Waste-to-Energy Technical Assistance for Local Governments

NREL provides U.S. local governments with technical assistance to advance waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO).

The technical assistance addresses knowledge gaps, specific challenges, decision-making considerations, planning, and project implementation strategies related to WTE. The WTE resources considered include organic waste such as food waste, wastewater sludge, animal manure, and fats, oils, and greases.


All U.S. municipalities and counties in the lower 48 states, Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories, as well as tribal governments, are eligible for WTE technical assistance at no cost. Entities representing multiple municipalities are also eligible as well as airport authorities and municipal utilities authorities. Note: A community does not have to have an existing or planned waste resource or energy recovery project to be eligible. Communities in the strategic planning phase when it comes to these waste streams are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Request Technical Assistance

Applications are no longer being accepted for Fiscal Year 2022. To receive updates about future technical assistance opportunities, contact the WTE Technical Assistance Team.

Fiscal Year 2021 Recipients

The following U.S. municipalities and counties received WTE technical assistance from NREL:

  • Region 1 Planning Council, Illinois
  • City and County of Denver, Colorado
  • Hartford Solid Waste Task Force, Connecticut
  • City of Unalaska, Alaska
  • City of Ames, Iowa
  • North Central Texas Council of Governments, Texas
  • Seward Climate Action Plan Committee, Alaska
  • Monterey One Water, California
  • City of Madison, Wisconsin
  • Interlocal Solid Waste Authority, Tennessee
  • Savannah Industrial Park, Illinois
  • City of Watsonville, California
  • City of Frostburg, Maryland
  • Kodiak Island Borough, Alaska
  • City of Boston, Massachusetts
  • Orange County and City of Orlando, Florida
  • City of Walla Walla, Washington. 

Technical Assistance Informational Webinars

Community Waste Management Technical Assistance Forum – Exploring Solutions to Convert Waste to Energy Bioproducts

On Nov. 4, 2021, BETO hosted a forum with a panel of experts from several partnering communities to hear about how they are looking to tackle their organic waste challenges and how NREL can aid in this planning.

To view a recording and slides from this webinar, visit the BETO website

Waste-to-Energy Technical Assistance for Local Governments

On March 18, 2021, BETO and NREL hosted a webinar to provide more information about the WTE technical assistance for local governments such as the goal of the program, application process, examples of technical assistance, etc.

Download presentation slides or watch a recording of this webinar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, entities representing multiple municipalities are eligible to apply and will receive up to 40 hours of technical assistance for all cities/towns they represent. Individual municipalities represented by these entities could also apply separately.

The goal of the WTE technical assistance program is to mobilize data and information compiled about organic waste streams to: (1) provide this data to local decision makers, (2) deploy the analyses that have been developed for a variety of energy/resource recovery strategies, and (3) foster local public-private partnerships. Ultimately, this program aims to enable organic waste energy and/or resource recovery at the municipal level by leveraging technical expertise and relevant data to address specific and unique issues each municipality encounters with their waste streams.

Types of assistance and activities include providing resource, technology, market, and policy data and information; analysis assistance; targeted discussions with stakeholders; assistance in strategic energy planning; education through webinars; consultations with technical experts; program review and evaluation; and request for proposal (RFP) development support and review.

No, a technical assistance agreement is not required under this program.

Following the first-round application time frame (March 22, 2021, through April 9, 2021), NREL and BETO staff will review requests and respond to the applying agency about whether their request is selected by the end of April 2021. The selection process considers diversity in geography, community size, demographic characteristics, socio-economic status, requested topic, as well as WTE deployment opportunities, merit of the request, and potential project impact.

Technical assistance will be provided for as many applicants as budget allows. Due to limited resources, NREL may not be able to fulfill all received requests. Each request, however, will be reviewed, and a response will be provided to the applying agency. If a request cannot be met, NREL will still provide useful information (e.g., links to existing analyses and/or data) to assist in the agency’s efforts related to WTE development.

If selected, NREL will schedule a call to discuss your needs. The call will include NREL WTE team members with expertise related to your request. During the call, NREL will provide information on existing materials and resources, discuss activities related to your request, and outline next steps in the process. Our intent is for the technical assistance to be a collaborative process, and therefore we will be looking for active engagement.

If a request cannot be met, NREL will still provide useful information (e.g., links to existing analyses and/or data) to assist in the agency’s efforts related to WTE development. Also, applications that were not selected during the first round will be considered in the second round of applications if it is open in the summer.
The technical assistance is limited to 40 hours per request per municipality.
Technical assistance can begin shortly after the initial call depending on the requested services, NREL staff’s availability, and urgency of the request.
Yes, as long as the total of all requests are within the 40-hour limit.
This assistance is provided through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) BETO’s Conversion R&D Program and does not support direct funding to municipalities. Through this assistance, NREL provides information about project-level finance (e.g., terms, structures, and innovations), financial policies such as feed-in tariffs, clean renewable energy bonds, and power purchase agreements. DOE’s funding opportunities website provides information on available funds from DOE for specific projects and programs, including how to apply.
The benefits of participating in the technical assistance program include access to subject matter experts at no cost to the entity, access to data and information on the options available for energy/resource recovery, and support in waste management plan development and how to incorporate WTE technologies.
We will provide an optional feedback form on this program (e.g., implication, usefulness, areas for improvement).
Yes, DOE offers technical assistance on other renewable energy topics as well as energy efficiency. 


If you have questions, contact the WTE Technical Assistance Team.