|28 Feb 2022||ODOE Files Final Rules for Community Renewable Energy Project Grant Program|
The Oregon Department of Energy submitted final rules to the Secretary of State on February 28, 2022 to establish the new Community Renewable Energy Project grant program created by Sections 29 – 32 of Oregon Laws 2021, chapter 508 which was adopted by the Oregon Legislature in House Bill 2021. The rules are effective February 28, 2022.
The rulemaking process included a public hearing on January 26, 2022 and a public comment period which closed January 28, 2022. ODOE convened an advisory committee in the fall of 2021 to provide consultation on implementing the program, as directed by Section 32 of the bill; the advisory committee also served as a rulemaking advisory committee to assist the department in developing program rules.
This rulemaking created a new division in ODOE administrative rules providing procedures for the Community Renewable Energy Project grant program, including:
- Program processes, including periodic opportunity announcements, information required in applications, completeness and competitive reviews, and performance agreements between the department and successful applicants.
- Eligibility requirements and criteria that the department must use to prioritize applications.
- Allocation and distribution of grant funds.
- Compliance and recovery of grant funds.
The final rules include the following changes the department made to the draft rules in response to public comments:
- Specifying that expenditures incurred by an applicant after the application deadline in the opportunity announcement may be covered by grant funds if the applicant is awarded a grant.
- Adding a cap on planning grant amounts, so that the grant combined with other incentives and grants received by the applicant may not exceed 100 percent of the planning costs.
- Adding a provision allowing the department to release up to 30 percent of the planning grant award upon entering into a performance agreement, mirroring the project development grant process.
- Requiring applicants to describe an existing renewable energy system if the proposed project in the application would be an addition to that existing system, such as adding energy storage or microgrid capabilities to an existing solar photovoltaic array.
- Specifying that materials and supplies associated with utility interconnection are eligible costs for a project development grant, but costs associated with structures or structural components not directly related to installation of the renewable energy system are not eligible.
|26 Jan 2022||Community Renewable Energy Project Grant Program Rules Public Hearing|
The Oregon Department of Energy will hold a virtual
public hearing on January 26, 2022 to receive feedback regarding its draft
rules to establish the Community Renewable Energy Project Grant Program created
by House Bill 2021 (2021). ODOE will accept oral testimony on the rules by
internet or telephone at the public hearing.
Hearing details:Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 9:00 a.m.The ODOE building is currently closed to the public, but our services are open. This public hearing will be conducted virtually via Webex.
This rulemaking is to implement the new Community Renewable Energy Project grant program created by Sections 29 – 32 of Oregon Laws 2021, chapter 508 which was adopted by the Oregon Legislature in House Bill 2021. House Bill 2021 introduced a broad range of programs, studies, and statutory changes relating to clean energy to be implemented by state agencies. Work assigned to the Oregon Department of Energy by the bill includes developing and implementing the new Community Renewable Energy Project grant program. ODOE convened an advisory committee in fall of 2021 to provide consultation on implementing the program, as directed by Section 32 of the bill; the advisory committee also served as a rulemaking advisory committee to assist the department in developing draft rules.
This rulemaking would create a new division in ODOE administrative rules providing procedures for the Community Renewable Energy Project grant program. The bill requires the department to publish periodic opportunity announcements notifying interested parties that grants are available under the program. House Bill 2021 lists several eligibility requirements that must be met by the proposals in applications for planning grants and for project development grants, and lists criteria that the department must use to prioritize applications. The bill requires that out of the initial appropriation of funds for the program, the department must allocate 50 percent or more to projects that serve qualifying communities and 50 percent or more to projects that provide energy resiliency benefits.
The proposed rules list the information that an applicant would be required to provide in a grant application and outline a two-step review process, including a completeness and eligibility review of each application to be followed by a competitive review. As directed by House Bill 2021, ODOE would enter into performance agreements with applicants who are awarded grants; the proposed rules provide a process and a list of required elements for performance agreements under the program. Finally, the proposed rules provide processes for compliance, including the ability of the department to inspect projects and related documentation, and to recover grant funds under certain circumstances.
Commenting on the draft rules:
In addtion to the January 26 public hearing, ODOE also encourages written comments on the draft rules using the ODOE comment portal, or via mail or email. Written comments on the rulemaking are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, January 28, 2022. Comments received after this date will not be considered in the rulemaking process.
ODOE Comment Portal:
Oregon Department of Energy
Attn: Community Renewable Energy Project Grant Program Team
550 Capitol St NE 1st Floor
Salem, OR 97301
ODOE plans to file the proposed rules in February 2022 with the rules becoming effective upon filing.
For more information, contact: