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Show Me The Money: Recovery Act Opportunities for Small Businesses

Aug 13 , 2009 - Stoel Rives, LLP

On August 5, 2009, the Department of Energy ("DOE") issued a funding opportunity announcement ("FOA") deploying $8.5 million to stimulate small business innovation in the energy sector. This money will fund the first of three phases for Small Business Innovation Research ("SBIR") and Small Business Technology Transfer ("STTR") programs.1 The purpose of these programs is to fund small business research and development projects with commercial potential.

Under this FOA, DOE will issue up to 60 individual awards of up to $150,000. Phase I will last approximately six months and will allow DOE to evaluate the scientific or technical merit and feasibility of ideas with commercial potential. The applicable research areas include:

  1. Advanced building air conditioning and refrigeration, thermal load shifting, and cool roofs;
  2. Water usage in electric power production and industrial processes;
  3. Power plant cooling;
  4. Advanced gas turbines and materials;
  5. Sensors, controls, and wireless networks;
  6. Advanced water power technology development;
  7. Smart controllers for smart grid applications;
  8. Advanced solar technologies;
  9. Advanced industrial technologies development; and
  10. Advanced manufacturing processes.

The principal research and development effort will be performed during Phase II. As such, it is anticipated that individual Phase II awards will be in amounts up to $1 million. Currently, applications are not being accepted for Phase II grant awards. However, it is expected that Phase II applications will be available shortly, and Phase II Commercialization Plans must be prepared before DOE will fund Phase I awardees. Phase III will provide follow-on developmental funding to meet commercial objectives.

Small business concerns are eligible to apply. For the purposes of this FOA, a small business concern is one that:

  1. Is organized for profit, with a place of business located inside the United States, and that operates primarily within the United States or makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials, or labor;
  2. Is in the legal form of an individual proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, joint venture, association, trust, or cooperative, except that where the form is a joint venture, there can be no more than 49% participation by foreign business entities in the joint venture;
  3. Is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States, or that is a for-profit business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by another for-profit concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States (except in the case of a joint venture, where each entity to the venture must be 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States); and
  4. Has, including its affiliates, not more than 500 employees and meets the other regulatory requirements found in 13 C.F.R. Part 121.

Multiple applications may be submitted under this program. Unlike with other FOAs, applicants may even submit different grant applications to the same subtopic. However, duplicate grant applications, even if submitted to different topics and/or subtopics, will be rejected without review. Applications must be submitted by September 4, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.

If you have questions about this FOA or other renewable energy issues, or if you would like to discuss the possibility of your project applying for these or other government funds, please contact:

Seattle, Washington
David Benson at (206) 386-7584 or
Janet F. Jacobs at (206) 386-7582 or
J. Graham Noyes at (206) 386-7615 or
John Laney at (206) 386-7559 or

Portland, Oregon
Marcus Wood at (503) 294-9434 or
Bill Holmes at (503) 294-9207 or
Dina Dubson at (503) 294-9675 or

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Greg Jenner at (612) 373-8857 or
Debra Frimerman at (612) 373-8819 or

Sacramento, California
John McKinsey at (916) 319-4746 or
Seth Hilton at (916) 319-4749 or

Boise, Idaho
John Eustermann at (208) 387-4218 or


1 The STTR program requires collaboration with a research institution; collaboration is optional for SBIR awardees.


Updated: 2003/07/28