it.

We have completed a research project which involves a method for the extraction and conversion of oil in the distillers grains to biodiesel. Would a pilot scale demonstration unit be within the guidelines of the announcement?

Under the State Energy Program rules which apply to this solicitation, demonstration projects are not allowed. Pilot projects are allowed. The distinction between the two is based on likelihood of replication. Demonstration projects rarely result in the technology being used in similar applications. However, pilot projects are specifically designed so that the technology can be used by others in similar applications. The answer to this question is two-fold: extraction and conversion of oil in distillers grains to biodiesel is eligible under the renewable energy definition; and a pilot scale unit might be eligible, but a pilot scale demonstration unit would not be eligible. Another program rule governing these funds relates to new construction, which is prohibited. So, depending on how the pilot scale unit was configured, it might or might not be eligible.

Is a Landfill Gas to Energy Project eligible under the solicitation?

The answer to this question is found on page 7 of the solicitation, under the Statement of Objectives, B. Objectives, second paragraph, third bullet, lines 10-13 (highlighted below):

This solicitation focuses on demonstrating new ways renewable energy technology can be deployed to enable Nebraska to maximize its potential as a leader in renewable energy generation and utilization of advanced technologies. For the purposes of this solicitation, renewable energy is defined as:

  • Energy efficiency hydropower projects. Projects that improve theefficiency of an existing hydropowersystem, such as replacement equipment.
  • Hydropower. Energy created by use of various types of moving water including, but not limited to, diverted run-of-river water; in-stream run-of-river water; inconduit water; or geothermally heated surface water.
  • Renewable biomass. (i) Materials, pre-commercialthinnings, or invasive species that:(A) are byproducts of preventivetreatments that are removed to reducehazardous fuels; reduce or containdisease or insect infestation; or restore ecosystem health;(B) would not otherwise be used forhigher-value products; and(C) are harvested in accordance withapplicable law and land managementplans and the requirements for old growthmaintenance, restoration; or (ii) Any organic matter that is available on a renewable or recurring basis, including(A) Renewable plant material, including feed grains; other agricultural commodities; other plants and trees; and algae; or (B) Waste material, including crop residue; other vegetative waste material (including wood waste and wood residues); animal waste and byproducts (including fats, oils, greases, and manure); and food, yard and landfill waste.
  • Renewable energy. Energy derived from: (i) A wind, solar, renewable biomass, geothermal or hydroelectric source; or (ii) Hydrogen derived from renewable biomass or water using wind, solar, geothermal or hydroelectric energy sources.
  • Renewable energy hydropower project. A new energy generation projectthat uses moving water as the feedstockequivalent.”

Gas production from landfill waste would be an eligible project under the solicitation.
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Aug. 18, 2009

When will the matching fund payment become due and owing? Is the 15 percent number a base number and could larger payment be required?

The 15 percent cash matching requirement is the minimum necessary to qualify for a grant. Larger percentages of matching funds will be taken into consideration during the review process. Successful projects are likely to be selected by February 3, 2010. The project must be generating measurable amounts of energy by March 30, 2012. Within those two dates, the cash match must be available for use on the project. The agency will verify matching fund availability during the review and contract negotiation processes.

I have noted that on Form SF 424 that 'construction' is not allowed. Can you elaborate on what this is or isn't?

Form SF424 is one of several forms required in the full application under this solicitation. Because this solicitation is using funds from the State Energy Program, the rules of that program apply. Under the State Energy Program, new construction is not an eligible use of those funds. New construction is generally defined as a new building or bricks and mortar type projects is not eligible for funding. The cost of a wind turbine or solar panels would be eligible.

The renovation plans for a city auditorium (listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a Save America's Treasurers designation) includes a geothermal heating and cooling system and roof top solar array for electrical generation, as well as a complete energy efficiency envelope upgrade. The renewable energy used to operate the community building will allow for much reduced operating costs. Would this project be eligible for funding?

If the city applied for a grant under this solicitation, it would be an eligible applicant. Some of the planned improvements a geothermal heating and cooling system and roof top solar array for electrical generation would meet the renewable energy criteria. The applicant would have to explain how the project is using renewable energy technologies in new ways or using cutting edge technologies in the state. The portion of the project dealing with the complete energy efficiency envelope upgrade which may include new windows, doors and insulation would not be eligible since those are not renewable energy technologies. If this project were selected for funding, the recipient would have to work with the State Historic Preservation Office regarding any changes to the building.
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Aug. 20, 2009

I have a provisional U.S. patent on a device to produce electricity from slow moving water. I feel this device is much more efficient than the screws now being used. I would request a $200,000 grant to develop and test a prototype. My match would be $30,000. If my grant request is selected, but I am unable to secure a qualified company to finance, develop and test a prototype, would I be able to withdraw my request?

Under State Energy Program rules, this project would not be eligible for selection because developing and testing a prototype is not an eligible use of the funds. Only commercially available technology can be used in State Energy Program projects.
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Aug. 25, 2009

Is a religiously affiliated organization precluded from applying for an Advanced Renewable Energy Project Grant? Our project involves new construction on a Catholic educational center and updated energy projects for a Catholic church and Catholic elementary school.

Religious affiliated organizations are eligible to apply under the solicitation. However, State Energy Program rules prohibit new construction. Renewable energy projects in existing buildings would be an eligible use of the funds, but not the Catholic educational center project.
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Aug. 26, 2009

Under this solicitation, would a ground source heat pump system for heating and cooling qualify or is geothermal meant in a different way? I am working with a client planning a new building project in Nebraska. The client is a not-for profit and it is a partnership with a municipal government.

Yes, all geothermal technologies would meet eligibility criteria listed in the definition of renewable energy in the solicitation. Non-profits and political subdivisions of government are eligible applicants. But, new construction is not eligible for funding under State Energy Program rules.

Are grants available under this solicitation for wind measuring (MET) towers?

No, meteorological towers for measuring wind speeds would not be eligible for a grant under this solicitation because no energy would be generated.

I have found the forms on the website and noted that the letter of intent can be emailed, but to where?

The Letter of Intent (as well as full the full application) can be emailed to advrenewgrants@nebraska.gov
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Aug. 31, 2009

Am I eligible for this grant to put a 30-50 KWH wind turbine on my farm?

Wind technologies are eligible. If the applicant and the project location are in Nebraska, those requirements would be met. To be successful, the applicant would have to describe how the wind turbine is being used in a new and different way or has incorporated cutting edge technology

I assume that the Letter of Intent is one or more pages, due Sept 3rd. and all other forms listed below will be due on Nov 3rd.
• Application for Federal Assistance - SF 424 NE PDF
• Project Narrative PDF
• Scope of Work PDF
• Milestone Timeline Word Doc.
• Milestone Timeline Example PDF
• Deliverables PDF
• Project Summary/Abstract PDF
• SF424A-NE Excel, Budget Information - Non-Construction Programs Excel Doc.

Only the one-page (not more, please) Letter of Intent is due September 3, 2009. The documents that comprise the complete application (listed above) are due November 3, 2009.
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Sept. 1, 2009

We want to add a thermal energy storage tank chilled water to our chilled water and distribution system. The tank would be recharged with renewable energy typically off-peak power. Connection of the tank to the chilled water system requires installation of pumps and pipes to feed and draw down the tank in addition to site work, tank construction and related expenses. Are all these costs eligible?

Costs related to the installation and necessary operation of renewable technologies would be eligible.

We own an Atlas F missile silo in southeast Nebraska that is being converted into a home. We are putting in a solar/wind system along with a solar hot water system, would this qualify for this grant? We have commissioned a business in Lincoln to do this work for us and would need approx $20,000 for this project.

To be successful, the applicant would have to describe how the solar and wind systems are being used in a new and different way or have incorporated cutting edge technology.

In reading the responses to questions submitted, it is now clear to us that new construction projects are not eligible for these funds. Are there any other funding opportunities available for incorporating renewable energy technology in new building construction?

The Energy Office does finance renewable technologies – wind, solar and fuel cell – up to $75,000 with 2.5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans.  Other state and federal agencies may have funds available for new construction.  You should contact the state’s Department of Economic Development and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. 
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Sept. 9, 2009

Will grant funds be treated as taxable income by the state of Nebraska?

This question will have to be answered by your tax advisor or a representative from the Nebraska Department of Revenue. 
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Sept. 15, 2009

Will the Letter of Intent be part of the success or failure of an application?

If the Letter of Intent clearly describes the project proposal and the project is clearly not compliant with the listed criteria of the solicitation or State Energy Program rules, then the project cannot be selected or funded.

When will the draw down of the funds be available?

The funds will only be available after a project has been selected and an agreement between the Energy Office and the applicant has been negotiated. One area of negotiation is under what conditions the release of funds will occur.

What will happen if the applicant is awarded a grant and because of unforeseen reasons does not deliver in the promise to provide the results or the project fails to be completed?

With the review and selection process planned and the frequent monitoring of projects selected, the agency does not anticipate recipients’ failing to achieve proposal objectives. Recipients are unlikely to be advanced the entire grant amount requested after a contract has been negotiated. Expenses claims will be processed throughout the contract period and will be based on project progress. If a selected project is clearly not able to meet its contractual obligations, the project and any financing will be terminated.

As information is gathered and the budget refined for the grant application in November, can the project cost and grant amount be modified as shown in the Letter of Intent?

As the project details are ascertained, costs and the amount of request can be changed (within reasonable limits) from the estimates provided in the Letter of Intent. 

Does the Energy Office respond to the Letter of Intent as to whether a proposed project qualifies, or do you file the full application regardless?

Do applicants receive feedback on the Letter of Intent submitted and whether it is worth submitting the full application?

Will the Energy Office provide any feedback to the Letter of Intent that was submitted? For example, if the proposed project meets the criteria to be considered before undertaking to complete the full application?

Projects that a clearly ineligible based on the information provided Letter of Intent will be notified in writing that the applicant should not proceed with completing a full application package. 
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Sept. 22, 2009

When can one expect to have response to Letter of Intent?

The agency has completed the compilation and initial review of 112 applications requesting $135 million under the solicitation.  A letter or email will be sent to applicants the week of September 28.

Are 'Deliverables' (one of the forms in the application package) considered to be attachments that will assist in understanding the project? And are the 'Deliverables' limited?

Deliverables in the world of federal funding generally refer to reports, videos, software and similar types of products that may be one of the activities associated with a project. If the project being proposed has no deliverables, then the applicant should indicate that on the form in the application package. The number of deliverables is not limited, but obviously limited by the amount of funding available. For example, if an activity required an informational booklet, the number of deliverables would be the quantity of the booklets produced.
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Oct. 1, 2009

Can grant funding be transferred from one Nebraska entity to another? For example, Nebraska Entity A receives grant approval, but desires to operate the facility as a separate entity, Nebraska Entity B?

Looking at this issue hypothetically, it is possible that a city or county could be the applicant and pass the grant to another entity.  However, under this solicitation there were few applicants excluded from the grant solicitation (entities not based in the state and applicants not living in the state, etc.), so the rationale for doing this is perplexing.  If the original applicant has encountered project problems, they could not be a substitute for another entity that failed to submit a Letter of Intent prior to the deadline.  Without knowing more about why this approach is being contemplated, we are unable to answer the question.
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Oct. 2, 2009

A consultant we are using has indicated stimulus funding opportunities expire at the end of 2012 rather than March 2012 completion time in this grant solicitation. Which date is accurate, is there any way the existing deadline can be extended?

The solicitation deadline of March 31, 2012 for project completion remains unchanged.  At this time, U.S. Department of Energy has not extended that deadline for activities funded under the State Energy Program which is the source of funding for this solicitation.   The Department may alter the deadline in the future, but we would advise you to not plan on an extension.   Projects extending beyond March 31, 2012 will be excluded from consideration.   

The response to the letters of intent indicated that alternative power production must be from commercially available sources. The grant solicitation guidance indicates that power sources should be state of the art and proven technologies. Can you clarify for me what “commercially available” means? I had planned to use tested, proven technology for wind, but purchase manufactured parts to build the wind system (rotors, braking mechanisms, voltage regulators, etc). Would this be considered “commercially available,” or must the wind turbine be pre-manufactured, then purchased and installed?

A number of state of the art or advanced technologies have yet to be utilized in Nebraska. That is one of the goals of the solicitation. Because the $5 million came from State Energy Program funds, the rules governing the use of those funds apply to this solicitation. “Commercially available” is generally defined as being available for purchase for at least 12 months. In this particular project proposal, if the elements (rotors, braking mechanisms, etc) have been available for sale for the preceding 12 months, then that should meet the test of “commercially available.”
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Oct. 6, 2009

If the applications are not due until November 3, 2009, why is the solicitation closed to new applications?

Under the solicitation, a required Letter of Intent was due on September 3, 2009.  Once that deadline passed, only those who submitted a Letter of Intent became eligible to apply for a grant. 

On the Advanced Renewable Energy Grant Application, do you want the applicant’s request to be identified under “State” or under “ARRA”?

On Form SF-424 NE, the applicant would list the grant funds being requested under category e. ARRA.  Category c. State would be used if the applicant was using state funds as part of the project costs. 

A company in Nebraska wants to use our product in Nebraska, if his grant application is approved. We have a DUNS number and are registered with CCR. Does the Nebraska company need a DUNS number or can he use ours?? Or should we add him as authorized on our DUNS/CCR? Which is ok/legal with the Nebraska government?

Only successful applicants will be required to register and receive a DUNS number and CCR application with the U.S. Department of Energy.  The Nebraska company will be receiving the grant, not a product supplier.  As such, the Nebraska company will have to file to receive its own DUNS number and CCR registration.

Are we to assume from the letter dated September 25, 2009, that we should go ahead and submit the actual application package due November 3rd?

All 112 applicants received an identical letter dated September 25, 2009.  Each applicant should read the letter carefully.  If the applicant’s project contains elements that are ineligible for funding or contained other deficiencies, those items would have to be addressed in the full application package.  If the applicant is unable to have a successful project without including ineligible elements, then the applicant would be advised not to file.
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Oct. 8, 2009

Are the project narrative and scope of work forms limited to the 11 point font minimum like listed for the letter of intent, milestone timeline, deliverables, and project summary/abstract forms?

Applicants are advised to use 11 point font minimum that was used in the Letter of Intent.  The solicitation specifically lists 11 point type for use on several of the required forms in the full application package. 

It is my understanding the Energy Office received 135 applications requesting, in total, $135 million dollars in funding. What is the total amount of funds available to be awarded from the Energy Office to all successful applicants under this solicitation?

The Energy Office received 112 applications totaling more than $135 million.  Only a total of $5 million will be awarded under this solicitation.

The forms available on the Solicitation web site are not formatted for 1” margins as required by the instructions given in the full solicitation. Should we use the forms “as is” or should we make our own forms using the forms and instructions as a guide?

Thank you for catching this inconsistency.  The online forms are being revised to conform with the margins listed in the solicitation.  You can certainly begin the application narrative (and other parts), and then copy and paste the text into the properly formatted forms which should be available by October 13.
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Oct. 13, 2009

My company began construction on a project, but had to suspend construction at the point of being 70% complete due to the weakened economy and the impact on the capital market. The grant money from this solicitation would help re-start construction, and allow completion of a project which meets all criteria stipulated in the solicitation. Can a project which is 70% constructed qualify for grant money?

If the grant funds were used for construction that would not be an eligible use since new construction is prohibited by the State Energy Program rules.  However, the agency does not have sufficient information about the proposed project to make a determination on this issue.
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Oct. 14, 2009

Your press release dated 7/24/09 stated that grant awards range from $5,000 to $5,000,000. However, your website notes that 112 applicants requesting $135,000,000 submitted letters of intent and there is a total of $5,000,000 available to be awarded. Is there a preferred award amount or range that you want applicants to keep in mind?

You are correct:  There is only $5,000,000 available to be awarded under this solicitation.   While 112 applicants requested a total of $135,000,000, not all of those applicants may submit the complete application package on or before November 3, 2009.   Applicants should request only what is necessary and eligible for a successful project. 

Are graphics such as pictures, graphs, and similar items allowed in the Project Narrative, Scope of Work, and Deliverable forms?

As long as the length requirements for each specific form are not exceeded, pictures, illustrations and graphics may be used if it helps project reviewers better understand the project. 

I had submitted the letter of intent on time and then received the letter that covered items not eligible for funding. I had not read anything about new building construction not being eligible for funding. This will change the amount my project would need to be completed. Do I need to send some type of change to my letter of intent or just make the changes in the application package?

No changes to the Letter of Intent are necessary.  The agency expects that as applicants further define their project in light of program rules and eligible costs, revisions to projects described in the Letter of Intent may occur.  For example, new construction is not eligible under State Energy Program rules and that may require some applicants to modify their plans. 
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Oct. 15, 2009

Are there any instructions to completing the form SF-424A-NE? Is there someone that can assist me in completing the form? Is there any place that defines the information that is to be put in the boxes on the form?

The SF-424A-NE was adapted by our office from a federal version of the Standard Form 424A. Instructions to complete the federal version of the form can be found at: http://www.grants.gov/assets/DraftInstructionsSF424%20A_DOL.pdf . To ensure fairness to all applicants, we are not able to provide individual assistance with completion of the form.  
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Oct. 19, 2009

The Energy Office letter that was sent to all who submitted Letters of Intent lists eligible items that can be funded and ineligible items for which funding is not available. My project focuses on wind, solar, and efficient building systems. A component of the project had intended to use grant monies to train workers to safely install and maintain these new energy efficient systems. Your letter states that educational activities are not eligible, so does that mean that any training costs that I have in order to train workers cannot be covered by the grant?

Educational activities are specifically listed as ineligible for this solicitation. Training activities might be funded under several Recovery Act programs through the U.S. Department of Labor.  The state and numerous partners have applied for an Energy Training Partnership grant that provides training and supportive services that lead to the employment in renewable energy industries.  Registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships are strongly encouraged in that program.  There may be other training opportunities as well.  If education is included in any response to the Advanced Renewable Energy Efficiency Project solicitation, the project will not be eligible for funding.

Your letter dated Sept 25, 2009 noted location of proposed project could not be determined. In our particular proposal there are two Nebraska locations under consideration, subject to assessing soil conditions and verification of wind speeds. How would you suggest I specify a site location, and or meet your criteria?

All 112 applicants received an identical letter dated September 25, 2009. The exact location(s) of the project must be clearly defined in the application. If there are two potential locations that needs to be indicated in the application.
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Oct. 21, 2009

We are planning to install up to 25 windmill installations for SINGLE home use within the state of Nebraska. The specific addresses are unknown at this time. Are specific addresses required for a successful application?

Yes, the exact location(s) of the project must be clearly defined in the application. If there are several potential locations that needs to be indicated in the application.
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Oct. 23, 2009

Does an LLC organized in Delaware but doing business in Nebraska qualify as an eligible applicant as long as project is in Nebraska?

The Funding Opportunity Announcement states,

“Eligibility for financial assistance under this solicitation is restricted to the following: Legal Nebraska residents: a Nebraska taxpayer, a Nebraska partnership, a Nebraska-chartered corporation, a subdivision of Nebraska government, or a person who has maintained a permanent residence and lived in the state for more than one year.” From the information provided in this question the LLC does not qualify as an eligible applicant.

We are an LLC requesting specific reference points with regard to ARRA guidelines for any requirements for use of American made equipment in our plant. We reviewed the Office of Mgt. Attachment 10. Will we be allowed any flexibility with regard to changing the location of our plant following grant approval, or would it be to our advantage to list both proposed sites in our application?

The question seems to refer to a project involving the siting of a plant which is new construction. New construction is not an allowable activity. Regarding the Buy American Act, the attached link includes additional guidance on complying with Buy American provisions: http://www.management.energy.gov/documents/ARRAGuideAttachment10v1.pdf.

Question(s): Our business is building a new building. The building is under construction at this time. The building is scheduled to be finished mid-2010. Construction has not yet begun on a companion photovoltaic solar project. This would be a 44.1 kilowatt tracking system. Would this photovoltaic tracking system qualify for a renewable grant from the Nebraska Energy Office under the federal Advanced Renewable Energy Grant? Or, conversely, would it be disqualified because it would be considered new construction? Thank you.

The building itself would be considered new construction, and no part of the building could be included in the proposal.  However, provided no part of the construction of the building is included in the proposal, a 44.1 kilowatt tracking photovoltaic system which did not exceed the energy requirements of the building, and which would be in operation prior to March 30, 2012, may be eligible.

Are sections F, section G, and section H, on page 9 to be included in our application by Nov. 3, or are they to be submitted after the finalists have been selected?

Section F (Project Abstract) and Section G (SF 424A NE EXCEL – Budget Information– Non Construction Programs) ARE REQUIRED as part of the application that is to be submitted by Nov. 3.

Section H Budget Justification will be required if the project is selected for funding.
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Oct. 29, 2009

The forms provided include only sections A,B, and C, yet the federal instructions discuss sections D, E F as well. Are we only required to fill out what you have provided? Also, Line 7 section B asks for program income. The instructions state to estimate amount of income expected to be generated from this project. For clarification, with a project putting up a wind turbine with ability to generate energy to be sold once the project is completed, do we show the estimated income potential after the project is complete or does this refer to income only during the project timeline which in this case would be up to point of commissioning the turbine.

The SF-424A-NE was adapted by our office from a federal version of the Standard Form 424A and does not have a section D, E or F as referred to in the instructions for the federal version.

On Line 7, Section B Program Income, report program income expected (if any) from the date the project is started to the date the project is completed and all project funds are expended.

Is any more detail needed for this form other than the summary line items. For example, on Section B for the different Object Class Categories, Personnel, do you just need to show a line item number or are you looking for detail support for this budget category such as hours, etc?

No additional detail is needed for the application that is due by Nov. 3. Applications chosen for funding will be required to submit a full budget justification.

Question(s): We are the LLC which asked the two separate questions regarding site selection and use of American made equipment in our plant. We are not asking about new construction, but if the ARRA guidelines pertain at all to processing equipment motors, shredders, conveyors, etc. used inside the plant. The second question was regarding our site selection. Is there any flexibility with regard to changing the plant location post grant approval?

This question does not contain enough information to determine which ARRA guidelines apply to a project. Applicants should assume that ARRA requirements including but not limited to: Davis Bacon wage compliance, National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), and Buy American will be required of any project approved for funding under this announcement and specifics as to compliance with such regulations will be determined at that time.

No, please review similar questions regarding site selection that were posted on Oct. 19 and 21. As they indicate, the project location(s) needs to be identified in the project application.

While any new construction required for project execution are clearly not allowed, can project installation costs that necessitate existing building modification, cement footings, electrical work, etc be used as match funding to be paid by applicant?

The required 15% cash match must be applied to eligible costs according to the State Energy Program regulations.

What is the email address to use to submit proposals?

Proposals can be sent via email to AdvRenewGrants@nebraska.gov

Does the Milestone Timeline need to be completed in the format provided or can it be different as long as it fits on one page?

 Yes, the Milestone Timeline needs to be completed in the format provided.


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