Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced its intent to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled “Connected Communities."

The Connected Communities FOA would demonstrate and evaluate the capacity of energy-efficient buildings to interact with one another and the grid to provide greater degrees of demand flexibility at scale. It will also enable grid-interactive efficient building communities around the country to share research results and lessons learned on projects that increase grid reliability, resilience, security and energy integration well into the future.

The FOA would support EERE's Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings research initiative, which explores how smart building technologies and practices will enable American businesses and families to save energy and reduce their utility bills while protecting their comfort, productivity, and quality of life. EERE is working toward a future in which buildings can serve as reliable grid assets that operate dynamically with the grid to enhance efficiency, flexibility, and resilience.

As this notice of intent indicates, EERE may request proposals to establish a cohort of regional pilot projects to study a variety of building types, grid attributes, and regulatory structures within new and existing communities in various climates and geographies. The objective would be to demonstrate improved energy efficiency and demand flexibility in these buildings to affordably shift and modulate their load without disrupting occupants.

EERE's Building Technologies Office would manage the FOA. EERE anticipates awarding 4-6 projects for up to $7 million each in the form of cooperative agreements, or up to $42 million. At present, EERE would intend to issue the FOA in the summer of 2020 via the EERE Exchange. The full Notice of Intent can be viewed EERE Exchange.