We Energies Renewable Energy Research & Development Grant Program – 2010



Introduction

During the 2010 program year, We Energies will offer grants and financial assistance under its Renewable Energy Research & Development (R&D) Grant Program. This program is a departure from previous years in that it offers two forms of assistance; an applicant may participate in one or the other, but not both:

  1. Grants for research and development activities that further a technology used to produce renewable electric energy. This program is limited to “not-for-profit” research organizations, such as universities, colleges, and technical colleges. Applicants also must be a We Energies Wisconsin electric customer.
  2. Financial assistance to help offset the cost of pursuing federal and state R&D grants funds specifically targeted for renewable electric energy R&D, or manufacturing expansion for a renewable electric or solar thermal heating technology or product that will help to generate workforce opportunities. This program provides financial assistance to an applicant to help pay for a portion of the costs associated with hiring outside services to help prepare a state and/or federal grant application. This program is open to both We Energies Wisconsin commercial and industrial electric customers and “not-for-profit” customers.

Program area 1 – grants for research and development

This program is only open to "not-for-profit" research organizations that are We Energies electric customers in Wisconsin. Grants awarded under this program are intended for research and development endeavors that will clearly advance a renewable energy electric technology and will contribute positively to the Wisconsin renewable energy industry.

Funds available

We Energies will offer grant funds up to a maximum award of $50,000 per project. Although matching funds are not required for this grant program, any additional funding that can be added to the proposal is considered a favorable element of the project and increases the chances for a successful grant. The total grant funds available under this program are limited. Only one Research & Development grant will be awarded per applicant per program year. Colleges and universities and similar types of organizations may submit separate project applications from different departments within the organization in one calendar year; however, only one successful grant will be awarded to a specific department in a calendar year.

Upon receiving notification of a successful award, We Energies staff will work with the applicant to establish an award disbursement schedule that closely follows project milestones such that upon the successful completion of certain milestones a portion of the grant funds would be released. In addition to documenting that specific milestones have been met, grant recipients also must submit interim reports noting progress toward goals, tasks and/or deliverables, and are required to submit a final report summarizing accomplishments. It is expected that the work done under this grant program will be completed within one year of the grant award notification. The final report also must be submitted within one year of the award; otherwise, the recipient must ask for an extension or risk forfeiting the grant portion not yet disbursed.

Application process

Prepare and submit a grant application that includes the following information:

  • Applicant information — include the applicant’s contact information, a cover letter confirming the applicant’s commitment to the work effort, and relevant qualifications for each team member assigned to the project. If multiple entities are included in the application, then also include letters of commitment from each entity.
  • Scope of Work (maximum 5 pages) — include a discussion regarding the demonstrated need for the project and how the project will provide an overall benefit to Wisconsin’s electric renewable energy industry. Also document the goals and objectives of the project, and the specific tasks and deliverable of each task.
  • Timeline — outline the start and end date for each task identified in the scope of work.
  • Budget — outline the estimated cost of each task and itemize all direct and indirect expenses as well as labor and overhead rates when billing rates are used for the cost estimate. Also, document the amount of money you are requesting from We Energies and the amount from other sources (including other grants and/or in-kind contributions, if applicable).

Grant proposals are accepted on an ongoing basis and are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability of funds for the 2010 program year. Applicants are encouraged to check the We Energies Web site for updates regarding the availability of program funds.

Applications can be submitted electronically via e-mail to: amy.flom@we-energies.com

Hard-copy proposals can be sent to:
We Energies
Renewable Energy Research & Development Grant Program
C/O Amy Flom – P318
231 W. Michigan St.
Milwaukee, WI 53203

More information:
Contact Amy Flom:
E-mail: amy.flom@we-energies.com
Phone: 262-893-6162

Grant application review process

All proposals are reviewed and considered by a review committee. The ultimate decision whether to award a grant, as well as the amount of any grant awarded, is within the sole discretion of We Energies.

A successful award

Grant recipients will be notified by a grant agreement letter which must be signed and sent back to We Energies within 30 days of the grant agreement letter date. By signing the agreement letter, the grant recipient agrees to fulfill all commitments made in the grant application and agrees specifically to all of the grant program terms and conditions, which are provided below.

The final amount of the grant offered to the applicant may differ from what was requested. Only expenses and activities in the approved scope of work and budget are eligible for reimbursement, subject to the maximum amount of your grant.

Expenses incurred before the grant agreement letter is signed are not eligible for reimbursement. Eligible expenses are auditable costs directly attributable to grant activities. These include staff time spent on the project and apportioned overhead costs, as well as direct project expenses such as the purchase of materials or supplies.

If a grant recipient wishes to modify the scope of work or budget/schedule after a grant agreement letter has been signed, the grant recipient must notify We Energies immediately for approval of the changes. Upon review and approval by We Energies, the grant amount will be based on the revised scope of work and/or budget/schedule. We Energies also reserves the right to retract the entire amount of grant funds which remain should it be determined that the revised scope of work and/or budget/schedule no longer meets the intent of the R&D Grant Program goals and objectives.

Program area 2 – financial assistance to offset cost of pursuing state and federal grants

This program is open to both “for-profit” and “not-for-profit” We Energies electric customers in Wisconsin. This program is designed to provide financial assistance for the costs associated with hiring outside services to prepare a state and/or federal grant application for renewable energy related projects. Such projects may include, but are not limited to, research and development of a renewable electric energy technology or product, or establishment or expansion of a manufacturing process directly related to the renewable electric or solar thermal heating industry. All projects must be located within We Energies electric service territory (see map on We Energies Web site www.we-energies.com/home/ServiceMap.pdf) and all projects must advance the local renewable energy or solar thermal heating industry. Manufacturing projects also must demonstrate local economic and workforce development opportunities. This program cannot be used for assistance in obtaining grant funds for the sole purpose of purchasing renewable energy generating equipment. The following links may help you in finding a grant program that is a match for your particular renewable energy project endeavor.

www.energyindependence.wi.gov/
www.commerce.state.wi.us/BD/BD-WEIF.html
www.energy.gov/sciencetech/grants.htm
www.grants.gov/
www.federalgrantswire.com/department-of-energy-federal-grants.html

Funds available

This program will pay up to 50 percent (maximum award $10,000) of the fee to hire a grant consultant to assist in the preparation of a state or federal renewable energy grant application. This program cannot be used to pay for internal staff time to prepare grant applications. Applications for this program will be accepted on an ongoing basis and are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability of funds for the 2010 program year. Applicants are encouraged to check the We Energies Web site for updates regarding the availability of this program.

Application process

Prepare and submit an application that includes the following information:

  • Applicant information – include the applicant’s contact information, and a cover letter confirming the applicant’s commitment to the work effort.
  • Project description (2 pages) – include a discussion regarding the project for which the applicant is seeking state or federal grant funds and generally describe the tasks associated with the project and the overall schedule and budget for the work effort. Document how the project meets the requirements of We Energies financial assistance program, and specify which state or federal renewable energy grant program the applicant will pursue if awarded financial assistance from We Energies. Also, indicate the due date for the state or federal grant program.
  • Grant consultant – Attach the grant consultant’s scope of work and fee estimate for assisting the applicant with a grant application for the above described project. The applicant may select a grant consultant of their choice, provided the grant consultant and their company are established in this area of work and have demonstrated qualifications. Although not mandatory, it is preferred that the grant consultant be located within We Energies electric service territory. The grant consultant’s standard company qualifications and resume for key individuals must also be attached to the application. We Energies reserves the right to deny funding if the grant consultant is deemed unqualified to perform the services identified in their scope of work.

Applications can be submitted electronically via e-mail to: amy.flom@we-energies.com

Hard-copy proposals can be sent to:
We Energies
Renewable Energy Research & Development Grant Program
C/O Amy Flom – P318
231 W. Michigan St.
Milwaukee, WI 53203

More information:

Contact Amy Flom:
E-mail: amy.flom@we-energies.com
Phone: 262-893-6162

Application review process

All requests for financial assistance will be reviewed and considered by a review committee. The ultimate decision whether to award financial assistance, as well as the amount of the assistance, is within the sole discretion of We Energies.

A successful award and award disbursement

Grant recipients will be notified by a grant agreement letter which must be signed and sent back to We Energies within 30 days of the grant agreement letter date. The grant agreement letter will indicate the amount of assistance you will be provided. By signing the agreement letter, the grant recipient agrees to fulfill all commitments made in the grant application and agrees specifically to sections 9-12 of the grant program terms and conditions, which are provided below.

A check will be issued to you upon providing the following requirements:

  • Proof of submission of the grant application for which assistance is being provided.
  • A paid receipt for the grant consultant’s fees.

Upon receipt of this information, We Energies will evaluate the information and, if accepted, issue a check to the applicant within 30 days.

Terms and conditions

In addition to the eligibility and application requirements described above, the following terms and conditions also apply to this grant:

  1. The grant project described within the recipient's grant proposal will be carried out as stated in the proposal.
  2. The grant amount is a maximum amount. Only expenses for activities identified in the approved scope of work and budget will be eligible for reimbursement. Expenses incurred before the grant agreement letter is signed will not be eligible for reimbursement, unless approved by We Energies. Only one grant will be awarded per applicant per program year.
  3. If cost sharing is included in the applicant’s proposal, then it must be met as indicated in the grant proposal or the applicant risks losing We Energies grant award. Cost sharing is an activity subject to verification by an audit.
  4. It is suggested that the grant recipient submit interim reports specifying progress toward the goals and deliverables as provided in the scope of work. Interim reports may include pictures, drawings and/or photographs documenting the progress of the completed services. Along with each interim report, the recipient will submit an invoice that specifies the actual expenditures and the cost share (the amounts funded by this grant and by other sources of funds and/or in kind support). Copies of receipts for expenditures must be included with the invoice. We Energies will review and approve each interim report prior to authorizing invoice payment.
  5. The grant recipient must submit an electronic and paper copy of the final report within 30 days of the end of the project. The final report must include:
  6. A summary of the work performed that incorporates:
    • A brief description of the original project objectives and the perceived benefit of the project.
    • A summary of the tangible accomplishments created or achieved by the project.
    • Analysis of data collected under the project and any conclusions based upon the analysis.
    • Any recommendations for enhancing the benefits of the project.
  7. Proprietary information about customer facilities designated as confidential will be kept confidential by We Energies. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the proprietary information may be disclosed if required by law or regulatory proceeding. We Energies may request confidential handling of the information during legal or regulatory proceedings, but such treatment is neither automatic nor guaranteed.
  8. Upon delivery and acceptance of each interim report and invoice, We Energies will send payment to the grant recipient within 30 days. We Energies reserves the right to withhold payment until any identified project problems are resolved. Payment on the final invoice will be made within 30 days of acceptance of the final report.
  9. The grant recipient must maintain sufficient segregation of project accounting records from other projects or programs. The recipient should retain all records relating to this grant for one year after the expiration of this grant. We Energies reserves the right to examine any directly pertinent records and computer files of the recipient involving transactions relating to this grant.
  10. Your name and grant award information may be used in various communications to the media. A representative of We Energies will contact you before using your name in any media communications
  11. All materials produced under this grant shall contain the following attribution: "This (article, report, publication, or document) is funded in part by We Energies."
  12. We Energies reserves the right to terminate this grant award in whole or in part due to the recipient’s failure to fulfill the terms and conditions certified in this agreement.
  13. The grant recipient will not construe, claim, or imply that acceptance of this grant constitutes We Energies’ approval, acceptance, warranty, guarantee or endorsement.