Deadline
-
October 16, 2024
3:00 pm
ET

Innovative Queue Management Solutions (iQMS) Demonstration Program - TRACK 1

Information

Description

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) and the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, in collaboration with ENERGYWERX, are looking to partner with distribution utilities to rapidly prototype and demonstrate new solutions to improve queue management processes for generator interconnection, electric vehicle supply equipment or both within the next 24 months. The Innovative Queue Management Solutions (iQMS) program provides $11.2 million in direct funding to solve emerging challenges to integrate increasing number of non-residential, mid-scale clean energy projects (100 kW-5 MW) or electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), or both, into distribution grid networks.  

The iQMS program plans to fund 25 electric utilities to explore, test, and implement different queue optimization management approaches most aligned with their needs, capabilities, and goals. We encourage electric co-ops, municipal or community electric utilities, and investor-owned distribution utilities to apply. Let’s collaborate and implement simpler, faster, and fairer queue management solutions and accelerate decarbonizing our energy system.  

Objective

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) program, spearheaded by the Solar Energy Technologies Office and the Wind Energy Technologies Office, was launched in 2022 to enable simpler, faster, and fairer interconnection of clean energy resources to the distribution and transmission grids. The i2X team hosted dozens of events and convened virtual meetings with more than2,000 stakeholders from across the U.S. electricity ecosystem. The i2X program funded 12 technical assistance projects with three national labs and more than six distribution utilities. The i2X team released a Transmission Interconnection Roadmap outlining 35 solutions to speed up the interconnection of clean energy onto the nation’s transmission grid and clear the existing backlog of solar, wind, and battery projects seeking to be built. The i2X team released a draft roadmap for Distributed Energy Interconnection to solicit feedback from stakeholders (deadline). This draft sets aggressive success targets for 2035 and features solutions that key stakeholders may explore and implement collaboratively to meet such targets. The roadmap serves as a guide to distribution utilities, interconnection customers, state agencies, state regulators, equipment manufacturers, consumer advocates, equity and energy justice communities, advocacy groups, consultants, and the research community.

In addition, the i2X team and the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (Joint Office), in collaboration with ENERGYWERX, publicly solicited, in April 2024, feedback from stakeholders on supporting distribution utilities as they explore new approaches to studying generator interconnection requests, electric vehicle charging equipment service requests and queue management on distribution grids.

The Challenge

Due to federal tax incentives, state and local decarbonization goals, requests for mid-scale projects such as distributed wind or community scale solar projects, and electric vehicle supply equipment projects on distribution grid networks are growing and are expected to grow rapidly through 2025. Based on stakeholder feedback and comments, distribution utilities lack the tools and internal capabilities to adequately manage large queues of interconnection for mid-scale (100kW-5MW) clean energy and flexible demand (e.g. electric vehicle charging) projects seeking to connect to low-capacity grid networks, without delays or high costs. Distribution utilities value the need to test and implement tools and procedures to efficiently process these applications and avoid costly use of internal resources, queue backlogs, and slowing the transition to a decarbonizing energy system.

Collaboration Opportunity

i2X and the Joint Office in collaboration with ENERGYWERX (collectively the iQMS team) are launching the Innovative Queue Management Solutions (iQMS) program. Under this program, we are providing $11.2 million of direct funding to distribution utilities to facilitate testing and demonstrating new interconnection, service load request and energization queue management solutions, within the next 24 months. The iQMS program provides funding into two tracks.

Track 1: Generator Interconnection

  • Focus: Distribution-level queue management solutions for generator interconnection of clean energy projects such as solar, wind, storage, small hydro, and other clean energy technologies.
  • Total Funding: $9.2 million
  • Funding Levels: Funding is provided to selected partners in two phases. In each phase the selected partnering distribution utility will demonstrate progress of capabilities to implement new generator interconnection queue management solutions for mid-scale (100kW-5MW) clean energy.
    • Phase 1 - Get Ready (8 Months): Up to 20 partnering utilities, each awarded $200,000, to take tangible actions towards testing and validating a compelling value proposition of at least one new queue management optimization solution combined with a plan to demonstrate such solutions under real-world conditions in Phase 2 and within the next 16 months. The results of Phase 1 and lessons learned will be shared publicly.  
    • Phase 2 - Demo (16 Months): Up to 8 best performing partnering utilities from Phase 1, will each receive $650,000 to complete the proposed implementation plan and demonstrate how the new solution set delivers expected results under real-world conditions. The results of these demonstrations and lessons learned will be shared publicly.
  • Areas of Interest: Queue management solutions to explore, validate and implement during this program must align with partnering utilities interests, priorities, needs, and capabilities to demonstrate significant improvements to their queue management practices and timelines for mid-scale (100kW-5MW) clean energy projects. Example solutions include, but are not limited to:
    • Advanced hosting capacity services and tools, such as dynamic hosting capacity maps equipped with point of interconnection cost data,
    • Fast-track or self-service interconnection screening or studies,
    • Use of load control management systems or other grid enhancing technologies
    • Expanding existing internal software and IT capabilities used for managing interconnection requests for small-scale generators or battery storage systems(<100 kW) to accommodate interconnection screening or studies for mid-scale systems.
    • Automated technical screens or interconnection studies,
    • Dynamic or flexible interconnection solutions and services,
    • Group studies, or locational clustering for interconnection requests to co-optimize, generation, storage, and flexible and scheduled loads. (See Track 2)
    • Other queue optimization solutions
  • Accelerated Option: Selected partnering utilities that complete Phase 1 deliverables and show significant progress towards completing Phase deliverables and an internally approved plan to demonstrate their proposed solutions, at the time of applying for funding or 90-days before the end of the 8-month performance period of Phase 1, may be able to advance to Phase 2 directly. In such cases, a selected utility will receive funding for both phases, when possible, subject to funding availability.
  • Collaboration and Technical Assistance: Selected partnering utilities are expected to dedicate resources and assign staff to coordinate, collaborate, and provide progress updates to the IQMS team. Participants will be assigned to a cohort for DOE-funded technical assistance and sharing lessons learned throughout the 24-month time frame.
  • Approval (if applicable): Partnering utilities are encouraged to identify and begin work on internal/external approvals needed to conduct pilots in the active interconnection queue.  For example, if the partnering utility is regulated by a public regulatory commission, it may be required to seek approval to engage in Phase 2 demonstrations on active generation interconnection requests. Selected utilities will also be responsible forgetting regulatory approval, if necessary, to conduct pilots on active interconnection generation requests and demonstrate queue optimization solutions within the 24-month timeframe.

Track 1 & Track 2 Options

Distribution utilities interested to explore, test, and implement queue optimization management solutions for generator interconnection and electric vehicle charging load requests and energization queues, can apply for both tracks. The iQMS team allocated funds to support up to five partnering utilities in Phase 1 and two best performing utilities to advance to Phase 2.

Projects Specifically Not of Interest

The iQMS team will consider the following types of projects non-responsive for this opportunity and not review or consider for funding.

  • Projects without committed partnering distribution electric utilities operating in the U.S.  
  • Projects that focus on convening stakeholders or conducting research to produce new frameworks, grid modeling capabilities, propose new electricity regulations, or compile strategies for improving queue management practices.
  • Projects that solely focus on improving queue management practices for small-scale (<100 kW) generators, storage systems or electric vehicle supply equipment.
  • Projects that focus on off-grid applications or on plug-n-play technologies for generators or EV supply equipment or both.
  • Projects that focus solely on transmission-level management solutions.  
  • Projects that focus on business development or build duplicate existing tools.
  • Projects that propose solutions or technologies not based on sound scientific principles (e.g.,violates the laws of thermodynamics).

Event Updates

How to Participate

  1. Download the Capabilities Overview Template: Click Here to Download
  2. Attend the Informational Webinar/Objective Strategic Session on August 29, 2024 from 3:00-4:00 PM ET: Click Here to RSVP
  3. Attend the Informational Office Hours Session on September 19, 2024 from 3:00-4:00 PM ET: Click Here to RSVP
  4. Complete the Submission Form: Click Here to Submit (Submissions are due NLT October 16, 2024 by 3:00 PM ET)
     

Important Dates

Opportunity Announcement

Objective Strategic Session

Informational Webinar/ Objective Strategic Session (August 29, 2024): Join ENERGYWERX and the i2X iQMS team for an informational webinar on the Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange Interconnection Queue Management Innovative Queue Management Solutions Pilot Demonstration Program. 3:00-4:00PM ET Click Here to RSVP

Information "Office Hours" Session(s)

Informational Office Hours (September 19, 2024): ENERGYWERX and the i2X iQMS team will host open office hours for potential applicants. Participants are encouraged to come prepared to ask questions. The session will take place on September 19, 2024 from 3:00-4:00 PM ET. Click Here to RSVP

Submission Deadline(s)

Submissions are due NLT October 16, 2024 at 3:00 PM ET

Process Details

Timeline(s)

  • Submissions Open (August 14, 2024 - October 16, 2024): Interested utilities must complete a submission form (for government review only) NLT October 16,2024, by 3:00 PM ET. Applicants must download, complete, and upload an iQMS project proposal (maximum five pages) using template provided below. The evaluation and selection criteria that will be used to evaluate your proposal can be found in the template at the bottom of this webpage.
  • Informational Webinar/Objective Strategic Session (August 29, 2024): Join ENERGYWERX, DOE and the Joint Office for an informational webinar about this collaboration opportunity on August 29, 2024, from 3:00-4:00 PM ET.
  • Informational Office Hours (September 19, 2024): ENERGYWERX, DOE and the Joint Office will host open office hours for potential applicants. Office hour participants are encouraged to come prepared to ask questions. The session will take place on September 19, 2024, from 3:00-4:00 PM ET.
  • Review and Selection(October 17, 2024 – November 22, 2024): The i2X team will review and evaluate Track 1 applications according to published criteria and select to fund Phase 1 project proposals which have the highest likelihood of success. The Joint Office will review and evaluate Track 2 applications according to published criteria and select to fund Phase 1 project proposals which have the highest likelihood of success. The i2X team and the Joint Office will review project proposals applying for Track 1 and Track 2 and will select most impactful project proposals jointly.  All applicants will receive notifications of selection status on November 22, 2024. Each selected applicant will be invited to negotiate the project Statement of Effort (SOE) which contains details about deliverables, milestones and timeline for Phase 1and Phase 2.
  • Selected Projects Negotiation (December 1, 2024 – January 17, 2025):  Selected applicants need to complete all negotiations and necessary contractual paperwork no later than January 17, 2025. Selected projects that cannot complete negotiations and contractual paperwork after 30-day grace period ending on February 17, 2025, will not be funded.
  • Selected Projects Kick-off (January 20, 2025 – March 1, 2025): Successfully negotiated projects can begin as early as January 20, 2025, if all required agreements have been signed, but no later than March 1, 2025. Selected projects that cannot officially start before or on March 1, 2025, will not be funded.
  • Accelerated Option Deadline (June 7, 2025)
  • Phase 1 Project Results Completed (December 1, 2025)
  • Phase 2 Projects Kick-off Deadline (Feb 2, 2026)
  • Phase 2 Project Results Completed (July 1, 2027)
*All dates are subject to change

Resources from Webinar(s)

Coming soon.

Slide Deck(s)

Coming soon.

Transcript(s)

Coming soon.

Video Recording(s)

Coming soon.

Webinar Q&As

Coming soon.

Eligibility & Review Criteria

Funding Eligibility

All applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Applicant must qualify as a domestic entity. To qualify as a domestic entity, the entity must be organized, chartered, or incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a particular state or territory of the United States. The entity must have majority domestic ownership and control and have a physical place of business in the United States.
  • Applicant must certify that it is not owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of government of Country of Risk. The U.S. Department of Energy defines Country of Risk to include China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. This list is subject to change.
  • U.S. distribution electric utilities as applicants are preferred. Applicants other than distribution electric utilities are eligible to apply but are required to provide supporting evidence of a highly committed electric utility partner (partnering utility). See how we review and evaluate project proposals.

Merit Review Process & Evaluation Criteria

The i2X team will review and evaluate Track 1 applications. The Joint Office will review and evaluate Track 2 applications. The team will review and evaluate each application according to the merit review criteria, program policy factors, and the overall portfolio of proposed projects. The merit review criteria consist of statements in three parts. The team will score each application’s merits by agreeing or disagreeing with the merit review criteria statements to assign points according to a scale shown below. All statements have equal merits unless a point multiplier is otherwise explicitly stated. This point-scale applies to scoring merit review criteria only.  

Application Merit Review Criteria

Criteria 1: Scope & Feasibility

The proposed project explores a queue management solution specific to challenges for integrating mid-scale (100kW-5MW) clean energy projects into distribution networks. The proposal identifies a value proposition and potential benefits to the partnering utility in using proposed new queue management solution.  

  • The proposed queue management solution has potential to improve the efficiency of current practices of a partnering utility’s queue management for mid-scale generator interconnection (Track 1), or service requests of electric vehicle supply equipment (Track 2), or both (Track 1 and Track 2) leading to shorter queue timelines for new clean energy projects.    
  • The proposal explains how the proposed solution queue management solution aligns well with the partnering utility priorities, interests, and goals.
  • Phase 1 activities are specific and feasible to implement within an 8-month period.
  • Phase 2 activities are specific and feasible to implement within a 16-month period.
  • The proposal describes how the partnering utility may seek approval, regulatory or otherwise, if necessary, to demonstrate the proposed queue management solution under real-world conditions or with participating customers (e.g., a new process pilot).    

Criteria 2: Project Team & Workplan

  • The applicant is a U.S. distribution utility.
  • The project team includes a partnering U.S. distribution utility highly committed to perform activities in Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project.  
  • The project team includes key staff and decision makers in the partnering utility and its vendors to implement Phase 1 and Phase 2 tasks collaboratively.
  • Phase 1 includes at least one milestone that shows how the project team will design and develop the new solution using or expanding existing capabilities or by acquiring new capabilities from vendors or solution providers.
  • Phase 1 tasks include meaningful milestones that demonstrate readiness to advance to Phase 2.  
  • Phase 1 milestones include one to provide a detailed plan for how the partnering utility will implement queue management solution in Phase 2.

Criteria 3: Impact & Scalability

  • The proposed solution has great potential to simplify queue management practices, increase process efficiency, certainty and reduce overall costs and timelines.
  • The proposed solution applies to multiple distribution energy technologies such as PV, wind, battery storage (Track 1).  
  • The proposed solution applies to multiple manufacturers of electric vehicle supply equipment (Track2).  
  • The proposed solution pilot demonstration in Phase 2 has potential to be fully implemented at scale in the partnering utility service territories (e.g., multiple service territory, or across multiple states if utility crosses multiple states).
  • The proposed solution has potential to be adapted by a wide range of distribution utilities across different geographic regions.  
  • process certainly and reliability.  

Program Goals and Policy Factors

The iQMS team will apply the following factors when reviewing and evaluating applications to select the most impactful projects.     

  • The proposed project aligns well with the i2X program goals, priorities, on-going efforts, and planned activities.  
  • The proposed project aligns well with the Joint Office and DOE’s programmatic interests and priorities.  
  • The proposed project expands the geographic diversity of organizations which received or are receiving support from the U.S. government.    
  • The proposed project supports organization with limited resources or urgent needs.  
  • The proposed project expands direct support to underserved or disadvantaged communities or groups.  
  • The proposed project incorporates equity, diversity, and inclusion elements.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions

If you have any questions, please contact ENERGYWERX: info@energywerx.org

Quick Links