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Rural Energy Innovation Grant

Funding Summary: The Indiana Office of Energy Development (OED), in collaboration with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), is pleased to announce a competitive grant solicitation and funding opportunity to support rural energy innovation in farms, agribusiness and rural small commercial businesses for energy-related implementation projects including transportation technologies, comprehensive energy planning, and enhanced preparedness and resiliency associated with energy systems. Funding for this grant comes from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and is administered by OED. Eligible applicants that meet minimum program requirements will be eligible to receive up to $50,000.00 total for a contract term of two (2) years.

Overview: The U.S. Department of Energy defines resilience1 as “the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions.” Reinforcing rural areas across the State of Indiana through planning and infrastructure enhancements is key to creating resilience. Rural areas are defined as including any town, city, or community that has less than 30,000 residents.

Funding Goal: The Office of Energy Development (OED) intends to enhance rural community resilience with a focus on planning and infrastructure. The Rural Energy Innovation Grant serves to support the reduction of energy consumption and its cost to businesses and taxpayers, increased use of alternative energy and transportation technologies, comprehensive energy planning, and bolster preparedness and resiliency in energy systems to strengthen and ensure rural growth for the future.

Eligible Applicants:
Agricultural businesses; communities, farms, public entities, non-profits, and small businesses located in rural areas. Projects must meet Category A and Category B criteria, plus provide matching funds to be considered.

Available Funding:
Each applicant will be eligible to receive an award up to $50,000 over two (2) years.

There are two (2) types of grants: Planning Initiatives and Infrastructure Implementation. Planning Initiative grants will cover facility and fleet audits, and comprehensive energy plans. Infrastructure implementation grants will cover building energy efficiency retrofits, renewable and traditional energy, alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure. Eligible applicants that meet minimum program requirements will be eligible to receive up to $50,000.00 total for a term of two (2) years. For example, a project may encompass both Planning and Infrastructure- an audit and infrastructure proposal; or, a project may be developed from either Planning or Infrastructure.

Category A Criteria:

  • Grantees must provide matching funds in an amount up to $50,000. For example, if an applicant requests $15,000.00 in grant funding for a project that totals $30,000 dollars, then the applicant would be expected to provide matching funds of $15,000.00.

Category B Criteria:

  • Projects must support planning initiatives as listed below or infrastructure implementation and demonstrate that the project supports rural innovation and enhances resiliency in agricultural businesses; communities, farms, public entities, non-profits, and small businesses located in rural areas.

Planning Initiatives

  • Facility and Fleet Audits that establish energy use baselines, with three years of data if possible; identify energy and operations savings targets, no-cost, low-cost, and other energy efficiency and alternative energy measures; and identify measures or project payback periods and useful life of equipment.
  • Comprehensive Energy Plans that meet the definition of an “investment grade audit,” a comprehensive energy audit that seeks to identify all cost effective investment opportunities through a combination of engineering analysis of energy-using systems and economic analysis of possible energy saving measures. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Level II Energy Audits and plans developed using the Guide to Community Energy Strategic Planning provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, are examples of comprehensive energy plans. Additional elements contained in these plans will include evaluation of current energy use and sources, determination of the entity’s potential for generating energy locally, creation of goals for energy savings and generation, community-wide and stakeholder engagement, and public availability of the plan.
  • Feasibility Studies. Planning may include feasibility studies for any of the eligible implementation activities listed below.

Infrastructure Implementation

  • Building energy efficiency projects that include an audit history of existing energy usage; projects may be eligible if they reduce electric and thermal (gas, fuel oil, diesel, propane, etc.) energy use in buildings via the installation of efficient building technologies and the application of building science and management techniques, such as efficient lighting, improved heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and water conservation systems.
  • Energy Storage
  • Alternative energy projects that include biogas, biomass, geothermal, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind, and alternative fuels.
  • Projects that cover agricultural equipment or motor replacement.

Project Proposals Must:

  • Meet all of the application requirements, including, but not limited to developing work plans, budgets, maintenance plans, obtain insurance and/or permit approvals (where required), and be prepared to comply with grant administration protocols defined in the guidelines;
  • Have a 5-year maintenance plan detailing ongoing maintenance schedules and milestones after project completion;
  • Submit quarterly status reports to the OED beginning 3/27/20 after award notification.

Projects must not:

  • Duplicate or replace funding for an existing private or public program


Project Proposals are due December 13, 2019 by 5:00 PM EDT. The following items must be put into one zip file and sent to grants@oed.in.gov:

  1. Application
  2. Project Narrative including Project Strategy
  3. Budget Form
  4. Equipment Quotes
  5. Project Calculations
  6. NEPA Questionnaire. This document here explains which projects are exempt from NEPA review.
  7. Certifications and Assurance Page
  8. SHPO Section 106 Review Process

Clean Cities MapResources for Your Grant Application:
Applicants can contact OED or the Clean Cities Coalition for technical assistance. Clean Cities Coalitions are supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and are as a resource for fleets that seek to deploy alternative fuels and technologies.


Kerri Garvin, Director
Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition

Carl Lisek, Executive Director
South Shore Clean Cities