Federal Funding Opportunities and Guidance – March 25, 2024

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Below you will find resources and information on:

New EPA Grant Recipient Requirements

1) EPA Grants Management Training for Applicants and Recipients

EPA’s Office of Grants announced new requirement that, as of March 4, 2024, all new grant applicants and recipients (organizations that have never received an EPA grant, or if they last received an EPA grant before October 1, 2014) must complete two online courses, the “EPA Grants Management Training for Applicants and Recipients” and the “How to Develop a Budget.This requirement must be completed by new applicants and recipients prior to receiving grant funds.

For further information on both courses, applicability, accessing the courses, and utilizing available tools and resources, email EPA_Grants_Info@epa.gov and please reference: RAIN-2024-G01.

DOE, DOT, and EPA Funding Opportunities

2) DOE’s Funding for Clean Transportation Deployment and Demonstration 

DOE is providing $15 million as part of its Technology Integration Funding Opportunity for projects that will advance deployment of technologies critical to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. Applicants (but not necessarily partners) needed to have already submitted a concept paper by March 12, 2024, and full applications are due April 30, 2024.

The funding seeks the participation of underserved communities and underrepresented groups. Here is a list of potential applicants seeking partners (and where you can submit to be adding to the partnering list). Applicants are required to describe how diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives will be incorporated into their project, and are highly encouraged to include individuals from groups historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) on their project teams.

$5 million will be awarded to multiple applicants in each of the following areas:

  • Clean Cities Outreach, Engagement, and Technical Assistance
  • Training on Zero Emission Vehicle and Infrastructure Technologies for Critical Emergency Response Workers
  • Clean Transportation Demonstration and Deployment.

3) Department of Transportation (DOT) Low- or No-Emission Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities 

DOT’s Low- or No-Emission and Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Competitive Programs will award neatly $1.5 billion to help transit agencies replace aging buses, reduce air pollution, provide good-paying jobs, and improve the reliability of transit systems. Complete proposals must be submitted by April 25, 2024.

This funding opportunity ives priority consideration to Tribal governments and projects advancing environmental justice under the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative.

With $1.1 billion from FTA’s Low- or No-Emission Program, transit agencies can buy or lease U.S.-built zero-emission and low-emission transit buses and the necessary charging equipment and support facilities. Meanwhile, $390 million in FTA Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program will support transit agencies in buying and rehabilitating buses and vans and building bus facilities. FTA is also focused on strengthening U.S. bus manufacturing, which can stabilize the cost of new buses and accelerate delivery of new vehicles.

4) EPA’s Inflation Reduction Act’s Clean Ports Program

$3 billion in funding is available via the Clean Ports Program to fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure, as well as climate and air quality planning at U.S. ports. Applications are due May 28 at 11:59pm ET.

The Zero-Emission Technology Deployment Competition will fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure to reduce mobile source emissions (criteria pollutants, air toxics, and greenhouse gases) at U.S. ports, delivering cleaner air for communities across the country

The Climate and Air Quality Planning Competition will fund climate and air quality planning activities at U.S. ports; including emissions inventories, strategy analysis, community engagement, and resiliency measure identification, all of which will build the capacity of port stakeholders to continue to reduce pollution and transition to zero-emissions (ZE) operations over time.

For both competitions, the EPA requests submittal of an optional informal notice of an Intent to Apply by March 28, 2024 to cleanports@epa.gov. Please use the subject line “Notice of Intent to Apply: Zero-Emission Technology Deployment” or “Notice of Intent to Apply: Climate and Air Quality Planning.” Please include in the body of the email the name of the applicant, the estimated dollar amount of the anticipated funding request, and a sentence or two summarizing the project (if known). Submission of Intent to Apply is optional and non-binding.

EPA will host informational webinars regarding these NOFOs to provide potential applicants with an overview of the NOFOs, how to apply, and EPA resources that will help with project development. See the Ports Initiative Events webpage for more information. And for more information on eligibility, frequently asked questions, and resources for applicants, please visit the Clean Ports Program webpage. You may also send questions to the helpdesk at cleanports@epa.gov. The deadline to submit questions is May 6, 2024.

5) Department of Energy (DOE) Funding for Tribal Clean Energy Projects

DOE’s Office of Indian Energy is soliciting applications for $25 million in funding for Indian Tribes, which include Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Village Corporations, Intertribal Organizations, and Tribal Energy Development Organizations, to install clean energy technology on Tribal lands. Applications are due May 30, 2024, at 2pm PT/5pm ET. Read the FOA press release and download the FOA for Clean Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands-2024 (DE-FOA-0003298).

6) DOE Funding for Transformative Clean Energy Projects

Under the new Local Government Energy Program, Communities Sparking Investments in Transformative Energy (C-SITE) will award approximately $18 million to implement municipally- or Tribal-led, high-impact clean energy projects in disadvantaged communities, energy communities, small- and medium-sized cities and towns, and Tribal communities. The program focuses on delivering funding to support projects and programs at the local level that reduce energy use, create local jobs, and focus on benefits to disadvantaged communities. Completed applications are due by May 31, 2024 at 2pm PT/5pm ET.

DOE anticipates making up to 20 awards under this FOA with amounts ranging from $900,000 to $3,600,000. Communities receiving financial awards will also receive comprehensive technical assistance, including the option for an onsite Community Energy Fellow.

C-SITE welcomes diverse project proposals illustrating a variety of approaches and technology areas including, but not limited to, building efficiency and/or electrification, clean transportation, energy infrastructure upgrades, microgrid development and deployment, renewable energy, and workforce development. Some examples include:

  • Energy efficiency upgrades and on-site battery storage.
  • Tribal partner-owned solar plus storage microgrid independent power project providing power to remote households.
  • Municipally owned utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) installation on reclaimed industrial land accessing relevant tax credits.
  • Downtown revitalization led by public/private partnership creating energy efficient buildings primed for reuse for business or community use.

For more information on the application process, visit the Local Government Energy Program website or email LGEP@hq.doe.gov.

7) The Deadlines for the Climate Pollution Reduction Implementation Grant Applications Are Approaching!  

Please reference EPN’s step-by-step guides for the General Competition (due April 1, 2024, 11:59pm ET), and the Tribal/Territories Only Competition (due May 1, 2024, 11:59pm ET) and for Applicants Interested in Applying to both the General Competition and the Tribal and Territories Only Competition. 

All questions about the Tribes and territories competition must be submitted to CPRG@epa.gov by April 15, 2024.  In addition, Priority Climate Action Plans (PCAPs) are due April 1st for Tribes, Tribal consortia, and territories

All application packages must be submitted electronically to EPA through Grants.gov. Please read the Notices of Funding Opportunity and Questions and Answers documents for the most complete and up-to-date information about these competitions, available on the CPRG implementation grants webpage.

EPA’s Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grants (Community Change Grants)

8) 6-step Application Guides for Community Change Grants

EPN has added a Track I and Track II budget template to its 6-step application guides for the Change Grants. You will also find a sample proposal narrative for Track 1 and Track II, plus additional templates/samples for Track I attachments. Although the final deadline for the Change Grants is November 21, 2024, EPA plans to review applications on a rolling basis each month, and there may be initial award announcements soon. As such, EPN suggests that applicants (who are ready) submit applications ASAP. Please reach out to info@environmentalprotectionnetwork.org if you would like additional help.

9) Community Change Grants Webinar Hosted by the River Network, in Partnership with EPN  

Please join tomorrow, Tuesday, March 26th at 2pm ET to learn about EPA’s new $2 billion Community Change Grants Program. We will review the Notice of Funding Opportunity, discuss applicant eligibility, share available technical assistance resources, and answer questions. Space will also be provided for session participants to connect with one another in small groups to share your project ideas and identify specific areas where you need support with the application process. All are welcome. Register here.

Clean School Bus/Bus News

10) Clean School Bus Webinars

EPA’s Clean School Bus Program is partnering with the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (Joint Office) to host a technical assistance webinar series on topics relevant to the clean school bus community. Register here. Topics include:

  • March 27 @ 1 PM ET – How to Develop a Training Plan and Where to get Certified Training
  • April 24 @ 1 PM ET – Charging Best Practices, Incorporating Charge Management, Solar, Battery Storage, and Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G)
  • May 22 @ 1 PM ET – Equipment Overview, Future Proofing, EVSE RFPs, and Best Practices
  • June 26 @ 1 PM ET – Differences Between ESBs and ICE Buses, ESB Maintenance, and Bus RFP Best Practices
  • July 24 @ 1 PM ET – Battery Overview, Recycling/End-of-Life Options, and Warranties
  • August 28 @ 1 PM ET – Building a Case for ESBs in your Fleet including Benefits, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and Emissions Calculators
  • September 25 @ 1 PM ET – Electrification Process including a Step-by-Step Guide for New Adopters

In addition, the Joint Office offers one-on-one technical assistance to Clean School Bus Program applicants and program participants, including information and tools needed to successfully plan and deploy clean school buses and infrastructure. To request technical assistance, emai cleanschoolbusTA@nrel.gov.

11) Coordinating with Electric Utility Partners Resource Document

EPA’s Clean School Bus Program has released a new resource titled Coordinating with Electric Utility PartnersAs schools across the nation embark on the transition to electric transportation, it is crucial that schools and school districts establish a strong relationship with the electric utility responsible for supplying the power needed to charge their electric school buses. This resource is intended to prepare schools and school districts for the first of many conversations they will have with utilities, and provide a high-level overview of what schools can expect as they build out charging infrastructure to support electric school buses.

12) Joint Office Clean Bus Planning Awards Program

The $5 million Clean Bus Planning Awards Program provides free technical assistance to create comprehensive and customized bus electrification plans for fleets across the United States. Applications for assistance are open on a rolling basis through Sept. 30, 2024, giving fleets an opportunity to fully understand their needs before applying for funding support for fleet electrification. This new program will reduce the burden of electrification by helping fleet managers create a step-by-step plan to transition their bus fleet. Visit the Clean Bus Planning Awards Program website for more information. 

Webinars and Programs

13) EPA Procurement, Subawards, and Participant Support Costs Webinar

The EPA Procurement, Subawards, and Participant Support Costs Webinar will be held on Wednesday, March 27, from 11:30am – 1:00pm ET. This webinar will cover procurement regulations and requirements. Specific topics include: best practices for contracts, consultants, equipment, and supply purchases; review of subawards (grant awards provided by a pass-through entity to a subrecipient); and participant support costs (payments to individuals who participate in grant activities but are not employees of the grant recipient). Participants will be able to ask questions of EPA presenters during the webinar. Advance registration is required. Click here to register. Presentation materials and a list of helpful links will be available on EPA’s website before the webinar. After the webinar, a recording will be posted to the same webpage.

14) New EPA Davis-Bacon Grant Term and Condition Webinar

The New EPA Davis-Bacon Grant Term and Condition Webinar will be held on Thursday, March 28, from 12:30-1:30pm ET. This webinar will cover procurement regulations and requirements and will discuss EPA’s new Davis-Bacon Term and Condition that is required for certain programs that involve construction activities. Advance registration is required. Click here to register. Presentation materials and a list of helpful links will be available on EPA’s website before the webinar. After the webinar, a recording will be posted to the same webpage.

15) Finance Action Organisers Network’s Spring 2024 IRA Pathways Cohort: Clean Energy Finance Campaigns

The Finance Action Organisers Network is hosting a five-week program, which alternates between Zoom classroom sessions and one-on-one campaign navigation support for your organization, and will provide the opportunity to walk away with a draft “campaign in a box,” including a rap to test with your base, an issue cut and possible demands, and a villain to go after that aligns with your existing campaign narratives. You’ll get support to fill out a campaign planning template and follow-up navigation support as needed. This application is due April 12, and you’ll be notified if you’ve been selected by April 17.

Other Resources and Opportunities

16) Resources to Help Identify Disadvantaged Communities 

The Environmental and Climate Justice Program (ECJ Program), created by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), provides funding for financial and technical assistance to carry out environmental and climate justice activities to benefit underserved and overburdened communities. A number of tools exist to assist potential applicants seeking to identify whether a community is disadvantaged for the purposes of implementing programs under the IRA. EPN has compiled information on EPA’s definition of a disadvantaged community as well as tools, including EPA’s EJScreen, CEJST, and others, to help potential applicants identify disadvantaged/environmental justice communities.

17) Direct Pay Information and Resources

The IRS recently released revised final rules addressing Direct Pay. Direct Pay (or “Elective Pay”) refers to provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act that allow tax-exempt entities (like cities, states, school districts, nonprofits, Tribal governments, religious institutions, etc.) to receive tax credits from the IRS in the form of direct payments for clean energy projects (such as electric vehicle purchases, EV charging stations, solar/wind farms, etc.). The Final Rule is largely consistent with proposed regulations issued in June of last year, but includes a few important changes and reactions to comments provided by stakeholders. Treasury announced that the final guidance on the Transferability rules will follow shortly.

You can access a copy of the new regulations and the IRS’ updated Frequently Asked Questions and on L4GG’s Elective Pay and IRA Resources Page.

In the meantime, if you have a discrete legal question, L4GG has provided this form to share it with L4GG’s legal experts. L4GG constantly updates its Frequently Asked Questions and will continue to update as they learn more.

18) GitLab Foundation’s Green Jobs for Economic Opportunity Fund

As part of the Emerging Talent Demand portfolio, the GitLab Foundation is launching a $3M nationwide Green Jobs for Economic Opportunity Fund to support organizations and multisectoral partnerships in exploring or developing early-stage initiatives to improve economic mobility. Beginning in March 2024, the GitLab Foundation will accept proposals that foster new ideas, establish proof of concept, and formalize a roadmap for momentum. The Foundation take risks on new approaches to increase low-wage workers’ incomes (their North Star outcome).

The Fund broadly defines “green jobs” as encompassing a range of titles and job functions, including clean energy, the development of electric vehicles and batteries, weatherization, and the improvement of electrical grids and utilities, among others. This is designed to support early-stage and innovative ideas that will help drive new climate careers while filling a gap in the funding ecosystem. Grants are flexible, from $250k for individual orgs and $500k for partnerships

For more information, please check out the following resources: