The electric grid is transforming rapidly, with interconnection processes for solar and wind resources becoming more complex as total deployment levels increase. Throughout the United States, queue times to interconnect solar and wind have been rising and could impact federal, state, local, and corporate decarbonization goals.

The Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) is a stakeholder partnership to enable a simpler, faster, and fairer interconnection process for clean energy resources while enhancing the reliability, resiliency, and security of our electric grid. The program is led by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) and Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO), funded under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Three national laboratories—Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)—support SETO and WETO in i2X. Learn more about i2X.

One of the key activities of i2X is to provide technical assistance that will directly support stakeholders in improving interconnection practices and processes for electricity distribution systems and the transmission system, also known as the bulk power system. The technical assistance must be specific to the interconnection of solar, wind, storage, or electric vehicle charging facilities, or a hybrid integration of these technologies. The i2X team has allocated up to $750,000 for this technical assistance opportunity and intends to select up to 12 projects. This technical assistance opportunity funds the national labs directly to perform the work for the selected projects and does not provide any direct funding or financial assistance to selected applicants or any third parties (e.g., applicant’s consultants, partnering organizations).


  • Applicants for technical assistance must be U.S.-based organizations facing direct interconnection-related challenges. Such organizations include but are not limited to electric utilities; grid operators; transmission owners; solar, storage, and wind industries; state, local, tribal, and territorial governments; electricity regulation organizations; engineering research organizations; advocacy nonprofits; and other relevant non-utility electric organizations.
  • To maximize the impact of technical assistance, applications that include representatives from key stakeholder groups, including underserved communities or groups, are highly encouraged.
  • Applications for technical assistance that directly benefit a group of engaged organizations seeking to improve interconnection practices and processes are highly encouraged.   
  • The scope of technical assistance should not exceed six months of dedicated full-time work and engagement.
  • The technical assistance should not be for purposes that can be satisfied in less than one month of dedicated full-time support. In such cases, please use i2X Office Hours and schedule a call.
  • Applications from individual U.S. persons seeking technical, legal, or engineering consultations for individual renewable generation or storage projects are not eligible.

Application and Selection Processes

  • Application: Applications for the current round of technical assistance were due March 22, 2023.
  • Application Review: The i2X team is reviewing applications for completeness and evaluate according to merit criteria, program goals, and policy factors. The i2X team will notify applicants if pre-selection scoping interviews are needed.
  • Scoping: After review, the i2X team will identify projects considered for technical assistance and notify applicants of pre-selection scoping meetings.  The i2X team will meet with applicants and discuss the scope of work to be completed through the technical assistance with the labs.  Meetings may involve multiple conversations, but the application’s scope must be finalized within 20 business days from the beginning of the scoping process.  Failure to finalize a scope that aligns well with the applicant’s proposed work and i2x priorities by the 20-business-day deadline will end the scoping process and not result in a selection.  Successfully scoped technical assistance projects will be notified and announced publicly. The i2X team may choose not to select or fund any technical assistance projects.
  • Selection Announcement: The i2X team intends to announce selected technical assistance projects in May 2023. The i2X team is expected to select up to 12 technical assistance projects, if any, to be substantially completed by December 31, 2023.

Topics of Interest

Topic areas for possible technical assistance projects are listed below. Applicants may request technical assistance on other interconnection-related challenges provided that if selected such projects can be completed by December 31, 2023, and within the available funds.


  • Cost allocation methodologies for grid upgrades that enable fast-track interconnection study
  • Incorporating equity and energy justice into interconnection services or processes  
  • Educational materials for standardization, workforce training, and new grid-edge technologies  
  • New practices for interconnection services and agreements such as flexible interconnection
  • Pilot demonstration of cloud-based, grid-model interconnection services, e.g., AEMO grid service.

Distribution Electricity System  

  • Engineering alternative solutions to direct transfer trip grid upgrades
  • Cybersecurity protocols for secured grid data access to interconnection-related grid data     
  • Improving or implementing hosting capacity maps and impact studies
  • Methods for prescreening and interconnection planning for community-based renewables
  • Integrated grid planning and interconnection queue management
  • Processes and procedures for distribution versus sub-transmission interconnections
  • Data metrics, analytics, and scorecards for DER interconnection performance
  • Benefits and risks of publishing grid data, by specific items or in groups

Transmission Electricity System 

  • Practices for affected systems interconnection studies on transmission grid networks
  • Interconnection queue pre-screening options such as heat maps and informational studies
  • Interconnection-related network upgrade estimation tools 
  • Data metrics, analytics, and scorecards for interconnection services performance  

Examples of activities and products generated by technical assistance:   

  1. Grid modeling and technical analysis
  2. Case studies and technical reports or presentations  
  3. Models or software code   
  4. Subject matter facilitation, gap analysis, and technical road mapping
  5. Training workshops and webinars

Evaluation Criteria

The i2X team will review and evaluate each application according to the merit review criteria, program policy factors, and the overall portfolio of proposed projects. The i2X team will score each application’s merits by agreeing or disagreeing with assigned statements on a scale shown below. These statements are the merit review criteria. The scale will be applied for scoring merit review criteria only.

Not Applicable/Unknown
(0 points)
Strongly Disagree
(0 points)
(1 point)
(3 points)
Strongly Agree
(5 points)

Application and Merit Review Criteria

Scope of Proposed Project

  • The proposed project seeks to address challenges specific to the grid interconnection of solar, wind, storage, electric vehicle charging facilities, or a hybrid integration of these technologies.
  • The applicant and its partners are directly involved in dealing with the interconnection challenge.
  • Technical assistance activities or outputs proposed are specific, realistic, and can be completed before the end of 2023.
  • Success criteria of the technical assistance are well-defined, and the results of the technical assistance are likely to have a positive impact by the end of 2024.

Significance and Scale

  • Success criteria of the technical assistance include direct benefits to underserved or disadvantaged communities or groups.  
  • The applicant has identified other organizations that are willing to engage during the technical assistance to maximize opportunities of learning and implementing solutions.
  • Once completed, the results of the technical assistance will be reasonably adaptable by many organizations.
  • Once completed, the results of the technical assistance will be reasonably adaptable at regional or national levels.

Readiness and Resources

  • The applicant has committed staff time, data, or any other resources needed to support the technical assistance effort with the national laboratory sufficient to complete the scope of work by the end of 2023.   
  • The proposed technical assistance project is specific enough to allow for an early start date, no longer than 30 business days from the announced selection. This includes but is not limited to permission to access datasets or information, or to sign formal approvals or paperwork needed to start the project (e.g., a non-disclosure agreement). 

Program Goals and Policy Factors

The i2X team will apply the following factors when reviewing and evaluating technical assistance applications to select the most impactful projects.

  • The proposed project aligns well with the i2X program goals, priorities, on-going efforts, and planned activities.
  • The proposed project aligns well with DOE’s programmatic interests and priorities.
  • Technical assistance needs match the current national lab technical capabilities and resources. 
  • The proposed project expands the geographic diversity of organizations which received or are receiving support from the U.S. government.   
  • The proposed project supports organization with limited resources and urgent needs.
  • The proposed project expands direct support to underserved or disadvantaged communities or groups.
  • The proposed project incorporates equity, diversity, and inclusion elements.

Plan Your Application

Interested applicants may schedule a 20-minute i2X office hour session to present their ideas to the i2X team. Office hours are held every Friday between 12-4 p.m. ET by appointment only. During such sessions the i2X team will not provide any feedback or comments about the merits of proposed ideas or provide any guidance on how to change ideas to be more meritorious.

The i2X team hosted a public webinar for application teaming on March 2, 2023. Watch the recording.

The i2X team encourages organizations from the same geographic regions or with similar interconnection challenges to submit a joint application for technical assistance. Potential applicants who are interested in finding team members should provide their contact information in the i2X technical assistance teaming sign-up sheetView the list of organizations seeking partners (Excel).

Contact for inquiries about this technical assistance opportunity and the application process.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is this opportunity open to individual U.S. persons to help with interconnection challenges for a renewable energy project on a personal property (e.g., residence, land)?

    No. This technical assistance opportunity is available only for U.S. based organizations and not for individual renewable energy projects.
  2. How much funding will be provided to applicants if selected?

    his technical assistance opportunity does not provide any direct financial assistance or funding. If selected, staff at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), or Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) will collaborate with staff at the applicant’s organization and/or its partners to perform the agreed upon scope of work.

    The i2X team has allocated up to $750,000 for the three national labs to support up to 12 selected projects.
  3. Should I apply if my organization has limited resources and needs direct financial support (e.g., travel, partial staff compensation) from a national lab to engage during the technical assistance project?  

    Unfortunately, the national labs are unable to provide financial support to applicant organizations or their partners or consultants.
  4. Are there any restrictions on how many applications an organization can submit?

    No. There are no restrictions on the number of applications an organization can submit.
  5. How much involvement is expected from the applicants?

    If selected, organizations receiving technical assistance are expected to be actively engaged in their projects and readily available to respond to emails or join conference calls with staff at the national labs or the i2X team, as needed.
  6. How readily available should data be when applying if the technical assistance needs such data?

    It would be ideal to have the data readily available in such a case, although it’s not required.  Whence invited to the scoping calls, it becomes important to have a game plan for accessing the data in a timely manner and start working on the project within 30 days of selection announcement.
  7. How committed should identified partners be when applying? Can potential partners be included in the application even without firm commitments?

    You may include potential partners in your application without firm commitments. For example, if you plan to partner with a utility, or a group of utilities in your technical assistance project, you can submit your application without having firm partnership agreements. However, a contingency plan needs to be in place to either secure their participation in a timely manner, or to get firm commitments from alternate partners. If invited to scoping calls, it becomes important to secure commitments from partners quickly because otherwise the scope of the project including partners roles and responsibilities would not be clearly defined.
  8. Can you clarify the meaning of “assistance should not be for purposes that can be satisfied in less than one month of dedicated full-time support.”

    The i2X team is interested in offering technical assistance support which requires specialized expertise, capabilities, and dedicated resources at our partner national labs. Requests for technical assistance which requires a level of effort not exceed 160 hours of a full-time expert work do not align well with this opportunity. We offer
    i2X Office Hours every Friday to support such request.

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