Commerce announces two energy financing programs

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Minnesota Department of Commerce Funding Opportunities Header

July 10, 2015

New Rev It Up Program to help local government units finance community energy efficiency, renewable energy projects

Through its new Rev It Up Program, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is soliciting request for proposals from local government units that are seeking low-cost, long-term capital to finance community energy efficiency and renewable energy system projects. The program allows units of local government to compete for funding designed to increase community energy efficiency systems in the built environments and to increase renewable energy production throughout the state that result in reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Minnesota Legislature provided Commerce with authority to issue up to $100 million in revenue bonds, of which up to $20 million shall be reserved for community energy efficiency and renewable energy projects taking place in small businesses and public buildings, with the balance of funding reserved to provide loans or other aids to industrial or commercial businesses and healthcare facilities for cost-effective energy efficiency projects or to install renewable energy systems.

The RFP and required forms are available for download on the Commerce website. Proposals are due no later than 11:59 p.m., Aug. 7, 2015.

Public entity loan program supports energy audits, renewable energy feasibility studies

A loan program to provide public entities with funds needed to pay for energy audits and renewable energy feasibility studies was recently launched by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Loan applications will be accepted from public entities on a first-come, first-served basis until all program funds have been allocated. Eligible entities include any agency or institution of the state, a county, a statutory or home rule charter city, a town, a school district, or a special taxing district of the state. Read more for program guidelines and an application.

Recent funding opportunities

The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources compiles some of the latest local, state, and federal funding opportunities related to energy research, development, education, and other energy-related topics. Several of the most recent funding opportunities are highlighted below. A more extensive list of opportunities that are current and open for application is available on the Commerce website; it includes the two opportunities above and several other energy financing programs supported by Commerce.


DOE: Concentrating Solar Power: Concentrating Optics for Lower Levelized Energy Costs (COLLECTS) DE-FOA-0001268. seeks to further CSP system technologies by soliciting disruptive, transformative projects for the concentrating solar collectors in the CSP plant. These innovative projects will seek to surpass the targets set out in the SunShot Vision Study, enabling CSP to be cost-competitive with conventional forms of electric power generation. Due Aug. 25, 2015.

DOE: Request for Information: Photovoltaics Research and Development DE-FOA-0001361. The purpose of this RFI is to gauge the issues and opportunities that the research and industrial communities find most important in reducing the levelized cost of energy associated with photovoltaic power generation. Due July 15, 2015.


DOE: Request for Information: Advanced Biofuel Blends in Small Engine DE-FOA-0001373. Seeks stakeholder input on (1) the potential to optimize and/or modify small engines to utilize ethanol blends greater than 10% (E10) and (2) the barriers limiting the expansion of overall biofuel consumption in the small engine industry. Responses due Aug. 31, 2015.

DOE: Notice of Intent: Bioenergy Technologies Incubator 2 DE-FOA-0001343. It is anticipated that the FOA will have two topic areas. Topic Area 1 will be open to all proposals that seek to develop novel, non-incremental technologies that facilitate the goals of BETO’s Algae platform, but are not represented in a significant way in the current Algae project portfolio. Topic Area 2 will be open to all proposals that seek to develop novel, non-incremental technologies that facilitate the goals of BETO.


USDA: Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). $11.5 million of federal funds is available for the restart of BCAP for costs associated with harvesting and transporting agriculture or forest residues to facilities that convert biomass crops into energy. Eligible crops may include corn residue, diseased or insect infested wood materials, or orchard waste. Facilities can apply for, or renew, their BCAP qualification status beginning June 1, 2015. Supports delivery of biomass through Dec. 31, 2015.

Alternative Fuel

DOE: Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Procurement Aggregating Initiatives DE-FOA-0001237. The objective of this FOA is to develop and implement an effective purchasing and procurement process designed to coordinate and consolidate bulk orders of alternative fuel vehicles, subcomponents, advanced vehicle technologies, alternative fuels, and refueling and charging infrastructure. Due Aug. 21, 2015.


DOE: Request for Information: Marine and Hydrokinetic Environmental Monitoring Technologies and Field Testing Opportunities DE-FOA-0001372. EERE is seeking a proposed framework for funding the advancement of environmental monitoring technologies aimed at reducing the uncertainty of impacts due to acoustic outputs, electromagnetic fields produced by MHK devices and their associated cables, and physical interactions with marine animals. Due Aug. 7, 2015.

Research & Development

DOE: Opportunities to Develop High Performance, Economically Viable, and Environmentally Benign Technologies to Recover Rare Earth Elements from Domestic Coal and Coal Byproducts DE-FOA-0001202.  As part of its continuing investigation, the National Energy Technology Laboratory is seeking financial assistance applications for projects to quickly develop bench scale and pilot scale projects for recovering Rare Earth Elements from coal and coal byproducts. Due Aug. 31, 2015.

Funding resources

The Minnesota Department of Commerce has compiled a variety of energy-related funding resources for those who want to conduct their own search of funding opportunities. Check out the Financial Assistance Directory for a list of state, federal, and foundation funding resources. Readers are also encouraged to visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency website (, a comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States.

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