The AEA will not actually approve projects; it will issue recommendations to the state legislature, which will make funding decisions. The AEA evaluates projects on the public benefit of the project using an economic model for consistent parameters and assumptions between projects. There is usually one round of funding per fiscal year, and the first solicitation took place in September 2008. The most recent solicitation, Round VIII, closed on September 22, 2014. Solicitations accepted during one fiscal year are funded in the following fiscal year.
The original enabling legislation stated an intention to provide $50 million in funding annually to the program for five years. HB 250 (2012) extended that intention to provide $50 million in funding annually for each of the 10 fiscal years until the program expires on June 30, 2023, but this amount is subject to legislative appropriation. Through FY 2014, the legislature has authorized $250.3 million in grants. The allocation plan recommends that 20% of the funding go to reconnaissance, feasibility and resource studies, and the remaining 80% be awarded to final design, permitting and construction projects. In 2013, AEA also established a target allocation for heat projects to compose 30 percent of the total funding recommendation. AEA has put forth the following funding limits per grant:
- Reconnaissance, and Feasibility and Design studies: 20% of anticipated construction costs, not to exceed $2 million
- Final Design, Permitting, Construction and Commissioning: $4 million per project in "Low Energy Cost Areas" and $8 million in High Energy Cost Areas
Applications with matching funds will be looked upon favorably.
See the program web site for additional details, including information on funding and eligibility questions.