Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project Community Technical Assistance

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) partners with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP) to help remote, island, and islanded communities transform their energy systems and increase energy resilience.

ETIPP defines "energy resilience" as the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from energy disruptions.

ETIPP employs a community-driven approach to identify and plan strategic clean energy and energy resilience solutions that address a community's specific challenges. This approach leverages the experience and expertise of local community leaders, residents, and organizations with the ETIPP partner network. The ETIPP partner network connects selected communities with regional nonprofit or academic organizations ("regional partners"), energy experts at DOE research institutions (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NREL, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories), and DOE offices to navigate options for addressing local clean energy and energy resilience challenges.

By participating in ETIPP, communities receive substantial support from ETIPP experts in the form of technical assistance on energy analysis and planning (see Technical Assistance below). Each community is also supported by an ETIPP regional partner that can assist with identifying and developing a community's needs and goals.

Please be aware that ETIPP is not a grant program and does not provide direct funding to selected communities. The purchase and deployment of energy infrastructure is also not available through ETIPP.

For additional background information on ETIPP, visit DOE's ETIPP website.

How To Apply for Technical Assistance

The ETIPP 2022 application period is closed. Sign-up for NREL’s State, Local, and Tribal newsletter to receive alerts about the next ETIPP application period. You may also contact an ETIPP regional partner to learn about other technical assistance or funding opportunities.

Application and Selection Process

Selected communities will embark on a project that could include, but is not limited to, the types of technical assistance activities below.

  • Assess community energy needs and explore energy technologies that can provide resilience and other community benefits, including energy efficiency, hydropower, microgrids, solar, wind, geothermal, storage, tidal or wave energy, and grid infrastructure needed to support electric transportation, among other industries
  • Develop or update plans or tools to enhance a strategic, whole-system approach for resilient energy systems
  • Analyze feasibility, impacts, and priorities of energy resilience opportunities, including investment in and deployment of resilient energy technologies.
  • Produce guidance or technical documentation to inform policy and program energy transition decisions

To identify technical assistance options, applicants may review examples of current ETIPP communities' technical assistance projects and examples of ETIPP's national lab technical assistance expertise. Note: These are examples and do not reflect all technical assistance options available through ETIPP.

Interested applicants may also explore additional technical assistance options under ETIPP by contacting an ETIPP regional partner.

The ETIPP application process to support the competitive selection of eligible communities will follow the timeline below.

  • Application Release: Jan. 11, 2022
  • Informational Webinar: Feb. 16, 2022
  • Application Deadline: April 15, 2022
  • Application Review Period: April 15–May 13, 2022
  • Selected Community Notification: June 2022
  • Period of Technical Assistance: Up to 20 months (at least 1 to 2 months for project scoping followed by 12 to 18 months for project execution)

You are encouraged to apply to ETIPP if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a community or organization (see Organization below) in the United States.
  • Your community is in a remote location, is an island, or is islanded (see Remote, Island, or Islanded below).
  • You experience energy resilience challenges (for example, frequent energy disruptions or threats to energy infrastructure from natural hazards).
Eligibility Criteria

Applications must meet the basic eligibility criteria below to be evaluated by the review committee and receive technical assistance.

Organization

Types of community organizations eligible to apply include but are not limited to:

  • Local governments (e.g., municipalities, counties, cities, towns)
  • Tribal organizations
  • Community-based nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations
  • Special-purpose districts (e.g., school districts, water districts, sewer districts)
  • Municipal utilities and electric co-ops.
Remote, Island, or Islanded

ETIPP defines remote, island, or islanded communities as follows:

  • Remote communities are isolated from a reliable electrical grid by geographical impediments or from large population centers and as a result have limited access to centralized energy systems.
  • Island communities are isolated from the mainland by waterways.
  • Islanded communities are not grid-tied to large transmission-scale power systems and as a result experience frequent issues with electric reliability and/or power quality. These communities may or may not be categorized as "remote" or "island."

Selection Process

A review committee made up of DOE program staff and energy experts at the national laboratories will evaluate the submitted applications requesting ETIPP technical assistance. DOE intends to select 8 to 12 communities to receive technical assistance. The final number of communities selected will depend on the applications received, availability of funds, and approval by DOE.

ETIPP's regional partners are experienced in supporting community-based energy transitions. They are committed to supporting ETIPP applicants by providing detailed information about the program and application process.

Interested ETIPP applicants are encouraged to first contact a regional partner organization before applying.

Regional partners can help your community in the following ways:

  • Answer questions about ETIPP and the application requirements
  • Answer energy-related questions
  • Brainstorm ETIPP project ideas
  • Provide recommendations to strengthen your draft application
  • Help you find other resources
  • Connect you to other communities.

Interested ETIPP applicants may contact any regional partner, regardless of the applicant's proximity to a regional partner. An applicant's eligibility for ETIPP is not influenced by its proximity to a regional partner. All ETIPP regional partners are available to help interested applicants with the application process.

By contacting an ETIPP regional partner, applicants are not expected to collaborate with the same regional partner if selected for ETIPP.

Alaska Region

Alaska Center for Energy and Power
Patty Eagan
pmeagan@alaska.edu
907-322-4793

Renewable Energy Alaska Project
Rob Jordan
rjordan@realaska.org
907-929-7770

Hawaii/Pacific Region

Hawaii Natural Energy Institute
Mark Glick
mbglick@hawaii.edu
808-956-2339

Northeast Region

Island Institute
Emma Wendt
ewendt@islandinstitute.org
207-808-0691

Pacific Northwest Region

Spark Northwest
Mia Devine
mia@sparknorthwest.org
206-267-2213

Southeast Region

Coastal Studies Institute
George Bonner
ggbonner@ncsu.edu
252-475-5491

1. What is the goal of ETIPP?

ETIPP advances remote, island, and islanded communities toward their self-defined energy resilience goals. ETIPP provides technical assistance using a community-driven approach to identify and plan strategic clean energy and energy resilience solutions that address a community’s specific challenges. This approach leverages the experience and expertise of local community leaders, residents, and organizations with the ETIPP partner network.

2. How is energy resilience defined under ETIPP?

Energy resilience is the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from energy disruptions.

3. Can a community be too small or too large to apply?

There is no size requirement for eligibility. Larger teams like regional organizations, counties, or states that are interested in applying are strongly encouraged to work with a local community partner when applying.

4. Does the application need to come from a civic department, or can a nonprofit be the applicant for the community?

Nonprofits are eligible, as are special-purpose districts, such as a school district or an administrative district.

5. Will ETIPP only consider specific projects, or can an applicant propose multiple project goals and initiatives as an integrated approach to the technical assistance project?

Eligible applicants can propose one project with multiple goals. If a community is selected for technical assistance, ETIPP’s scoping process can help further define the scope of the project and identify which options would best address the community’s challenges, goals, and priorities. Applicants are also encouraged to reach out to an ETIPP regional partner, who can help prioritize and define the scope of proposed projects.

6. What projects are not eligible under ETIPP?

ETIPP technical assistance is not available for the following:

  • Conduct energy efficiency audits
  • Buy or install equipment (e.g., solar panels, wind turbines, wind measurement towers)
  • Grant writing
  • Provide advocacy support.

7. Does ETIPP provide advocacy support to communities?

ETIPP does not provide advocacy support. However, an ETIPP regional partner can help communities with understanding energy transition needs and the potential impacts of various policies and technology pathways.

8. Does my community receive funding from ETIPP?

Communities will not receive direct financial assistance through ETIPP. The purchase and deployment of energy infrastructure is also not available through ETIPP.

9. If selected, how much time will communities commit to participating in the technical assistance? How long does technical assistance last?

The total time commitment varies based on the type of technical assistance project. Communities should expect to commit time to participating in regular community meetings every month and time to support the technical assistance planning and analysis work. Following the application evaluation process, selected communities will embark on a project scoping phase (approximately 1 to 2 months) to discuss community priorities and finalize project proposals with technical assistance providers. Selected communities and technical assistance providers will then execute the project informed by the scoping phase over a period of 12 to 18 months. Applicants should consider whether the proposed project is feasible within the time parameters of the technical assistance plan.

10. How competitive is the selection process?

The competitiveness depends on the total number of communities that apply. When a community is not selected, ETIPP will notify the applicant and work with the regional partner and national labs to identify any resources or funding opportunities that can better address the specific challenges of the community.

11. Will there be another application period after 2022?

The next application period for ETIPP technical assistance has not been determined.

Informational Webinar

Text version. View the ETIPP Webinar slides.

Contact

If you have questions about any of the information above, including technical assistance, the application, or selection process, please contact a regional partner or email ETIPP@nrel.gov.