Ohio issues waste-to-energy RFP

By Lisa Gibson | May 31, 2010
Posted July 13, 2010, at 9:27 a.m. CST

The Ohio Department of Development's Energy Resources Division has allocated $10 million in federal funding to its Transforming Waste to Value program and is accepting applications for project funding through Aug. 23.

The grant funding is part of $96 million allocated to Ohio through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act State Energy Program. Among other criteria, eligible applicants for Transforming Waste to Value funding will create jobs through projects that convert biomass feedstocks such as food and farm wastes or municipal solid waste into electricity, heat, fuel or other bioproducts. The request for proposals (RFP) is a direct result of the ARRA funding, according to Nadine Howard, director of the Ohio Energy Resources Division.

"Ohio has a strong economic base in agriculture and food production," she said. The program will further work already being done in those areas, but will also expand waste-to-energy opportunities to other industries. "I don't want to say we'll be giving special attention to any technology," she said, adding that the important thing is how quickly the project can be completed and create jobs.

No applications have been received since the request for proposals was released June 25 and Howard doesn't expect any soon. "I wouldn't anticipate we receive any until we get closer to the due date," she said, adding that the department will announce the winners in the fall.

The maximum award amount is $1 million and the minimum is $500,000, so it is possible that not all the funding will be used. Howard said the department planned on the program only running this year, but it could reappear if the projects are successful. "We don't have plans to continue it now," she said.

The U.S. DOE requires that projects applying for its funding be commercially available, so most demonstration plants most likely would not be chosen, but Howard said that's not a general rule. To be considered, all applicants must complete a two-step process: submit a one-page project summary to http://recovery.ohio.gov/opportunities/state/ by 3 p.m. Aug. 16; and submit a proposal to the Ohio Energy Resources Division no later than 3 p.m. Aug. 23.

Applicants will be scored against four criteria on a 150-point scale: project readiness; project financials; economic and employment impacts for Ohio; and energy impacts and innovativeness, according to the request for proposals. Applicants can also score points in a fifth and bonus criterion if they are certified as a Minority Business Enterprise, Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity, or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.

For more information, visit the Ohio Energy Resources Division website at http://www.development.ohio.gov/Energy/.