What are some of the important features of the TFP?
TFP is a new permanent program within the Grid Deployment Office1. TFP is designed to allow DOE to invest in transmission projects to help accelerate their deployment and/or increase their capacity while also allowing DOE to eventually recoup its costs. DOE will use project proceeds to replenish its borrowing authority from the Department of Treasury and to maintain moneys in the Transmission Facility Fund. In this manner, the TFP will be available to support multiple projects over time. DOE has three different mechanisms available under TFP: capacity contracts, public-private partnerships, and loans. DOE has the flexibility to select which tool to use based on near- and longer-term opportunities and market conditions. TFP is not a grant or financial assistance program, unlike other programs under the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
Why is DOE proceeding with an RFP for capacity contracts first?
The anchor tenant authority is unique to the TFP. DOE is seeking to move quickly to help spur transmission deployment and operations through this RFP for capacity contracts. Loans and public-private partnerships require longer lead times and increased resources, extending the time horizon for deployment. Capacity contracts can enable the program to have an impact sooner, while allowing time to build out other program offerings.
What resources are available from DOE to assist transmission projects in addition to the TFP?
The Grid and Transmission Program Conductor provides more information on programs administered by DOE, as well as questions concerning the ability to pair different funding opportunities offered across DOE.
How does TFP help the clean energy transition?
The clean energy transition requires an increase in transmission, which this program facilitates. President Biden has set ambitious climate goals of reducing U.S. emissions at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050. To reach these goals, we need to make our country’s power sector 100% clean by 2035. To get there, the U.S. needs to deploy clean energy technologies and build transmission capacity to match. A recent DOE report found that we will need to expand transmission systems by 60% by 2030 and may need to triple those systems by 2050 in order to meet our growing clean electricity demands.
How will DOE prioritize TFP projects and will decarbonization be a major goal?
In identifying projects to support under the TFP, Congress required DOE to prioritize projects that meet certain objectives, including contributing to national or subnational goals to lower electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, Eligible Projects must demonstrate sufficient viability to enable DOE to recover its costs in a timely manner; cost recovery will permit DOE to replenish TFP’s revolving fund and offer support to additional Eligible Projects. Within the broader mandate to accelerate the delivery of transmission service projects, the statute also directs that the TFP prioritize projects that promote the public interest by delivering beneficial grid outcomes to the maximum extent practical, specifically projects that use technologies that enhance the capacity, efficiency, resiliency, or reliability of the bulk electric system; improve the resilience and reliability of the system; facilitate interregional transfer capacity that promotes economic growth; and contribute to national or subnational goals to lower electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions.
What entities can apply for these contracts?
Entities that propose to construct an Eligible Project may apply for capacity contracts. For purposes of this RFP, an Eligible Project means an electric power transmission line that is capable of transmitting not less than (1) 1,000 megawatts (MW); or (2) in the case of a project that consists of upgrading an existing transmission line or constructing a new transmission line in an existing transmission, transportation, or telecommunications infrastructure corridor, not less than 500 MW. Microgrid projects are not being considered as Eligible Projects for awards under this RFP because capacity contracts do not align with the ownership, technical, and commercial characteristics of microgrids.
Can eligible entities simultaneously receive funds from the Transmission Facilitation Program (TFP) and the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) program?
Yes, eligible entities can participate in both TFP and GRIP simultaneously.
Will there be future RFPs in support of TFP?
Yes, DOE plans to issue additional RFPs moving forward. Future RFPs may include loan and public-private partnership opportunities as well as capacity contracts, including opportunities for microgrids.
Can a TFP capacity contract be used for reconductoring projects with advanced conductors?
TFP capacity contracts can be used if (1) the reconductoring of a transmission line with advanced conductors increases the commercial capacity of the project by at least 500 MWs; and (2) the increase of capacity is made available to the market for transmission service. For more information, the Grid and Transmission Programs Conductor is a clearinghouse for financing programs made available through the BIL and Inflation Reduction Act, as well as other existing DOE transmission and grid programs. Please visit the website to learn more about other programs, including the potential for reconductoring, which offer additional funding opportunities.
What environmental and energy justice goals is the TFP RFP designed to achieve?
In keeping with the Administration’s goals, and as a federal agency whose mission includes strengthening our Nation’s energy prosperity, DOE seeks Eligible Projects that not only contribute to the country’s energy technology and climate goals, but also promote the following goals: (1) create good paying, high quality, local jobs; (2) advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality; (3) support meaningful community and labor engagement; and (4) contribute to the goal that 40% of the overall benefits flow to disadvantaged communities (the Justice40 Initiative).
What will you be looking for in community outreach plans required in applications responding to this RFP?
Community outreach plans should demonstrate a strong commitment to engagement with a wide range of local stakeholders such as labor unions, local governments, state energy offices, Tribal governments, and community-based organizations that support or work with disadvantaged communities (DACs). Proactive engagement with these stakeholders can lead to stronger projects, increased transparency, and the reduction or elimination of certain associated risks.
How will TFP interact with existing planning processes?
Prior to entering into a capacity contract, DOE is required to consult with the relevant transmission planning region regarding the transmission planning region's identification of needs. In selecting projects for capacity contracts, DOE intends to minimize, to the extent possible, duplication or conflict with the transmission planning region's needs determination and selection of projects that meet such needs.
Is NEPA required for entry into a capacity contract?
NEPA is not triggered by DOE’s entry into a capacity contract with the project developer. However, the use of a capacity contract does not avoid any other applicable NEPA or other federal, state, or local permitting requirements.
What about combining TFP with other federal programs and funding?
TFP funding can be used with other sources of funding. However, projects will need to conform with the other federal programs if their rules allow using other funding sources. The Grid and Transmission Programs Conductor can provide more information on programs administered by DOE, as well as questions concerning the ability to pair different funding opportunities offered by DOE.
Can TFP capacity contracts be used for offshore wind projects?
Yes. An offshore wind project may be an Eligible Project and can submit an application for a capacity contract if it meets the requirements established in the RFP.
How do capacity contracts entered into by DOE under the TFP help speed the development of needed transmission projects?
Capacity contracts are a tool provided by Congress through the TFP program to help provide near-term revenue certainty to projects. This allows Eligible Projects that need such revenue certainty to move forward in the near term to construct the project and/or to add capacity that is anticipated to be needed in the future. For example, projects that do not have a guaranteed source of cost recovery through a regulated rate or tariff may need such revenue certainty in the near term to proceed to construction. TFP capacity contracts are designed to provide financial commitment for energization of this new transmission faster and potentially at greater capacity than the market might otherwise support while ensuring that DOE can recover its expenditures.
Is a TFP capacity contract designed to facilitate permitting?
No, a TFP capacity contract is not designed as a tool to assist with local, state, or federal permitting requirements.
Why do projects need to be ready to commence construction by December 2027?
It is a program priority to deploy funds quickly, by facilitating projects that are close to ready for construction. The 2027 construction commencement date balances the goal of timely deployment with a reasonable amount of time for the project developer to complete design, permitting, financing and other activities required to begin construction.
Can TFP be used to fund the construction of generation resources?
No, TFP facilitation is limited to eligible electric power transmission line as defined in 42 U.S.C. 18713(a)(2).
Can TFP be used to fund battery projects?
No, TFP is limited to eligible electric power transmission lines as defined in 42 U.S.C. 18713(a)(2).
Can TFP be used to fund cybersecurity projects?
No, TFP is limited to eligible electric power transmission lines as defined in 42 U.S.C. 18713(a)(2).
Why is the application process split into multiple parts with the first due date in February of 2023?
The application Part 1 due date is 75 days from the RFP issuance and requires applicants to submit information to allow DOE to screen projects for eligibility. The review process was split into multiple parts to help manage the administrative cost to applicants.
1 1 42 U.S.C. 18713(j)(8).
Questions From the Public
The following summarizes all questions received on the TFP RFP via email, and the DOE response.
What work has the DOE done with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding what an independent transmission company needs to do to comply with FERC regulations if it wins and enters into a capacity contract with the DOE?
As explained in the RFP at page 23: “The capacity contract will be consistent with the Applicant’s Open Access Transmission Tariff or equivalent and must be in compliance with any applicable requirements of the Federal Power Act and any regulations thereunder. The capacity contract will specify the contract capacity, scheduling rights, rate, and term of capacity commitment. Any rate charged under the capacity contract must represent the fair market value for the use of the transmission capacity, as determined by the Department.” The TFP does not alter FERC’s regulatory framework, and Applicants are responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable FERC regulatory requirements. Applicants should identify any specific concerns in their response to the RFP.
How does entering into a DOE capacity contract affect an independent transmission company’s negotiated rate authority?
As stated in the prior response, the TFP does not alter FERC’s regulatory framework for setting transmission rates. We note that the statute creating the TFP requires that the Department determine as a condition to entry into a capacity contract that the rates under the contract represent the fair market value for the use of the transmission capacity. Nevertheless, as stated in the prior response, Applicants are responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable FERC regulatory requirements. Applicants should identify any specific concerns in their response to the RFP.
If an independent transmission company does not yet have FERC approval for negotiated rate authority, does entering into a DOE capacity contract create any difficulties or challenges with the FERC?
As stated in prior responses, the TFP program does not alter FERC’s regulatory framework for setting transmission rates. While the Department is prepared to work with a successful project to address requirements under the Federal Power Act and FERC’s regulations applicable to a transmission capacity contract as needed, Applicants remain responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable FERC regulatory requirements. Applicants should identify any specific concerns in their response to the RFP.
I have a question about the Part 1 application. Specifically, will the fact that a given company has made a Part 1 application be made public by DOE, leaving aside the release of information required due to an information request?
The Department does not intend to publicly announce the identities of entities that submit a Part 1 application. Applicants are referred to Section VII of the RFP for the requirements applicable to restrictions on disclosure and use of information.
Can you please advise at what point in the RFP process will US DOE announce the names of the bidders? Will US DOE announce names of all bidders or only the bidders that are ultimately selected and sign capacity contracts?
The Department does not intend to publicly announce the identities of entities that submit applications and will only announce names of applicants who are selected to participate in the due diligence phase after Part 2 of the selection process. Applicants are referred to Section VII of the RFP for the requirements applicable to restrictions on disclosure and use of information.
In the RFP there is a section that refers to the number of MW to meet the RFP requirement. In particular there, is a 500MW requirement if: “Eligible electric power transmission line” means an electric power transmission line that is capable of transmitting not less than (a) 1,000 megawatts (MW); or (b) in the case of a project that consists of upgrading an existing transmission line or constructing a new transmission line in an existing transmission, transportation, or telecommunications infrastructure corridor, 500 MW.” The majority of our 80-mile project (approx. 59 miles) is in an approved Utility Corridor along an interstate highway. By having most of the project in the corridor, is it fair to assume we can submit for the 500MW vs. the 1000MW requirement?
The Department is not able to make an eligibility determination before receiving an application and reviewing it in accordance with the Request for Proposals. We recommend that you submit the application for the project you describe and provide all of the information required by the Request for Proposals. In particular, as stated in Section IV.b.1.b of the Request for Proposals the application should include a specific, detailed explanation of (i) the location of the Existing Corridor; (ii) type of Existing Corridor; (iii) the entity or entities that hold the property rights to the Existing Corridor, and (iv) the location of the Proposed Project within the Existing Corridor.
When we apply for the Sams.gov account do we apply for Financial Assistance Only or all Awards? We are not an organization that is selling goods or manufactures items to sell to the DOE. We believe this RFP is for Financial Assistance, Grant, loans. Currently we have a Financial Assistance Awards Application in the queue. Can you please confirm?
When you register in SAM.GOV you may select Financial Assistance only.
For the DOE Capacity Contract RFP is there any condemnation authority that come with selection for this RFP. For example, we have an 80-mile transmission line and as a developer we are not granted the same right of condemnation afforded to utilities. This means one landowner with a small segment (.5 miles) can block an 80-mile project. If selected does the DOE help with their condemnation authority?
No. The current Request for Proposals is specifically soliciting applications for capacity contracts to purchase the commercial right to use transmission capacity of the Eligible Project.
I have a question related to the logistics of submitting an application for the Transmission Facilitation Program Request For Proposals – Capacity Contracts. I want to clarify the directions for application submittal noted on page 2 of the RFP: “To apply to this RFP, applicants must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) and email the application to email@example.com.” Does this mean that the individual person submitting the application has to be registered in SAM.gov themselves? Or, is it that that the entity needs to be registered in SAM.gov?
The entity serving as the Applicant for the project needs to be registered in SAM.gov, not the individual.
Is the DOE looking for bidders to submit their actual financial model in Excel with their submission or just provide print outs of the requested pages? The RFP says the format can be in Excel but did not explicitly note whether bidders were required or encouraged to submit the financial model as a separate, attached file.
As stated in Appendix A, page 30, of the Transmission Facilitation Program Request for Proposals – Capacity Contracts, RFP Number: GDO-TFPFY23CAP, applicants should submit their financial model as a separate attached electronic file in which the Excel format is preferred. For Part I of the Application and Bid Submission, the Grid Deployment Office is requesting the following to be included in the financial model:
- Modeling demonstrating that there is a reasonable expectation that (a) demand for transmission capacity will be sufficient to support the financial viability of the Proposed Project and (b) DOE will be able to market, transfer, or relinquish its capacity from the Proposed Project on terms sufficient for DOE to recover the costs it incurred over the life of the capacity contract.
- Pro forma financial statements covering the period from project development through final maturity of the Proposed Project. The model shall include balance sheet, profit and loss, source and application of funds statements, and debt service ratios.