Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project Webinar (Text Version)

This is the text version of the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project Webinar, hosted by NREL on Feb. 16, 2022.

[Slide 1: Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project Technical Assistance Informational Webinar, February 16, 2022]

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Welcome everyone and good morning, afternoon, and evening, depending on where you're located. Just want to thank you for joining to learn more about the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project, otherwise known as ETIPP. My name is Katrina Woodhams, and I am the current ETIPP program manager, and I work for the National Renewable Energy Lab, also known as NREL. Before we get started, just a couple of housekeeping items to note. Just noting that this webinar is being recorded. You should have saw something pop up on your screen for permission. We also ask that all attendees please remain muted with your cameras off to reduce distractions during the session. So I have my camera off just for that reason. And also, please type your questions in the chat here, and we will make sure to answer them after the presentation, which should take about 30 minutes. Kim, next slide.

[Slide 2: Agenda]

Alright. So here you're going to see the agenda on the screen. So first, we will provide an overview of the ETIPP program. Then we will introduce our regional partners as part of ETIPP's partner network. Then we'll go into summarizing a couple of ongoing community projects that are participating in ETIPP, discussing the application process, and then we'll close with about a 20-minute question-and-answer session. Next slide.

[Slide 3: What is ETIPP]

So I am sure you're wondering, what is ETIPP? So at DOE and the labs, we view ETIPP as a collaborative effort. Hence, we look at P in the Partnership of ETIPP as characterizing the collaborative effort. ETIPP is undertaken by the Department of Energy, several national labs, and our six regional partner organizations. To be clear, ETIPP's primary mission is to provide direct technical assistance to remote, island, and islanded communities to help increase their energy resilience. So essentially, the program supports projects that focus on any type of energy transition technology. So just giving a couple of examples here, speaking of solar, wind, geothermal, water, energy efficiency, and many others. We are also supported and we are very thankful to our Department of Energy offices. You see those offices listed on the slide here. Not only do they provide us with the funding for the technical assistance, but they also help us to navigate options for addressing local clean energy and energy resilience challenges through their own technology offices. Next slide.

[Slide 4: ETIPP Communities]

OK. So how are we defining ETIPP communities? So we thought we would make it a little bit easier for you and give you some definition to communities. And because of their geographic isolation, we see remote, island, and islanded communities really face unique energy challenges. Challenges with limited connection with centralized energy systems can lead to issues such as energy access, quality, affordability, and reliability. The technical assistance projects with ETIPP help to address these challenges with community-driven solutions identified specifically by the communities and what their priorities are that will help to increase longer-term energy resilience. So for ETIPP, we specifically have defined communities. It is a loose definition, but I wanted to give you something.

So we define communities as any group of individuals, households, and/or businesses in geographic closeness or proximity to one another. And we also see communities being established through a formal organizational agreement. So just speaking specifically about the ETIPP application and just referring to the eligibility there, we are giving community types, examples, such as local governments, such as municipalities, counties, cities, or towns, tribal governments or organizations, community-based nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations, special-purpose districts (and I know some of you may be asking, what is that, so refer to the application as well, and we can certainly go through that in the question-and-answer session). And then another example of a community could be a municipal utility and electric co-ops. We encourage interested communities to apply to ETIPP if you fit into any of these categories and you experience energy resilience challenges.

So challenges, for example, you may experience frequent energy disruptions or threats to your energy infrastructure from natural hazards, and you have limited resources to address those challenges. So we also may—we recognize that you may want to apply as a team. So for larger geographic teams like regional organizations, counties, or states that are interested in applying, we encourage you to partner with a strong local community partner. We see with a strong community partner, you really can engage with the community directly. It can help you to gather feedback about your project, as well as having a strong advocate that can help with providing information about the project results and furthering the outcome of the project. So this partnership can also be formalized as part of your application, which is one of the criteria listed under the commitment section. And so specifically, just a little bit of guidance when providing this information. We're asking for you to please be specific with who in the geographic area will be receiving the benefits of the technical assistance—just also who it will be positively impacted by the project, as well as how you, as the applicant, may meet the eligibility criteria specified in the eligibility section. Next slide.

[Slide 5: ETIPP Communities]

[Graphic of map displaying the current Cohort 1 communities participating in ETIPP and the technical assistance they are receiving: Wainwright, Alaska (buildings, renewable energy potential, storage); Dillingham, Alaska (hydropower, rates/tariffs); Ouzinkie, Alaska (renewable energy potential); Sitka, Alaska (hydropower, renewable energy potential, rates/tariffs, microgrids); Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association (ALFA) in Sitka, Alaska (transportation); Kauai, Hawaii (transportation); Honolulu, Hawaii (microgrids); Eastport, Maine (microgrids, hydropower, storage); Islesboro, Maine (renewable energy potential); Nags Head, North Carolina (buildings, microgrids); Ocracoke, North Carolina (transportation, storage, microgrids).]

And just noting, we see your questions in the chat, and we will address those at the Q&A. And yes, we will be sharing the presentation, and we will go over—we are recording this presentation, and we will have this published in the coming week. Alright. So just specifically—and Lynn I see your question about rural counties.

Just giving more specifics around the definitions of remote, island, and islanded communities. So starting with remote, we have defined remote communities as being isolated from population centers with limited access to centralized energy systems. So example projects, if you want to refer back to our Cohort 1 communities, we currently have Wainwright, Alaska, and Dillingham, Alaska, as representing remote.

Next we have island communities, which we define as isolated from the mainland by waterways. So for Cohort 1 examples that you can also refer to, we reference Honolulu, Hawaii; Eastport, Maine; and Ocracoke, North Carolina. And then lastly, we also have a definition for islanded communities. We recognize this may be a little bit fuzzy, versus the remote and island definitions. But we've defined islanded communities as not grid-tied to larger, transmission-scale power systems, and as a result of that not grid-tied, you experience frequent issues with power quality and reliability of electricity. So if it's not clear that you are a remote or island community, you could fall under the islanded category. So just think about it this way: If you're experiencing high risk from being disconnected from your power system, and this risk affects your power quality, but geographically you are not remote or an island, you are likely an islanded community. So I recognize if you're still unsure with the spread of these definitions, we encourage you to reach out to a regional partner, which you will be meeting soon on this webinar today. Or email us at and we can certainly give you more support and discuss this further. Otherwise, take a chance and submit your application. Next slide.

[Slide 6: What is Technical Assistance?]

OK. So for planning your technical assistance projects, we recognize that this can be hard to start if you really don't know where to start and if you're at the front end of planning. So in addition to describing vulnerabilities to your community's energy system and how you may meet the definitions of a remote, island, and islanded community, the ETIPP application also asks for you to describe the technical assistance you're looking for. And so that will be specifically under the project goals section in the application. And so, as you know, technical assistance can take many forms, so we want to talk you through some options to help you start brainstorming your application. And at the core of any technical assistance project, we typically start with a question or a set of questions that our technical experts at the national labs can answer using data-driven economic, environmental, or grid analysis efforts.

So just want to give you some questions to think about if you want to get your pen out or type. We also will be sharing this presentation, but just getting the brain juices going on the planning. So starting with the asking the question of how much of my community's energy consumption could be met with locally generated renewable energy. Another question to think about is which efficiency measures would have the greatest impact on your community's energy consumption, so talking about how you may want to measure efficiency. Also what is the most cost-effective path to meeting your renewable energy goals and how you may plan that out strategically, and thinking about what cost savings you're looking for and quantifying what you're aiming to achieve with those cost savings, as well as how can you increase access to power during extreme events and preparing for those type of disruptions when you're experiencing outages after a disaster. And so in addition to answering these central questions, ETIPP technical assistance also provides support for activities that can ensure answers to these questions are actionable.

And so just listing some of these additional ETIPP project activities and also starting with those central set of questions, not only is it about the technology, it's also helping to plan and train and communicate the project and supporting the project results. So specifically, with strategic planning, this can involve convening stakeholders to establish community priorities and integrating those results into your larger community energy plan. So for some examples, the ETIPP team can coordinate with your local climate action committee. We can also help to assess which energy technologies could provide the most benefits to community members, and as well as recommending funding opportunities to pursue after project completion. We recognize that is a bit of a challenge in identifying and locating funding to support your deployment of your technologies. And so planning your energy transition with key community partners and decision makers is critical to achieving a resilient energy system and a real systems-wide approach when you're looking to plan out your technical assistance project.

Alright. Next we have training, and training involves educating project stakeholders about energy transition considerations and demonstrating the use of energy analysis tools for community organizations. So for example, when we're talking about training and education, our team can help to facilitate a webinar to demonstrate the technical expertise that you may need to be able to support your technical assistance project, as well as demonstrating user-friendly energy data tools for community stakeholders. Lastly—but not least—we also have communication. And with communication, this really—we don't think about it as being definitive technical assistance needs, but it really is something that is critical for a project to run smoothly. And so this involves summarizing project goals and outcomes for broad audiences that—to—generate, inform community input on next steps.

And so an example we can provide is developing outreach materials that can help you discuss energy alternatives at public meetings and helping, just working with your communities, and really even down to what words and talking points are best for communicating your priorities and just brainstorming with your members to think about what is the best approach and next steps. And so the goal of the technical assistance is to use the project results to inform your next transition step and the potential decisions for your deployment of your technologies. Next slide.

[Slide 7: Energy Transitions Playbook]

[Screenshot of Energy Transitions Playbook web page showing seven phases of energy transition planning]

OK. So we mentioned a little bit. You saw one of our offices or programs that support us is the Energy Transitions Initiative at the Department of Energy. So if you would like to learn more information that can help you brainstorm your technical assistance project, the Energy Transitions Playbook is really a great place to start. The playbook breaks up community energy transitions into seven phases. And so each phase has tips and case studies about successful energy transition projects. And as you can see here on the slide, it starts with Phase 0, so Convene and Commit (and this is what we were talking about with the strategic planning piece), and Engage and Envision, and also Assess and Plan, and helping to really convene stakeholders, decision makers, and starting to identify what those energy priorities may be and to address your specific community challenges. And then moving all the way to Phase 6—and some of you may fall into Phase 6 category and really just needing that last step to be able to improve and repeat and tying in your lessons learned and then providing those lessons learned to be able to enhance your next project goals.

And just noting the link to the ETI Playbook is in the chat. Please take a look at the link or the playbook. And if you have any questions, we do have some subject matter experts. Please email NREL at if you have any questions. But really encourage you to go look at that—but not right now; we want you to focus on the webinar. Alright. Next slide.

[Slide 8: National Laboratories]

Alright. As mentioned previously, ETIPP is very, very fortunate because we are supported by an expansive partner network to employ our community-driven approach and helping to identify and plan for strategic energy solutions. And so this includes our energy experts at our research institutions with the national laboratories. So I'm just giving them a callout here because they are the ones that do provide ETIPP's direct technical assistance. So we have Lawrence Berkeley Lab, the National Renewable Energy Lab, which is us, as the program administrators of ETIPP. We also have Pacific Northwest National Lab, who is also supporting ETIPP through the Pacific Northwest coordination with our partner, our regional partner, Spark Northwest, and then lastly, Sandia National Lab. And so these labs work in partnership with our ETIPP regional partners, which you are about to meet. And the regional partners are responsible for delivering the community outreach and education as part of the program. And so they really work together to provide an integrated approach. As we've noted before, this is a big collaborative effort, and again, we are very grateful to the partners. Next slide.

[Slide 9: ETIPP Regional Partners]

[U.S. map showing locations of regional partners in Anchorage, Alaska; Fairbanks, Alaska; Honolulu, Hawaii; Rockland, Maine; Wanchese, North Carolina; and Seattle, Washington]

OK. We've been talking a lot about our regional partners, so just a little bit about them. They are nonprofit or academic organizations located across the U.S. Like we said before, they specialize in community outreach and engagement, training, and education around energy issues. But they also have technical expertise in the various technologies as well. So regional partners support communities that are interested in ETIPP throughout the application process, as well as selection and project execution. Specifically, with the application right now, they are helping communities if they have any questions and helping to really advise if there are any needs for information on the technology and just understanding what is the purpose of the application. So they help raise awareness of the ETIPP projects across each region, and they also ensure that ETIPP, the program, is meeting each region's unique energy needs. But also including—and most importantly—helping communities understand the basics of energy transitions and helping you all help us to assess your community needs, and setting up that planning process for identifying your energy priorities.

So if you are interested in applying for ETIPP, we encourage you to contact a regional partner to discuss your project ideas. So we are going to go ahead and have each regional partner introduce themselves. We were able to get all of them on, so we are grateful for that. So please, Kim, if you could turn off the screen share right now, we're going to have the regional partners turn on their cameras, and we are going to have each one introduce themselves—the lead—and their organization, starting alphabetically. We have Patty Eagan from the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP). Patty?

[Speaker: Patty Eagan]

Thanks, Katrina. Yeah, happy to be here. I'm Patty Eagan, a project manager at University of Alaska's Alaska Center for Energy and Power. And our team also includes two colleagues at UAA's Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER). So yeah, ACEP does a lot of focusing on the applied energy research across Alaska and hydrokinetic, solar, working really closely with communities to make energy more affordable and practical. So we also work really closely with—you'll meet Rob Jordan from our partners at Renewable Energy of Alaska Project. Thanks.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Thanks Patty. Alright. We have George Bonner from the Coastal Studies Institute, otherwise known as CSI. George?

[Speaker: George Bonner]

Hey, good afternoon everyone. Yeah, George Bonner. I'm at the Coastal Studies Institute on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and we're honored to be the regional partner for the Southeast U.S. And the CSI, Coastal Studies Institute, is a multi-institutional research campus here on the Outer Banks. It's part of the University of North Carolina System. I also serve as the North Carolina Renewable Energy Program director, advancing green energy solutions for North Carolina. Previous to coming to CSI, I was a Coast Guard engineer, and I lived on a lot of islands—worked on a lot of islands, from Kodiak, Alaska, down to Puerto Rico. And then I grew up on an island here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, too. So I really appreciate and excited to be part of this program, because I know a lot of islands are the first ones to lose power and the last ones to get it back on. So I'm really excited to be part of that for that reason and also just how we can advance clean energy solutions.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Alright. Thank you, George. Next we have Mark Glick from the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI). Mark?

[Speaker: Mark Glick]

Thank you, Katrina. Good to see everyone here today. I'm Mark Glick. I'm an energy policy specialist at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, and I'm also the chair of the Hawaii Energy Policy Forum. Before that I was energy administrator for 5 years for the State of Hawaii. HNEI is a research unit, and we are the regional partner for Hawaii and the Pacific region. And as a research institute of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, we research, develop, test, demonstrate, and validate cost-effective and practical solutions to deliver commercially viable renewable energy and energy efficiency to Hawaii and the world. We're extremely excited to work on the ETIPP program and look forward to a very robust Cohort 2. Thank you.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Wonderful. Thank you, Mark. Alright. We have Mia Devine from Spark Northwest.

[Speaker: Mia Devine]

Yeah, hi. I'm the project manager at Spark Northwest. We are a nonprofit based in Seattle, Washington, and we work with communities throughout the Pacific Northwest to build equitable clean energy projects that shift power and wealth to marginalized communities. And our team includes Mikhaila Gonzalez and Reuben Martinez, and we are looking forward to working with you.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Great. Thanks, Mia. Then last but certainly not least, we have the Renewable—I'm sorry, I missed Island Institute, first, with Emma Wendt. Sorry, Rob, we'll go with Emma first. I don't know my alphabet.

[Speaker: Emma Wendt]

Hi everybody. I'm Emma Wendt from the Island Institute. I'm based in, our organization is based in Rockland, Maine, in the Mid-Coast. And our organization has been around for about 40 years to serve Maine's island and coastal communities to help them thrive through a changing world. And we are the Northeast regional partner, covering not just Maine but from roughly New York and northeastward. We have a long history of supporting Maine and other communities and have partnered with our friends in Alaska and Hawaii and elsewhere on identifying and working through the huge challenges around energy and other community issues that Katrina touched upon today. And we're excited to work both with our first cohort and—I see a couple of folks that we've talked to already of potential—Cohort 2 applicants. And my colleague Emily Roscoe is also here, and so we are your main points of contact for this project and encourage folks to apply—and your neighbors to apply as well.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Great. Thanks, Emma. And now we have Rob Jordan from the Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP). Rob?

[Speaker: Rob Jordan]

Hi everybody. I'm Rob. I work for the Renewable Energy Alaska Project. We're based in Anchorage, Alaska, but we also have an office and a full-time staff person that works in Juneau, Alaska. We're a nonprofit organization that's dedicated to increasing the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Alaska through collaboration, education, training, and advocacy. So we're not a really technical organization. We're really focused on human systems and human development and working and developing long-term relationships with communities where we essentially find multiple funding sources, multiple programs, that allow communities to meet their needs. We've adopted this model because we have found historically that there have been a lot of well-intended technical assistance and grant-funded projects in Alaska, but the length of the term of the grant has been problematic for a community meeting their long-term needs. And that's really a place where we see ourselves operating.

So if we're working with you as an ETIPP regional partner, we're planning well down the road, even beyond ETIPP, for being there with you and to assist. And frankly, as part of the ETIPP application process, we've actually made connections with communities that weren't a great fit for ETIPP, but we were able to work with them and help them find other funders to do that work. If you work with REAP, you'll see that we work very closely with Patty Eagan and the folks at the Alaska Center for Energy and Power. And I'm very fortunate to have a team of really talented people, including Chris Rose, who specializes in public policy and advocacy, and Stephanie Nowers, who has a heck of a lot of expertise on the technical side of things and in community and organizational development. I sure hope that you'll put an application in and consider trying the process.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Great. Thank you, Rob. We are very excited to have the regional partners as a part of this program. As you can see, there is a breadth of experience and knowledge that they bring. As you can see, the regional boundaries are not explicitly defined. So again, please reach out to whichever regional partner is closest to your community. I do see from Joe Francis as far as the Great Lakes and whether you'd be covered there. The only significance to that is that this is a 1-year program, so far, or as far as, we're just getting started on moving this out, and we are looking to build the program and bring in more regional partners. But there is no significance to where the regional partner is located and whether you are eligible to apply. Please feel free to reach out to any of the regional partners. If none of them listed meet your needs, we of course at NREL and the other labs and DOE, email, and we will certainly help you with any questions that you may have. Alright. Next slide.

[Slide 10: Quick Poll]

[View from airplane of remote town on peninsula]

OK. So we couldn't help have an event without hearing a little bit about the communities and who is interested in ETIPP. And so we're going to ask a couple of quick interactive questions. You're going to see them on the screen here. We also ask, if you have multiple people from your community participating in the webinar today, please just have one person answer the questions. So if it's the lead from your organization, or however you want to decide, and chat each other. And so the link to the poll is in the chat. We do have some—I'm going to go over just the general topics of the poll, as far as, we're going to be asking you—we're interested in where your community is located and where you represent and what role do you play in the community.

Are you a decision maker? Are you a planner? Are you an engineer? Also asking for you to describe a little bit about your community. I know there were some questions about the population. And so it's just thinking about your community and whether you do fit into the remote, island, or islanded community description versus the population. What plans has your community adopted or not? And then what are your community's top energy concerns? And so I'm going to ask that you please use the link and select the link and follow along on your computers in your browser. And then we will get started with asking the first question.

[Slide 11: Where is the community you represent?]

[Answers entered by attendees and appear on screen in real time.]

And so I know with this question we have given one multiple choice for you to select. So we're going to give about a minute to see how many people respond and then we'll move on to the next question. So where is the community you represent? Puerto Rico. Idaho. We're hitting the very east and west. Wonderful. Maine. East Coast. Virginia. Very nice. Alright. This is exciting. A lot of spread from throughout the U.S. Great. Connecticut, wow, OK, OK. So it looks as though we are getting a lot of responses from a lot of different locations. Thank you so much for that. Alright. So just want to move on because I know we're running a little bit out of time, and we want to get to the question-and-answer piece. So let's move on to the next question, Kim.

[Slide 12: What is your role in your community?]

[Options are utility manager, community planner, elder/chief, mayor, city manager, state energy liaison, economic development coordinator, city councilor, other.]

Alright. So asking what is your role in the community and please select one. And there also is the option of "other" if we haven't provided you with that option. We have some utility managers. I'm curious about the "other." Some people are rethinking if they're a utility manager. Awesome. OK. A lot of "others." Alright. Looks like we're not getting many more responses here, so let's move on to the next question.

[Slide 13: Which of the following describe your community? Select all that apply.]

[Options are small (less than 10,000); remote; medium (10,000-40,000); island; large (40,000-100,00); islanded from energy resources; metropolitan (over 10,000); primarily non-white; fossil fuel producing; low-income.]

Which of the following describe your community? So select all that apply. And this goes to the question and I apologize, I don't recall the name of the participant, but as far as population size, we really are looking for you to describe to us how you fit into the remote, island, and islanded communities. So we encourage you to also describe your population size. That helps to characterize your community. So there really isn't a population cap. It's more about the coupling of the remote, island, and islanded community definitions and whether you experience frequent energy disruptions and with limited resources. And I know that was also a question of whether rural counties on transmission spurs are also eligible. And again, I would offer that it sounds as though that you could be. But I would say that reading those definitions and describing those, it really will help to understand your energy challenges and your community types. Great. Alright. So lots of spread there, lots of diversity.

[Slide 14: Which of the following plans have you adopted? Select all that apply.]

[Options are comprehensive plan, climate action plan, hazard mitigation plan, development plan, energy transition plan, sustainability plan, I'm not sure.]

OK. Moving to the next poll. Which of the following plans has your community adopted? Select all that apply. And we do have an option if you're not sure. That's totally OK. We recognize, we have gotten questions about we don't have a plan, and is it OK if we apply for assistance? So just going back to that What is Technical Assistance slide, that is part of what is an eligible technical assistance activity and helping with the assessment of just starting at the brainstorming and identifying and developing your energy resilience goals and priorities. Alright. Great. And then we have our last question.

[Slide 15: What are your community's top energy concerns? Select three.]

[Options are affordability, resilience, efficiency, local production, diversification, increased renewables, transportation, energy security, other.]

Moving on. What are your community's top energy concerns? So select three, please. So thinking about the community needs section in your application and how will you describe your challenges? What are your risks? What are your vulnerabilities? So we really want to hear how you will view the technical assistance or how you develop your technical assistance project with addressing these energy concerns. Alright. Looks like they're fighting for each other with having the similar responses. Right? So looks like affordability and resilience, some of the top concerns. OK. Alright. So thank you so much for taking the time to fill this poll out. Again, we really want to understand what the interest is in ETIPP and what best serves the community with your needs. And so like I mentioned before, this program is into 1 year—we're into our second year. And so hearing what are your top concerns will help us to really develop this program in the long term. Alright, Kim. Next slide.

[Slide 16: Wainwright, AK]

OK. So I know we're up against 20 minutes left, so we're going to breeze through this, but this is really important. We have invited a couple of community representatives who are part of the first ETIPP cohort to speak about their experience that they've had so far in Cohort 1, and specifically how they went about completing the application process. And so we have Mr. Griffin Hagle as the project representative from Wainwright, Alaska, and he works with REAP and Rob Jordan and that team and the other technical assistance labs. So their ETIPP project is focused on designing a tribally owned energy efficient community center. So we've asked Mr. Hagle to speak about some topics. So Mr. Hagle, if you could speak for a few minutes. We've asked him to talk about what his role currently is in the community, what challenges was he trying to address through ETIPP when he applied, and then what partners did you engage for—when you were developing your application? And then what sets ETIPP apart from other technical assistance programs, if you have the time to answer. So Mr. Hagle?

[Speaker: Griffin Hagle]

Sure. Thank you. Good morning, everybody. I'm calling in to you today from Utqiaqvik, Alaska, which is the northernmost community in the United States. And 90 miles down the Arctic Coast from us is the community of Wainwright, Alaska, about 500 people. We are the—I work for Taġiuġmiullu Nunamiullu Housing Authority, or TNHA. We're the tribally designated housing entity for the community of Wainwright and five of the other tribes up here. And we also do community development work as well. So the community, the tribe, the Village of Wainwright received a HUD grant to convert this, to convert this—there's a former national guard armory in their community—into a childcare center. And so we saw an opportunity with this building to help make it as energy efficient as possible, as prepared for the low-carbon energy future we all realize is coming at us faster and faster.

And also to just kind of set an example as a model of something that's well north of the Arctic Circle and how these things can be done—done well—here. So one of the challenges that we had to work out is frequently it is very hard to engage federal partners or federal agencies for projects like this. We had one experience in late 2020 dealing with another federal agency where we got paired up with an engineer on a technical assistance request. And it was 45 minutes of him telling us and the community his opinions of what we needed to do. And then he asked, "And where's your community, again?" So ETIPP has been night and day from that, and that is thanks largely, in part, to our partners with the Renewable Energy Alaska Project and Rob Jordan and their emphasis on connecting some of these social dots. It really has made a world of difference for us to have somebody who understands rural Alaska, costs, distances, geography, logistics, culture. It's all incredibly important, and really kind of needs to be in the foreground of any kind of a project like this.

Regarding partners engaged, it's really us as a tribal housing authority and the village working on this. REAP is an instrumental partner as well. And the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, as you see on that slide, which is now an NREL center based in Fairbanks, Alaska, has been partnering on the architecture and the engineering design. So yeah, we're really thankful for the ETIPP model. Lowered that barrier to entry for technical assistance, and we're really thankful to have a partner in the state who can speak Alaskan to the federal researchers in Colorado and New Mexico and around the country who are providing their input on that. So I encourage others in similar situations to consider applying.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Great. Thank you so much, Griffin.

[Slide 17: Ocracoke, North Carolina]

Alright. Now we have asked Mr. Paul Spruill, who is the project representative from Ocracoke, North Carolina, to talk about his ETIPP project, or his community's ETIPP project. And they are focused on electrifying the island's ferry fleet. So we have also asked Paul to speak about the same topic. So Paul?

[Speaker: Paul Spruill]

Happy to help. Want to be sure you can hear me clearly.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

We can hear you.

[Speaker: Paul Spruill]

Great. Again, I'm Paul. Last name is Spruill. I represent an eastern North Carolina nonprofit electric cooperative. We're Tideland EMC, and we serve six coastal counties, including Hyde County's mainland as well as its island, Ocracoke, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The daily transportation lifeline for folks who live there year-round, as well as thousands of tourists who travel there in the summertime, depends entirely on three different ferry routes. And the shortest one-way trip on those three routes is a 65-minute trip. Our objective with Hyde County government, as an applicant partner, and with help from East Carolina University's Coastal Studies Institute, was to benefit from ETIPP's technical research to help us with capital planning.

We anticipate significant investment in the electric grid for upgrades that would be capable of electrifying the ferry fleet. So we're very much targeted on an infrastructure project. Our partners, locally, other than those I've mentioned, most importantly, are North Carolina's Department of Transportation and its Ferry Division staff. I'm happy to share with you all today a very positive experience so far with ETIPP professionals, their engagement with us, and helping us to think clearly about not only the problem that we applied for assistance with but also broadening our minds to potential alternatives. It's just been very positive. So I will end it there and hang around for questions and answers.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Great. Thank you very much, Paul. We are very excited about you all getting to participate and support the webinar. We found your perspectives are extremely important for other communities and applicants to get to hear about—and your experiences. So again, please ask questions to Paul and Griffin, and we will move on to the Q&A very shortly. So thank you again, Paul and Griffin. Alright. So Kim, next slide.

[Slide 18: How to Apply]

[Screenshot of ETIPP application web page (]

Alright. So very quickly, just reviewing how do you apply. And we have provided the link in the chat here. So please view the application. We're not going to go over it in detail today, except for your questions, going over in the Q&A. We really encourage you to review the content closely, just to ensure that you understand the information.

There is a section below the application content that is about the selection criteria and the questions. Again, encourage you to look at those closely. We purposely made the application simple and easy to fill out. So we tested the timing, and it should take you no more than half a day, and this is just a couple of hours—a couple to a few hours—filling out the application itself, but we also recognize you want to consider time for coordinating your decision makers' support and verifying that support. And so just reviewing and scoring, the selection committee will review and score according to the three basic criteria. So with the need, project goals, and commitment, and with the need, that will require a description of your community's energy system and challenges. Project goals is a description of your specific TA being requested, technical assistance, as well as the commitment, which is the inclusion of the written support for the community decision makers.

So you may not have a detailed understanding of the technical support you're asking for when you apply, and that is totally OK. The great part about the technical assistance process is that communities selected for the technical assistance will participate in a hands-on scoping process, during which your detailed project task and outcomes are further defined. So again, if you have questions about summarizing your technical assistance needs and your project goals and your application, please, please, please reach out, either to a regional partner or email us at And also noting the closing period is April 15th of 2022 and looking at a selection and announcement at somewhere in early June, but don't quote me on that.

[Slide 19: Questions?]

So, alright. Let's move to the question-and-answer. Alright. So now we're going to spend the rest of our time answering your questions. And first we're going to go over the questions that you had in the chat if they weren't already answered throughout my presentation. So we will then open the mics for the group that has questions that weren't already addressed. So we also have with us the amazing Tessa Greco to help us answer your questions. She was ETIPP's former program manager who is part of the reason that this program exists today and is so amazing. So we are grateful for Tessa's support while she is currently detailed to the DOE's Water Power Office. So I will ask Brooke, will you just let us know and let us know what questions we still have to answer in the chat, and then we'll open up the mics.

[Speaker: Brooke Van Zandt]

Absolutely. Yeah, Katrina, you did a great job replying to most of those questions in the chat in real time. One question that was not answered is quite specific. And hold on while I read it out loud. If our island community is in need of advocacy support now, in terms of addressing statewide challenges in our efforts to install solar energy resiliency projects, is there someone, somewhere we can turn to, like a solar energy tech office or a regional partner? Our inherent vulnerability as a remote island community and unique energy resilience needs are not being fairly recognized by state policy makers.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

That's a very, very good question. And I would say, since we have Tessa here on the line and she has worked in both capacities at DOE and is currently at a technologies office and working with the ETIPP regional partners—obviously the regional partners are here to help you plan out your project, and if it also entails working with how you may communicate with your decision makers and leaders, yes. I would say reach out. Regional partners, that is what they are there for. But as far as thinking through what you can say or do that can influence your decision makers one way or the other. And so, Tessa do you have anything to add to that?

[Speaker: Tessa Greco]: I would say—I mean, there's so much activity right now surrounding the latest infrastructure law—Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—that was passed, initiatives regarding new technical initiatives or additional funding to support communities in need. To the extent of the description provided, I would encourage this person to either email or directly to myself, I'll put my email in the chat. And we can see if we can get a response for you from someone who can directly answer that question from either the Solar Energy Technologies Office and associated laboratory or otherwise. We appreciate that question.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]


[Speaker: Brooke Van Zandt]

OK, Emma Kramer has her hand raised, and then we have some more questions in the chat coming.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

OK. Why don't we go to Emma and open up the mics, and then we can allow anyone in the chat, if they want, to just expand on their questions and go from there.

[Speaker: Emma Kramer]

Hi there. Can you folks hear me? This is Emma.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

We can hear you.

[Speaker: Emma Kramer]

Excellent. Thanks for letting me ask a question. I just felt like I wouldn't type it very well. I live in Alaska.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

I understand.

[Speaker: Emma Kramer]

Yeah. And for those of the regional partners, they might understand our situation. We are only 50 miles from the municipality of Anchorage. But we are a mountainous community that's islanded, or such, from all utilities. So we are a group of about 35 to 40 cabins that are all off-grid. However, we fall underneath Girdwood, and then in the larger scale, the municipality of Anchorage. And my question is are we too small to apply? And then the second part of that question is our current structure is a nonprofit solely organized for snowplowing, and we discussed changing the bylaws to become an entity just to do this, but I sort of wondered at which point in that process it made sense, if that makes sense. Thank you.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

No. Great question, Emma, and I will do my best to answer part of this. And then we all hear things differently, so I'll defer to also Tessa. But as far as being too small to apply, I would say that that, it's one of those things where you look at the definition of remote, island, and islanded communities and then what I was describing as far as your partnership with your decision makers and your community leaders and providing that support verification. And so it really is looking at how you describe how your partnership is going to support and carry out the technical assistance project and solidifying that through the written support verification. And so with the community types, and I know with going to your second question of being a nonprofit, those are eligible entities to apply.

And so again, it really is difficult to say, because what you're describing, it sounds to me like you can be eligible depending upon how you may slice and dice your partnership and your application and how you may describe your priorities and goals of the technical assistance project. And part of—you referenced bylaws, and that is of great importance to know. And if that's part of what you're trying to achieve with participating in ETIPP, in establishing bylaws, and if ETIPP can help to provide some analysis or planning support to get more justification of those, certainly that is something—that is something that can advance your project with your decision makers and community.

[Speaker: Brooke Van Zandt]

Rob Jordan has his hand raised. I don't know if he has something to add to that.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Great. Go ahead.

[Speaker: Rob Jordan]

If I could, if I could, Katrina.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]


[Speaker: Rob Jordan]

Tessa, you'll probably remember this. In the first round of ETIPP, we actually got an application in from an intentional community on the Kenai Peninsula. And I think the approach that we took—and I would imagine we would take the same approach—was could they complete the application. Could they provide the documentation that was appropriate? They did, and we evaluated their application in the same way that we evaluate larger communities that were looking at other projects. And I think we would do the same thing. One of the first things that we looked at, after you sort of met the threshold of an application, is—is ETIPP the best possible avenue to help you solve the problem that you've described? And in the first round, with the intentional community, it turned out ETIPP was not, and there was actually a resource that was, no kidding, 10 miles away that could help them.

And so a big part of, I think the benefit to that community—and doing the process that took them an hour to fill out the application—was we don't leave you once you've submitted an application. So I got right back to them. I said, "I think I know the solution to your problem. Here's a phone number. Call this guy. He can help you." So that's the way that I would describe it. I would encourage you to not think of limiting yourself or your community based on size and some of these other things we think about. We think about these projects as problems, and we think about what the most appropriate solution would be. And just the application process I think would help.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Great. Thank you, Rob. You said it more eloquently. Alright. So I know we have a couple of minutes left, and we want to get to these other questions. And so as far as—and Brooke, I'm just going to go through. I see Sally Wagner. Does the application need to come from a civic department, or can a nonprofit be the applicant for the community? I answered that it can be a nonprofit, but there are the special purposes, special-purpose districts, like a school district or administrative district. So yes, a nonprofit can apply. And let's see here. Are you more interested in specific projects or pulling multiple initiatives together into an integrated approach? It really depends on what you're looking to do with the technical assistance and what your goals are. And so ideally, we're looking for you to describe what your goals are, what you're aiming to achieve, such as updating a plan. Are you looking for some analysis or modeling assistance? So, it depends on what you're looking, what your energy goals are.

OK. There was a lot that just came up here. OK. And then who would be the best partner to contact? We are in an island in the north Lake Michigan area, Beaver Island. And so Emma Wendt, we do have the Northeast. They would be obviously, I believe, the closest. So you are welcome to reach out to Emma, or really any of the regional partners that can provide you with assistance. But again, you can also reach out to We promise this does not affect your eligibility or the selection process. And so it's just a matter of getting the support that you need for the project development and the application development. OK. I know that we are at the top of the hour, and we do have several questions to continue with. So I'm going to stop there, and Brooke and Kim, is it OK if we extend just a few minutes to answer some questions and open the mic up?

[Speaker: Brooke Van Zandt]


[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

OK. Great. Alright. So going to the mic, I wanted to give an opportunity. Does anybody have questions that were not answered already? And Barbara Johnson, I see your question as well. OK. Alright. OK. Joe Francis, I just want to address this, not being comfortable about the applicability to isolated areas in the middle of the country. Do you have any examples of anything done in the middle of the country? Currently, as far as ETIPP specifically, we do not. And Tessa, do you have any response to this?

[Speaker: Tessa Greco]


[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Yeah. Go ahead.

[Speaker: Tessa Greco]

Sure. So we don't currently, and initially ETIPP was developed—with the sponsorship and support that we have—as a coastal- and island-focused program. That certainly is evolving as we are gaining more traction with other offices at the Department of Energy and are thinking of ways that we can expand the current scope of the program. Certainly there were examples of folks—communities in the kind of middle of the country, as you characterize it—who applied in and were good candidates. And we did follow up with opportunities that were better suited to them outside of the ETIPP mechanism for that, for those couple of examples we have. I would encourage those interested who are located outside of the coastal and island regions, if it seems that ETIPP is a good option for your community, certainly apply in.

Reach out to one of the regional partners regardless of where they're located. Reach out to just to kind of understand the appropriateness for your application and the context that you're thinking about, the challenges that you're trying to solve, and how that technical assistance might support these solutions and those challenges. So I know it's not a neatly tied-up answer, but I hope it gets to some of your concerns regarding whether those communities in the middle states might be considered.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Thank you. OK. And then Barbara Johnson, wondering about the competitiveness and how many applicants applied last year and what percent of those were successful. We have not been asked that question yet, Barbara. And since Tessa was the program manager during that time, Tessa do you mind answering that?

[Speaker: Tessa Greco]

Yes. I'm sorry.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

If you can see it.

[Speaker: Tessa Greco]

Yeah. So I believe we had on the order of 40 applications, close to 40 applications, in our first cohort. We're not sure what to expect this go-round. But certainly, we give fair and equitable review to every single application received. And as Rob and Emma have stated in the chats, we'll follow up, we'll execute on some follow-up if it makes sense to do so, and if your community is better suited for a different funding opportunity or offer. Rob, did you want to?

[Speaker: Rob Jordan]

Yeah. Only to amplify what Tessa said. I think in Alaska about between 40% and 50% of the applications we received were funded. When I hear these questions being asked, I'm thinking about the value proposition, which I think for all of you that are working in zero-sum environments, that every decision that you make pushes something else off the table. And what I would encourage you to think about is the process that's involved in the application and the benefits that are there, combined with the fact that at least our data to this point show that it's an hour for an application process. By comparison, I've been working for two and a half months on proposals to the National Science Foundation for projects. So I think one of the intentions in this program was to reduce the barriers to entry as much as possible, get you in the door, get you working with regional partners, develop relationships. So I encourage you to strongly think about investing that time and just to consider that there are multiple potential positive outcomes for you there.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Great. Thank you, Rob, and thank you, Tessa. OK. Couple of more questions here. Silverton, Colorado, could be considered as a remote or islanded community. I would again just offer to take a look at how we're defining remote, island, and islanded communities. I know that we did have a Colorado organization apply last year. And so NREL, yes, you can certainly email, and we can help you with further questions. Also, Sally—will there be another grant round after this cycle? We are currently in a place where we are hoping to build the organization, and so that is a TBD at this point, but we foresee that there will be. Just to be clear, this is not a grant. This is a technical assistance program, so you'll be receiving direct technical assistance, not actually funding. So just wanted to clarify there.

[Speaker: Brooke Van Zandt]

Katrina, there was a question earlier that I think would be beneficial to everyone, which is a question about the timeline. If the project is considered feasible, how long people should expect the project to last?

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Oh, got you. Thank you. Sorry about that. Lots of great questions coming at us. So the technical assistance projects are estimated to occur from around 12 to 18 months, and so we do ask that in part of the evaluation of the projects is to consider whether the project is—the project that you propose—is feasible within the time parameters of the technical assistance plan. So that would be 12 to 18 months. So for example, let's say that once you're selected as a community, we work with you to just help you onboard, as well as giving you some training to start as far as a resilience workshop and starting out your projects in that scoping process. And then, ideally, that would take one to two months, and then you would actually get started and develop and finalize your statement of work, which could take a little bit of time. But ideally, it would take a total of 20 months of participation. And so that would put you at timing in 2023.

[Speaker: Brooke Van Zandt]

Great. And Emma Kramer had a follow-up question. She's wondering if she can start the application as a group of individuals. They do have support from the larger community, but she's curious if they can apply as a group with other folks.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

So just referring back to the community types and organizational types, if you're able to provide evidence of you being—if you're saying you're going to apply as a nonprofit organization. But at this point, just a group of individuals, we would really need to see some sort of, just, agreement that you've established for the project, and how those group of individuals may carry out the technical assistance.

[Speaker: Tessa Greco]

OK, and if I could just amend that slightly.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]


[Speaker: Tessa Greco]

I think absolutely what you said is relevant. I would also say that we have a number of examples from folks who did apply—either on behalf of nonprofit organizations or as individuals contributing from different nonprofit organizations within communities—for the first cohort who were absolutely eligible, legitimate, ran through the process, and were actually selected in the first cohort of communities. So I would encourage you to form together. I think the crux is—as I think Katrina was getting at—is being able to supply those community and organizational letters of support. So understanding the commitment from the supporting members of your community, as well as adhering to the essence of ETIPP, if you will, for lack of a better term, in creating that energy resilience transition for your community. So I really want to underscore here that I do believe you're eligible. I think it comes down to how you show that commitment with letters of support, how you guys come together as a community, and that can be a self-defined community. So yeah. I just want to underscore that.

[Speaker: Rob Jordan]

Yeah. I want to amplify what Tessa said there. The community of Sitka is a good example from the first round of ETIPP. We literally started off with just an email from concerned citizens, and we helped them. The folks at NREL, and then the folks at REAP and also ACEP, had a series of conversations and just took—because we recognize that community activism is something that's really important for driving change, but we also understand that many times the best avenue for making that change is going through a collaborative, community-driven governmental process. So that's exactly what we did was we brought that interest. People went and talked to the members of their assembly, and amazingly, within a week they managed to turn around letters of support from the assembly, and then the support came from the borough administrator and the utility. So it can be done in that process, and then we also had ALFA, which was a really interesting community of commercial fishermen, that met that standard. So yeah. We're happy to work with you as regional partners to help you develop that proposal and go through the process.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

Great. Thank you. Thank you both. Team effort here. Alright. And I just want to recognize we are 15 minutes over. But Dorothy Kelly Paddock, your note about and description about your community—Mark Glick, I just want to note that, and maybe getting in touch with Dorothy. And Dorothy, reach out to HNEI, and Mark and his team can certainly help with this, needing technical assistance, if you're planning to apply.

[Speaker: Brooke Van Zandt]

Katrina, William Lake also has asked a sort of general question. Do we have time to address it, or should we ask him to follow up with someone? He's asking if we're more interested in specific projects or pulling multiple initiatives into an integrated approach.

[Speaker: Katrina Woodhams]

OK. I thought I had answered that before. But just kind of keeping in line with the same type of response. We really don't want to limit how you all are creating and developing your technical assistance project. And so again, this is a collaborative approach. And so if there, part of the brainstorming and strategic planning process, if you find that there are multiple priorities going on and you want to take a chance and describe those priorities in your applications, you certainly can. And part of being selected as a community of ETIPP, we do help with further defining the scoping of the project and what may be best with your communities. But we would also encourage you to talk with your regional partner if you have one that's close by or one that doesn't. Just contacting the regional partners but also reach out to us and we can talk through, what, helping to prioritize your project. But again, just contact one of our regional partners and we can certainly help with that. OK. Alright.

So I think that is all we have for today for questions. Thank you, everybody, for your interest and just participation. We are very, very excited for the next round of ETIPP and supporting the next round of communities. Just administratively, noting that this slide deck and presentation and the notes from the presentation will be posted on the ETIPP application website. And Kim, if you could—or Brooke—post that link? Just a reminder that this is where the application is, and that you can directly fill out the online form or provide a PDF through email, but also providing your supporting documentation, which includes your written verification of your decision maker or community leader support. Lastly, the recording—the webinar has been recorded, and it will take a little bit longer to post on this website. But please keep checking back in a couple of weeks for the recording. Otherwise, best of luck with the development of your applications. And again, please just reach out to us here at this email,, or a regional partner. Thank you, everybody.

[End of webinar]