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H.R. 4447: Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act of 2019


The text of the bill below is as of Sep 20, 2019 (Introduced).


I

116th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 4447

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 20, 2019

(for himself, Mr. Mullin, Mr. Lamb, and Mr. Norman) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To establish an energy storage and microgrid grant and technical assistance program.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act of 2019.

2.

Definitions

(a)

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Eligible entity

The term eligible entity means—

(A)

a rural electric cooperative; or

(B)

a nonprofit organization working with at least 6 or more rural electric cooperatives.

(2)

Energy storage

The term energy storage means the use of a system, equipment, facility, or technology that—

(A)

is capable of absorbing energy, storing that energy for a period of time, and dispatching the stored energy; and

(B)
(i)

uses a mechanical, electrochemical, or thermal process to store energy that—

(I)

was generated at an earlier time for use at a later time; or

(II)

was generated from a mechanical process, and would otherwise be wasted, for delivery at a later time; or

(ii)

stores thermal energy for direct use for heating or cooling at a later time in a manner that avoids the need to use electricity at that later time, including the storage and use offered by a grid-enabled water heater.

(3)

Island

The term island, with respect to a distributed generator or energy storage equipment, means that the generator or equipment continues to power a location in the absence of electric power from a primary source.

(4)

Microgrid

The term microgrid means an interconnected system of loads and distributed energy resources, including generators and energy storage devices, within clearly defined electrical boundaries that—

(A)

acts as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid; and

(B)

can connect and disconnect from the grid to operate in both grid-connected mode and island mode.

(5)

Renewable energy source

The term renewable energy source has the meaning given the term in section 609(a) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (7 U.S.C. 918c(a)).

(6)

Rural electric cooperative

The term rural electric cooperative means an electric cooperative (as defined in section 3 of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 796)) that sells electric energy to persons in rural areas.

(7)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Energy.

3.

Energy storage and microgrid assistance program

(a)

In general

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish a program under which the Secretary shall—

(1)

provide grants to eligible entities under subsection (c);

(2)

provide technical assistance to eligible entities under subsection (d); and

(3)

disseminate information to eligible entities on—

(A)

the activities described in subsections (c)(1) and (d); and

(B)

potential and existing energy storage and microgrid projects.

(b)

Cooperative agreement

The Secretary may enter into a cooperative agreement with an eligible entity to carry out subsection (a).

(c)

Grants

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall award grants to eligible entities for identifying, evaluating, designing, and demonstrating energy storage and microgrid projects that utilize energy from renewable energy sources.

(2)

Application

To be eligible to receive a grant under paragraph (1), an eligible entity shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(3)

Use of grant

An eligible entity that receives a grant under paragraph (1)—

(A)

shall use the grant—

(i)

to conduct feasibility studies to assess the potential for implementation or improvement of energy storage or microgrid projects;

(ii)

to analyze and implement strategies to overcome barriers to energy storage or microgrid project implementation, including financial, contracting, siting, and permitting barriers;

(iii)

to conduct detailed engineering of energy storage or microgrid projects;

(iv)

to perform a cost-benefit analysis with respect to an energy storage or microgrid project;

(v)

to plan for both the short- and long-term inclusion of energy storage or microgrid projects into the future development plans of the eligible entity; or

(vi)

to purchase and install necessary equipment, materials, and supplies for demonstration of emerging technologies; and

(B)

may use the grant to obtain technical assistance from experts in carrying out the activities described in this Act.

(4)

Condition

As a condition of receiving a grant under paragraph (1), an eligible entity shall—

(A)

implement a public awareness campaign about the project implemented under the grant in the community in which the eligible entity is located;

(B)

submit to the Secretary, and make available to the public, a report that describes—

(i)

any energy cost savings and environmental benefits achieved under the project; and

(ii)

the results of the project, including quantitative assessments to the extent practicable, associated with each activity described in paragraph (3)(A); and

(C)

create and disseminate useful or innovative tools and resources that will benefit other rural electric cooperatives, which may include cost calculators, guidebooks, handbooks, templates and training courses.

(5)

Cost-share

Activities under this subsection shall be subject to the cost-sharing requirements of section 988 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16352).

(d)

Technical assistance

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall carry out subsection (a)(2) by providing eligible entities with technical assistance relating to—

(A)

identifying opportunities for energy storage and microgrid projects;

(B)

understanding the technical and economic characteristics of energy storage or microgrid projects;

(C)

understanding financing alternatives;

(D)

permitting and siting issues;

(E)

obtaining case studies of similar and successful energy storage or microgrid projects;

(F)

reviewing and obtaining computer software for assessment, design, and operation and maintenance of energy storage or microgrid systems; and

(G)

understanding and utilizing the reliability and resiliency benefits of energy storage and microgrid projects.

(2)

External contracts

In carrying out subsection (a)(2), the Secretary may enter into contracts with third-party experts, including engineering, finance, and insurance experts, to provide technical assistance to eligible entities relating to the activities described in subparagraphs (A) through (G) of paragraph (1), or other relevant activities, as determined by the Secretary.

4.

Authorization of appropriations

(a)

In general

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2025.

(b)

Administrative costs

Not more than 5 percent of the amount appropriated under subsection (a) for each fiscal year shall be used for administrative expenses.