CARB’s Time-Saving Tool to Find Grant Money

CARB’s Time-Saving Tool to Find Grant Money

Struggling to find a way to apply for government grant money to underwrite your sustainability project?  The California Air Resources Board has a great tool to do an efficient search—the Funding Wizard.  Neil Matouka, Local Government Planning Liaison at CARB, gave a good explanation of what it is and how to use it.

Air quality agencies have become an important source for grants to underwrite projects that can help meet climate goals, especially due to access to the money from the sale of cap-and-trade offsets.
But the programs with the money have proliferated to the point where it is hard to know of all the opportunities. 

More than a decade ago, CARB had the idea of simplifying the process of applying for this money to get more people to apply and thereby increase the effectiveness of the money spent.  That turned out to be such a popular idea that CARB expanded the original scope and now has a database of all similar funding opportunities at the local as well as state level, and with agencies beyond just air quality ones, including the power utilities.  In addition, modules have been added to help people make calculations of the reductions in carbon footprint from a proposed project and to put together a solid project plan.  This tool is being continuously updated and improved.  It offers a quick way for anyone to identify and target opportunities with a good screening tool.

By design, the Wizard searches only for opportunities based in California, but so long as one can make that connection, it opens a lot of doors.  

In the discussion, Matouka responded positively to the suggestion that energy storage incentives be added to the types of assistance covered by the Wizard since storage is enabling more use of carbon free sources of energy.  Judy Nottoli also of the ARB noted that the new three-year plan for the use of the cap and trade money will be published soon, and the cleantech community should be looking for new options for funding there.  In the public discussion of the draft of this document, the case was made that money should be included to support prototype development and pilot testing of promising new technologies.  If money is included for such purposes, that would be an important addition to the spectrum of grant money available.  So be sure to check the new plan when it is released.

The discussion also highlighted the Fund-It-Fast chats of the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization (www.sjvcleanenergy.org), the CalSEED program funded by the CEC, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants of the DOE, and the search tools of OpenGrants (www.opengrants.io) as other good time-saving tools to connect with possible non-dilutive early-stage funding.

While innovators may be eager to look for angel investors or VCs right from the start, finding ways to use grant funds may be more appropriate at early stages.  Thankfully, there are tools like the Funding Wizard that make that search much easier and faster.

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart’s Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | TobinBlueTech Valley, Revrnt, 

Moss AdamsPowerSoft.biz, Greenberg Traurig, Momentum,

College of Engineering & Computer Science at Sacramento State

Community Energy Projects: Creating an Opening for Regional CleanTech

Community Energy Projects: Creating an Opening for Regional CleanTech

We see an opportunity to market new clean energy technologies in the region through a community energy project. This could provide a great platform for regional innovators to demonstrate their products close to home and gain the information critical to expand markets for them.  It could involve technologies in energy, efficiency, sustainability, and more together to improve the quality of life and aid in the energy transition here locally. Community energy projects have become very popular with funding agencies.  They are, however, complicated to create and manage. The question is whether we could do one here.

Such a project would engage a team of professionals, students, community leaders, volunteers, and innovators to target a particular community in the Sacramento area and create a plan for execution to deliver energy upgrades and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.  This would not be a short-term project. In fact, it may take a year or two to happen and even longer to fully complete. But it will create a focus for activity, a tangible set of actual installations and controls, and a tangible improvement in the lives of the residents in the community where it happens.  It will also become a template for replicating the same process in other communities, both in the Sacramento area and beyond.

What will it be? We aren’t sure, but we want to hear what you think and where you see opportunities. We want to be a catalyst to see what we could get started. In 2022 CleanStart will be shaking off these past two years by going into the community to connect the energy transition to local quality of life. We have built the CleanTech Connect (aka CTC) trailer to go into the community and bring people together.

If you want to connect with the energy transition, community energy, and making our region a better place, give us your thoughts on how we can collaborate on this opportunity.

Want to get involved? Reach out!

15 + 14 =

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

Sponsors

SMUD
CMC
RiverCity Bank

Weintraub | Tobin, Revrnt, Moss Adams, PowerSoft.biz, Greenberg Traurig

January 2022 Newsletter

Fearless Predictions 2022

We have done pretty good on our predictions in the past, so this year we changed it up. We have predictions on global changes and local developments. Let us know what you think. 

  1. Oil prices will fall below $60 per barrel.  The current price is $78 per barrel.  After oil hit $145 per barrel in the 1990s, “everyone” was sure it would exceed $200 soon.  Then it fell below $25 per barrel.  Oil is one of several mineral resources which have been swinging up and down in price for decades.  With substitution of renewables for petroleum-based fuels, and with renewed production both domestically and outside the US, we predict that oil prices will be on a downward trend this year.  The current price is enough to stimulate investment in production but there will be a lag between the price signal and the supply response which typically leads to an overshoot.  That’s what has almost always caused the price to drop.  The same will likely be true of natural gas with diminishing demand, but we don’t think it will be as dramatic.  The latest data show the decrease in demand has resulted in oil and gas production in balance with demand, a reversal of the decades-long trend of oil imports.  The US still imports oil and gas but it also exports about an equal amount now.
  2. The installed price of rooftop solar will decline more steeply in 2022 than in 2021.  The CPUC is likely to do something to allow utilities to pay less for the output of such installations, and that will undercut demand.  A drop in prices will follow.
  3. A new microgrid will be developed in our region with at least 500 customers.  We keep expecting this to happen.  There is one on the North Coast for the Blue Lake Rancheria which Is similar to what we expect.  We know the interest is out there, but progress to build more has been slow.  We expect at least one project to advance in the year.
  4.  The Air Resources Board will publish new, lower Carbon Intensity figures for renewable fuels made from captured CO2 (to produce methane and clean diesel, for example) which will drive interest in using them for backup and long-duration storage.  The required target for Carbon Intensity in the total fuel mix declines each year according to ARB rules.  That drives increased demand for lower carbon intensity fuels to meet the target in 2022.  Progress in captured CO2-derived fuels will lead to new options coming onto the list of possible options.  Bio-gas from dairies already has a strongly negative score (about -400 grams of CO2 equivalent per megajoule).  The new calculations will include some pathways that make renewable fuels more negative.
  5.  California will receive a new application for an offshore wind farm.  Already two have been filed for sites within state waters along the Central Coast each with four floating wind turbine platforms with four 10-15 MW turbines each.  With the infrastructure bill and the push for more renewables, we expect at least one more application, possibly on the North Coast.
  6. Nationally, renewables (solar, wind, small hydro, geothermal) will generate more GWh than coal and nuclear.  In 2021 we saw the return of coal-fired power generation with the first increase in decades, but the slide will resume. Renewables will surpass coal and become the second largest source of energy behind natural gas.
  7. EV adoption will double in the US with twice as many delivered in 2022 than in 2021. The supply shortages slowed Volkswagen ID.4 and Ford’s Mustang sales in 2021. The Chevy Bolt EV and EUV faced recalls, but should return to strong sales in 2022. Most companies are releasing new EV models. New companies with significant preorders will start delivering.  We expect EVs to make up 10% of new purchases (more than double 2021).
  8. There will be another SPAC deal with a regional company, as the boom slows.  SPACs will not get regulated and there will still be a fair amount of speculation associated with them.  But, as the shine wears off and scrutiny increases, the pace may lag.  Nevertheless, we expect to see some enormous investments in companies that are looking to scale.  The biggest investments last year were around the energy transition, such as ZEV companies looking to scale received major investment.  But they weren’t all happy stories. Lordstown motors is running low on cash. Engie subsidiary EVBox just terminated their potential merger. SPACs have 18-24 months to pick an acquisition target or return the money. In 2022 there are nearly 300 SPACs representing nearly $100 billion in value that will cross the 18 month threshold. We expect to see another.
  9. CleanEdge’s Smart Grid Index QGRD will cross $120. It is now at $100. Last year muted Clean Energy Stocks. Following ETFs Like QCLN and ICLN has been typically what we do, and in those cases 2021 saw expectations brought in line with reality. They did not jump; as much as we thought. But some still grew YOY. This year, with all the focus on infrastructure growth, we think the indexes will rebound, and the grid and energy infrastructure stocks most of all.
  10. Elon Musk will step down from the Tesla CEO position.  Musk chases innovation and Tesla is becoming more “normal”. Unless people tell him to go earlier, he will install a replacement by the end of the year. He still will argue with people about Tesla on Twitter but his SEC liability for doing so will be reduced.

Check out our past predictions below.

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart’s Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | TobinBlueTech Valley, Revrnt, 

Moss AdamsPowerSoft.biz, Greenberg Traurig, Momentum,

College of Engineering & Computer Science at Sacramento State

Another Innovation to Boost Battery Life and Capacity

Another Innovation to Boost Battery Life and Capacity

Scientists at Stanford are on the trail of giving degraded lithium-ion batteries a wake-up call to restore them to near-original performance.  Inactive clumps of lithium build up over a battery’s lifetime until they must be replaced to keep EV range intact.  This innovation is a change in the charging process that moves these clumps back to the anode, restoring their activity.  It may also help with the new lithium-metal batteries that start with far greater energy densities but then develop instabilities.  It can contribute to better fast-charging algorithms as well. Particularly useful is a high-voltage bump at the end of the charging cycle to dislodge the clumps.  This could mean far fewer degraded battery packs that need to be replaced and recycled.  Read more on this development here. By the way, Stanford and SLAC have become a hot spot for battery charging innovation, so expect more announcements coming from there.

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart’s Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | TobinBlueTech Valley, Revrnt, 

Moss AdamsPowerSoft.biz, Greenberg Traurig, Momentum,

College of Engineering & Computer Science at Sacramento State