Grant Details

Distributed Energy Systems Demonstrations - FY 2024

Agency: U.S. Department of Energy
CFDA: 81.255
Federal FON: DE-FOA-0003139
Office: Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED)
Multipart Grant: No
Next Due: 04/15/2024 (Multiple)
Solicitation Date: 09/26/2023
Match Required: Yes
Match Type: Cash/In-Kind
Actual Funds: Unspecified
Range: $50,000,000 (Max)
Award Range: $10,000,000 (Min) / $25,000,000 (Max)

The purpose of this program is to support operations of diverse and flexible clean energy assets at a high proportion of peak load. Utility and/or private sector-led projects will operate integrated distributed energy systems for sustained periods to build confidence in grid performance, develop and share best practices, and accelerate market-ready solutions. The funding agency seeks projects that can demonstrate that aggregated and coordinated distributed energy resources can provide reliable, predictable grid services for a wide range of system configurations.

This program aims to build confidence that the design, control, and compensation approaches developed can be readily applied to other portions of the distribution grid and extended to other mixes of distributed energy resources (DERs), potentially extending the value of this approach to a more diverse set of communities, individuals, and entities as the distribution system continues to change.

Program funding will support transformative at-scale projects within distribution systems that demonstrate approaches to integrate grid-edge renewable and distributed energy systems into broader energy networks. These projects will seek to demonstrate reliable operations and system-wide value in the context of distribution grids with high levels of variable as well as non-dispatchable renewable generation and flexible load assets.

Projects must demonstrate operational reliability at or above current system reliability, with no degradation in services, availability, and/or power quality, and should show a clear financial defensibility and potential for extension and replication to similar grid systems with moderate variability in grid topology and asset mix.

Projects should accomplish the maximum practicable number of the following objectives:

  • Demonstrate reliable operations and financial value of distribution grids that leverage high levels of variable renewable generation and flexible load assets to the distribution grid operators and end-users
  • Demonstrate interoperability and coordinated control of generation, grid, storage, transportation, industrial, and/or building energy systems
  • Demonstrate reliable grid service provision from diverse DER mixes and grid configurations
  • Support the development of best practices for planning, execution, and operation of similar projects
  • Ensure sharing of best practices and key learnings on grid reliability at high levels of penetration utilizing diverse asset mixes with system operators to ensure replicability and extensibility of control approaches
  • Share electricity usage and system performance data with relevant communities, such as geographic communities and communities of practice, to accelerate adoption and replication of successful solutions
  • Integrate with and expand grid operator training programs
  • Accelerate the incorporation of these solutions into utility planning processes
  • Reduce the cost of capital for implementation of similar, subsequent projects
  • Reduce barriers to participation and access to grid service financial value for a diverse group of energy asset owners and disadvantaged communities (DAC)
  • Engage in providing grid services to Independent System Operators/Regional Transmission Organizations (ISO/RTO) through Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) Order 2222

Supported projects must meet the following requirements:

  • Utilize a distribution grid with at least 20MW peak load for the demonstration
  • Utilize distributed energy resources, excluding distributed generation, with an aggregated capacity of at least 25 percent of the grid system peak load
  • Have at least 50 percent of distributed energy resources in place and/or enrolled at the application stage
  • Include a distribution grid operator, either as prime recipient or as a subrecipient

Projects will adhere to a four-phased structure for managing scope, schedule, deliverables, and budget. The funding agency anticipates all awarded projects to be funded through phase 4 pending successful go/no-go reviews.

Projects are expected to continue as self-sustaining entities operating fully independent of federal funds.

Applicants may be invited to participate in pre-selection interviews.

Last Updated: April 05, 2024

Eligibility Notes:

Eligible applicants are:

  • Utilities, including municipal, cooperative, and investor-owned utilities
  • For-profit entities currently engaged in grid service provision via an established portfolio of aggregated distributed energy resources (DERs)

For the purposes of this program, currently engaged means having at least one active service contract in the DER aggregation and/or virtual power plant (VPP) operations space at the time of application submission. An established portfolio of aggregated DERs means having an enrolled asset base and extensive experience with integrated grid operations.

The following entities may participate as subrecipients:

  • Institutions of higher education
  • National laboratories/Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs)
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • For-profit entities
  • Tribal nations
  • State and local governmental entities
  • Community choice aggregators
  • Incorporated and unincorporated consortia
  • Partnerships or consortia of two or more of the above entities

In limited circumstances, a waiver may be approved to allow a foreign entity to participate as the prime recipient or subrecipient.

Federal agencies and instrumentalities other than the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), DOE/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) FFRDCs, non-DOE/NNSA FFRDCs, and Federal Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) and the Tennessee Valley Authority, are eligible to participate only as a subrecipient and are not eligible to apply as a prime recipient.

For non-DOE/NNSA FFRDCs, the federal agency sponsoring the FFRDC must authorize in writing the use of the FFRDC on the proposed project and this authorization must be submitted with the application.

Applicants may submit more than one concept paper and full application, provided that each application describes a unique, scientifically distinct project.

Eligible Applicants:
Local Government
Private Sector
Application Notes:

Mandatory concept papers must be received by 5:00 p.m. ET on November 16, 2023.

The due date for the concept paper has been extended to 5:00 p.m. ET on December 13, 2023. Additional information is included in the NOFA file.

Concept papers must be submitted online at

Concept papers must include:

  • Cover page
  • Project overview and objectives
  • Demonstration plan
  • Management and organization
  • Community benefits plan

Concept papers are limited to 11 pages.

Concept papers will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Clearly describe the proposed scope of the demonstration project including the key technologies and systems, control and operational approach, total cost of the project and nonfederal cost share amount, grid services and value provided, proposed timeline, and other applicant-proposed metrics
  • Clearly identify how the proposed approach could be replicated and/or extended to similar systems with moderate variability in grid topology and assets
  • Where appropriate, demonstrate how applicant plans to leverage other federal and/or state funding and/or incentive programs, including rebates and tax credits, and partnerships
  • Preliminary project development plan and timeline shows a clear path to rapid execution of the proposed project, including a finance plan, any key risks, challenges, and possible mitigation strategies, and has shown the impact that program funding and the proposed project would have on supporting decarbonization goals
  • Applicant and proposed team have qualifications, experience, capabilities, and other resources necessary to design, develop, build, and operate proposed project
  • Description of strategies to ensure meaningful community and labor engagement; quality jobs and workforce development; diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA); benefits to the surrounding community; the Justice40 Initiative; and methods to ensure accountability for all strategies
  • Proposed work, if successfully accomplished, would meet the objectives as stated in the solicitation, including achieving market liftoff and attracting follow-on investments from the private sector

Following receipt of the concept paper, the funding agency will notify applicants of its determination to encourage or discourage the submission of a full application. Applicants may submit a full application even if they receive a notification discouraging them from doing so.

Applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. ET on February 29, 2024.

The due date for the application has been extended to 5:00 p.m. ET on April 15, 2024. Additional information is included in the NOFA file.

Applications must be submitted online at

Applications must include:

  • SF 424
  • SL LLL
  • Technical volume (26 pages max)
  • Techno-economic analysis workbook
  • Community benefits plan: job quality and equity (5 pages max)
  • Community partnership documentation (3 pages max each)
  • Resumes (2 pages max each)
  • Letters of commitment (1 page max each)
  • Budget justification
  • Subrecipient budget justification
  • Summary for public release (1 page max)
  • Summary slide (1 page max)
  • Transparency of foreign connections
  • Current and pending support disclosures
  • Potentially duplicative funding notice
  • Written waiver request (if applicable)
  • Federal agency authorization (if applicable)

The techno-economic analysis workbook and budget justification must be submitted in Excel format. The summary slide must be submitted in MS PowerPoint.

Concept papers and applications must be in .pdf format, unless stated otherwise, and must be formatted on standard-sized pages with at least one-inch margins in a black Calibri font of at least 12-point, except in figures and tables and footnotes or endnotes, which must be at least 10-point font. The maximum file size is 50 MB. Refer to page 24 of the NOFA file for additional concept paper and application formatting information.

The following are required in order to submit an application:

  • Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number
  • SAM (System for Award Management) registration

Applicants may obtain a UEI number and verify or renew SAM registration status at

Applicants may be invited to participate in pre-selection interviews, where they will meet with funding agency representatives to provide clarification on the application contents and provide the funding agency with an opportunity to ask questions regarding the proposed project.

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Technical approach and impact (20 percent)
  • Financial and market viability (25 percent)
  • Management and organization (20 percent)
  • Workplan (20 percent)
  • Community benefits plan (15 percent)

Refer to the NOFA, TEAWorkbook, and Budget files for additional application information.

Match Required: Yes
Match Type: Cash/In-Kind
Actual Funds: Unspecified
Range: $50,000,000 (Max)
Award Range: $10,000,000 (Min) / $25,000,000 (Max)
Match Notes:

Applicants must provide at least 50 percent of the total project cost via nonfederal cash, cash equivalents, and/or in-kind contributions.

Matching contributions must come from sources otherwise allowed by law, such as project participants, state or local governments, or third-party financing.

A contingency reserve will also be required for all phase 3 and phase 4 activities.

In general, deferred or avoided costs such as tax credits may not be used as matching contributions.

Federal financing, such as funding agency loan guarantees, may not be leveraged to provide the required match. Contingency funds may not be included as cost share in the applicant's budget.

The prime recipient is legally responsible for paying the entire cost share.

Funding Notes:

Up to approximately $50 million is available to support two to four cooperative agreements ranging from approximately $10 million to $25 million through this program.

Award notifications are expected to be made in fall or winter 2024.

Project periods are limited to eight years. Upon award, the initial phase of the project, or otherwise less than all four project phases, will be funded. Ongoing funding is dependent on go/no-go determinations and award recipient performance.

Applicants must request prior written approval to charge pre-award costs.

Capital expenditures for purchase and installation of generation, storage, and load assets are limited to 15 percent of total project costs.

Recruitment and enrollment activities for consumer and commercially owned distributed energy resources (DERs) are limited to 10 percent of total project costs.

Direct payment of participation incentives to asset owners may not exceed 15 percent of total project costs, excluding program income.

Funds may not be used for:

  • Expenses related to pre-selection interviews or pre-selection clarifications
  • Activities involving human subjects
  • Procuring or obtaining, extending or renewing a contract to procure or obtain, or entering into a contract or extending or renewing a contract to procure or obtain, equipment, services, or systems that use covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system

Program Staff

Agency Address
Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20585

Contact Notes:

Questions must be submitted to the program staff using the information provided no later than three business days prior to the application due date and time. Questions and answers will be posted online at

Concept papers and applications must be submitted online at

The agency address provided is for reference purposes only.

Other Pre-Award File: US16449_TEAWorkbook_FY2024.xlsx (44.3 Kb)
Other Pre-Award File: US16449_Budget_FY2024.xlsx (269.6 Kb)
Other Pre-Award File: US16449_TeamingPartner_FY2024.pdf (133.2 Kb)
NOFA File: US16449_NOFA_FY2024.pdf (1.1 Mb)
Other Pre-Award File: US16449_Q&A_FY2024.pdf (102.3 Kb)
Federal Forms:
SF 424 (144.4 Kb)
SF LLL (98.7 Kb)
File Notes:

The NOFA file contains the revised solicitation for this program. The TEAWorkbook file contains the required techno-economic analysis workbook for the application. The Budget file contains the required budget form for the application. The TeamingPartner file contains a list of organizations that may wish to partner on an application. The Q&A file contains a list of questions and answers regarding this program. The required federal forms are attached.

April 5, 2024
An updated list of questions and answers regarding this program has been released and attached as the Q&A file.

March 22, 2024
An updated list of questions and answers regarding this program has been released and attached as the Q&A file.

February 14, 2024
An updated list of questions and answers regarding this program has been released and attached as the Q&A file.

January 15, 2024
An updated list of questions and answers regarding this program has been released and attached as the Q&A file.

December 14, 2023
A revised solicitation for this program has been released and attached as the NOFA file.

November 27, 2023
An updated list of questions and answers regarding this program has been released and attached as the Q&A file. In addition, an updated list of organizations that may wish to partner on an application has been released and attached as the TeamingPartner file.

November 14, 2023
A revised solicitation containing an updated due date for the concept paper and application has been released and attached as the NOFA file. An updated list of questions and answers regarding this program has also been released and attached as the Q&A file. The Application and Financial sections have been updated accordingly.

Grant Keywords
OCED, DOE, clean energy, energy, clean energy demonstration, distributed energy system, DE-FOA-0003139, 81.255, clean energy asset, grid, electric grid, grid performance, market-ready, peak load, at-scale project, grid-edge, energy network, renewable generation, flexible load asset, interoperability, generation, grid service, DER, utility, utilities, municipal-owned utility, municipal-owned utilities, cooperative-owned utility, cooperative-owned utilities, investor-owned utility, investor-owned utilities, private sector, for-profit entity, for-profit entities, national laboratory, national laboratories, FFRDC, nonprofit, not-for-profit, tribal nation, tribe, tribal, government entity, local government entity, local government entities, state government entity, state government entities, community choice aggregator, incorporated consortia, unincorporated consortia, DES, distributed energy resource, sensor, solar, solar installation, electric vehicle, ISO, RTO, disadvantaged community, disadvantaged communities, BIL, energy consumer, VPP, TRL, ARL, SHINES, C2C, GMI, ERA, GRIP, carbon, pollution, grid configuration, distributed generation, advanced grid electronic, microgrid network, flexible load, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, industrial facility load, flexible building load, wind, distributed wind, HVAC, NNSA, PMA, energy conservation, energy efficiency, energy efficient, electric, electrical, electricity, power supply, infrastructure development
Grant Categories
Community Development
Environment/Natural Resources