Demand Response and Building Automation Grant Program

MEA will provide grants to support projects that leverage state­ of­ the­ art power controls, communication, and building automation technologies that participate in Demand Response markets or programs. Successful projects should feature a systems approach to building energy management systems that can quickly receive, interpret, and react to signals from PJM markets and/or the utility in the region.​​


Goals and Incentives

 

MEA is interested in supporting the deployment projects that leverage state­of­the­art power controls, communication and building automation technologies to participate in demand response markets or programs. These systems should test innovative business­models that can offer benefits to building owners and/or the electric distribution system. MEA's Demand Response and Building Automation Grant Program objectives are to support innovative companies that deploy demand side resources that can lower the cost of providing energy, while demonstrating the economics of building intelligence and automation. All of these activities contribute to the larger objective of developing a more resilient and cost­effective energy system, focusing peak demand times – when energy is most expensive.

In the past, up to $2.5 million in funding were available for awards expected to be in the range of $100,000 to $500,000 per project. MEA applicants' cost­share were to be at least 50 percent, with MEA covering up to 50 percent of project costs. ​

Project Requirements

 

MEA will make these awards for innovative projects that offer the best opportunity for wide scale, cost effective replication of dynamic energy projects. The successful projects should contribute to the economic, resilient and sustainable development of the electric grid – offering narrative and insight for the energy projects of the future. Preference will be given to projects that advance Maryland’s policy goal to deploy technologies that qualify for the Renewable Portfolio Standard and reduce per capita electricity consumption in the State.

Demand Response and Building Automation Program will focus on the development of projects that will act as a replicable model. This means successful projects will appropriately balance the goals of resiliency, cost effectiveness, environmental sustainability, and maximum benefit to the State.

The following costs are eligible for Demand Response and Building Automation Grants:

  • Direct Digital Controls;
  • Building energy management systems;
  • Networking equipment and software;
  • Required wiring, including installation costs;
  • Communications and control infrastructure;
  • Automated machinery or appliances;
  • Occupancy sensors, photosensors, current sensors, etc.
  • Hardware or software related to the collection and interpretation of energy data, especially in real­time or near­real time;
  • User­friendly interfaces that inform and engage facility occupants in the project;
  • Information technology and communication network security hardware, software orservices;
  • Energy storage technologies (up to 1/3 of total MEA grant funding);
  • Any other costs deemed integral to the project’s development as determined by the evaluators.

The following costs are ineligible for Demand Response and Building Automation Grants:

  • Generation equipment, including but not limited to:
    • Solar PV panels;
    • Wind turbines;
    • Biomass CHP generators;
    • Natural gas CHP generators;
    • Fuel cells;
    • Geothermal heating and cooling systems;
  • Ductwork or other HVAC equipment;
  • Costs incurred for proposal drafting orsubmission;
  • Land acquisition.

Necessary project costs deemed “ineligible” for grant funding will need to be furnished by the project developer and will be considered as in­kind contributions to the applicant’s cost share.

MEA expects to offer funding to projects with a variety ofsizes, applications, technologies and costs. MEA will assess applications for Demand Response and Building Automation Program using the following evaluation criteria:

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Evaluation Criteria

 

Threshold Requirements

  • The project must leverage cutting edge demand response technology, especially advanced communication protocols, intelligent building automation systems, direct digital controls, distributed energy resources, etc.
  • The applicant must have a proven track­record of developing successful and cost­effective energy projects that demonstrate experience in DSR, distributed generation or PJM energy markets.

Evaluative Criteria

  • Probability that the project will be successfully commissioned and reliably operated;
  • Ability of the project to significantly participate in demand response markets;
  • Project’s capability to receive, interpret, and shed load in response to both economic and emergency signals from PJM or local Electric Distribution Companies (EDCs);
  • Project’s potential to inform and develop future economic DSR projects;
  • Successful maximization of end­user engagement and education;
  • Applicant cost­share;
  • Commitment of project developer to work with state entities to identify opportunities and barriers that will result in future projects;
  • Strength and experience of applicant team;
  • Visibility or potential impact of a successful project that could lead other interested parties to invest in similar projects;
  • Strength of annual performance measurement data and life cycle analysis that will be made available to MEA;
  • Applicable market segment;

More details on project requirements, including eligibility criteria, a timeline, and evaluation criteria are available in the funding opportunity announcement. 

How to apply

 

To apply, applicants will need to confirm that their project meets program requirements outlined in the Funding Opportunity Announcement. Then, applicants will submit an application form along with a written proposal. ​

Please see the funding opportunity announcement for details on the program, including how to apply. Applications must include the following completed documents.

  • A completed application form 
  • A written proposal of no more than 15 pages, following the format outlined in the funding opportunity announcement.


Additional Information

 

Questions about the grant program and their responses will be posted and updated regularly throughout the application period.

For general grant questions, email Kristen Ahearn, MEA Energy Policy Manager, at kristen.ahearn@maryland.gov

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The Demand Response and Building Automation Grant Program is no longer accepting Applications as of February 19, 2015.​​​