As of May 24, 2021

Below are the details of the current U.S. Government Funding Programs and Resources available to support companies and projects in renewable energy, the bioeconomy and energy efficiency.

Our assistance in obtaining grants, loans, loan guarantees, and other resources is led by Bill Hagy, a retired United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development expert.  Bill spent over three decades at the US Department of Agriculture progressing from a field agent to serving as Acting Under Secretary for Rural Development.  He spent his last three years at the agency as the Special Assistant for Renewable Energy to Former United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack where he advised on policy matters relating to alternative/renewable energy development.  He has deep knowledge of federal loan and funding programs and leads our services to clients seeking to access these programs that provide financial assistance for research, development, demonstration, and commercial scale renewable energy/ energy efficiency projects.

At Lee Enterprises Consulting, we have professionals dedicated to assisting our clients with grants, loans, loan guarantees, and other forms of assistance. We have over 150 subject-matter experts to assist with both the technical and business expertise needed for various programs.  We have a very low cost funding search which will help you identify all the federal and state grants, loans and loan guarantees available, and allow you a consultation with our expert about which might be the best option for your project. Contact us for more information.

Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program

DESCRIPTION: Business & Industry Loan Guarantee Program offers loan guarantees up to $25 million to support rural businesses.  The purpose of the program is to improve, develop, or finance business, industry, and employment and improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities; the conservation, development, and use of water for aquaculture purposes; and reducing reliance on non-renewable energy resources through development and construction renewable energy systems.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: For-Profit Businesses; Nonprofits; Cooperatives; Federally-Recognized Tribe; Public Bodies.

AVAILABLE FUNDING AND APPLICATION WINDOW:  Applications are received year-round. The amount of FY 2021 funding has not been announced at this time.

DOE Biofuels Research to Reduce Transportation Emissions

OPPORTUNITY: DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Announces $61.4 Million for Biofuels Research to Reduce Transportation Emissions.

DESCRIPTION: This DOE funding is for technologies that produce low-cost, low-carbon biofuels. Biofuels are derived from renewable resources, and can power heavy-duty vehicles that are difficult to electrify with current technologies—including airplanes and ships—to help accelerate America’s path to a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.

Topic areas for the “Bioenergy Technologies Office Scale-Up and Conversion” funding opportunity include high-impact biotechnology research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) to bolster the body of scientific and engineering knowledge needed to produce low-carbon biofuels at lower cost. This investment will accelerate the deployment of bioenergy technologies and mobilize public clean energy investment in the biofuels, chemical, and agricultural industries, which can lead to new good-paying jobs across the bioenergy supply chain and increased investment in rural economies.


· Individuals

· Domestic Entities

· Foreign Entities

· Incorporated Consortia

Collaborative partnerships are encouraged among:

· Industry

· Universities

· National laboratories

· Federal, state, and local governments

· Non-government agencies.


The application process will include two phases: a concept paper and a full application.

$64.1 million is available through cooperative agreements and other similar agreements, EERE provides financial and other support to projects that have the potential to realize the FOA objectives.

Maximum Funding Award Amount: Individual awards may vary between $500,000 and $5,000,000 for FY21 selected projects across all Topic Areas.

Cost Sharing Requirements: Cost sharing of 20 percent of total allowable costs for research and development projects and 50% cost sharing of total allowable costs for demonstration

Opening Date: April 8, 2021.

Concept papers are due on April 30, 2021.

Full applications are due on June 21, 2021.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Methods Development in Natural Products Research (SBIR/STTR)

DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this NOSI is to support small businesses for stimulation of technological innovation in natural products research. For the purposes of this NOSI, natural products include prebiotic, probiotic, herbal, botanical, microbial, and animal sources as well as extracts or constituents derived from them. Natural products offer a diverse reservoir of biologically active components.


AVAILABLE FUNDING AND APPLICATION WINDOW: Maximum Phase I award is $256,580.  First Available due date : September 05, 2020; Expiration  due date: September 06,2023

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

DESCRIPTION: Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides grants and loan guarantees for the purpose of purchasing and installing Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements.  In addition, loan guarantee funds are available for Energy Efficient Equipment and Systems to agricultural producers to purchase and install energy efficient equipment and systems for agricultural production and processing.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: The borrower must be an Agricultural Producer or Rural Small Business.

AVAILABLE FUNDING AND APPLICATION WINDOW:  The Fiscal Year 2021 Notice of Solicitation of Applications is being issued prior to passage of a final appropriations act to allow potential applicants time to submit applications. The maximum grant for any one entity is $500,000 for renewable energy systems and $250,000 for energy efficiency improvement projects.  The maximum loan guarantee is $25 million.

Grant only applications must be filed by March 31, 2021

Combination grant and loan guarantee applications must be filed by March 31, 2021.

Loan Guarantee applications can be filed any time during the year.

Title 17 Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program

DESCRIPTION: Program helps finance catalytic, replicable, and market-ready renewable energy and efficient energy technologies.

ELIGIBLE PROJECTS: A project must meet the following four eligibility requirement to qualify: Innovative Technology; Greenhouse Gas Benefits; Located in the United States; and have Reasonable Prospect of Repayment.

AVAILABLE FUNDING AND APPLICATION WINDOW: Up to $3.0 billion in loan guarantee authority is available.  Applications are received year-round.

U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) High Performance Computing for Energy Innovation (HPC4EI) Initiative

OPPORTUNITY: HPC4EI conducts two regular solicitations annually, one in the fall and one in the spring. The spring solicitation will target qualified industry partners to participate in short-term, collaborative projects with DOE National Laboratories that address key manufacturing challenges and the development of new materials by applying modeling, simulation, and data analysis to solutions impacting the energy agenda.

DESCRIPTION: HPC4Mfg is funded with support from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. HPC4EI programs are designed to spur the use of national lab supercomputing resources and expertise for high performance computing projects that improve manufacturing processes, address products’ lifecycle energy consumption, and increase the efficiency of energy conversion and storage technologies.

Topic areas of interest:

  • Improvements in manufacturing processes which result in significant national energy savings. Examples include:

–  Process improvements in high-energy consuming industries such as paper and pulp, primary

metal manufacturing, water and wastewater, glass and chemical industries;

–   Improvements in material performance in harsh service environments such as very high

temperature or highly corrosive processes;

– Integration of advanced object recognition and other machine learning algorithms (e.g. sortation,

defect detection) into high throughput industrial processes;

– Improvements in modeling prediction and closed-loop control for smart manufacturing systems

(e.g. advanced sensors and process controls);

– Improvements in separation and processing for critical materials (e.g. rare earth elements); and

Electrification of processes.

  • Improvements in the lifecycle energy consumption of products of interest to AMO. Examples include
  • Improved materials and shape optimization for light-weighting in transport technologies;
  • Semiconductor electrical efficiency; and
  • Increased recycling of waste associated with industrial-scale materials production and processing or enable reuse at end-of-life.
  • Efficiency improvements in energy conversion and storage technologies. Examples include
  • Improvements in combined heat and power units which save significant energy and/or increase operational and fuel flexibility;
  • Novel energy storage and energy conversion techniques; and Improvements in waste heat recovery.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS:  Eligibility for the program is limited to entities that manufacture products or operate systems in the U.S. for commercial applications and organizations that support them.



The DOE monetary contribution for each project will not exceed $300,000. For demonstration projects, an industry partner must provide a participant contribution of at least 20% of the total project funding to support industry expertise to the project. The participant contribution can take the form of monetary funds in or “in-kind” contributions and must come from non-federal sources unless otherwise allowed by law. For follow-on projects defined as a project that is using the results of a previously funded project within the HPC4EI portfolio, the industry contribution is 33.3% of the total project funding of which at least half of this amount is a cash contribution. Total project size cannot exceed $500,000. DOE funding will be provided to the National Laboratory (or laboratories) in support of their work under the HPC4EI Program. Selected projects will be awarded up to $300,000 in DOE funds with a match of $75,000 from individual awardees.

Call for Proposal:              May 4, 2021

Concept Paper Due:        June 8, 2021

Request for Full Proposal:  August 2021

Full Proposal Due:            September 2021

Finalists Notified:             November 2021

Expected Project Start:  December 2021

USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS)

OPPORTUNITY: USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS)

DESCRIPTION: Request for Applications (RFA) must focus on approaches that promote transformational changes in the U.S. food and agriculture system. NIFA seeks creative and visionary applications that take a systems approach for projects focused on the themes in the USDA Science Blueprint: (1) sustainable agricultural intensification; (2) agricultural climate adaptation; (3) value-added innovation; and/or (4) food and nutrition translation. These projects are expected to significantly improve the supply of affordable, safe, nutritious, and accessible agricultural products, while fostering economic development and rural prosperity in America.

This RFA has two program area priorities, each with different eligibility requirements. A9201 invites only integrated project (must include research, education, and extension) applications with limited eligibility. A9211 invites only research project applications with wide eligibility.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: 1862 Land-Grant Institutions, 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, 1994 Land-Grant Institutions, For-profit Organizations Other Than Small Businesses, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Individuals, Native American Tribal Orgs, not Federally recognized Tribal Governments, Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than Institutions of Higher Ed, Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than Institutions of Higher Ed, Private Institutions of Higher Ed, Small Business, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, State Controlled Institutions of Higher Ed


Program Area Priority A9201: Thursday, April 1, 2021

Letter of Intent Deadline – January 7, 2021; Application Deadline – April 1, 2021

Program Area Priority A9211: Thursday, July 1, 2021

Letter of Intent Deadline – March 4, 2021; Application Deadline – July 1, 2021

Estimated Total Program Funding: $150,000,000

USDA Announces OneRD Loan Guarantee Regulation

USDA is now accepting applications for four key loan guarantee programs under the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative!

As a part of a series of regulatory reforms effective October 1, 2020, USDA has eliminated duplicative processes and has launched a common loan guarantee application for the Business & Industry Loan Guarantee Program, Rural Energy for America Loan Guarantee Program (REAP), Water & Waste Disposal Loan Guarantee Program, and the Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program.

As part of the new OneRD regulation, USDA has standardized requirements for credit reviews, loan processing, loan servicing and loss claims. These measures will make the application process simpler and faster.

These regulatory changes will allow USDA to:

  • Reduce the time it takes for the Department to issue the loan note guarantee;
  • Allow lenders to obtain approval for a loan note guarantee prior to the beginning of construction;
  • Increase the guarantee percentage to 80 percent for all programs

USDA Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program (Section 9003)

DESCRIPTION: USDA Section 9003 program provides loan guarantees up to $250 million to assist in the development, construction and retrofitting of new and emerging technologies. These technologies are: advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals and biobased products.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: Federal or state-chartered banks; Federally-recognized tribes; Cooperatives; Farm Credit Bank or other Farm Credit System institution with direct lending authority; Credit Unions subject to credit examination and supervision by a state agency or the National Credit Union Administration; The National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation.

AVAILABLE FUNDING AND APPLICATION WINDOW:  Approximately $63 million of loan level funding plus carry over funding from previous years is available.  There are two application windows each year (April 1 and October 1) for the Phase I applications to be received.

USDA Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) Pilot Project

OPPORTUNITY: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the availability of up to $2 million for local governments to host Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot projects for fiscal year 2021. The cooperative agreements support projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans and they are part of USDA’s broader efforts to support urban agriculture.

DESCRIPTION: Cooperative agreements support projects led by local governments that:

Generate compost;

Increase access to compost for agricultural producers;

Reduce reliance on and limit the use of fertilizer;

Improve soil quality;

Encourage waste management and permaculture business development;

Increase rainwater absorption;

Reduce municipal food waste;

Divert food waste from landfills.

Priority will be given to projects that anticipate or demonstrate economic benefits, incorporate plans to make compost easily accessible to farmers, including community gardeners, integrate other food waste strategies, including food recovery efforts and collaborate with multiple partners.


State governments

County governments

Special district governments

Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)

Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)

City or township governments


Estimated Total Program Funding:           $2,000,000

Award Ceiling:   $90,000

Award Floor:      $45,000

USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (Office) will accept applications on until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 16, 2021. Projects should span two years with a start date of September 25, 2021 and completion date of September 25, 2023.

USDA Conservation Innovation Grants Program

OPPORTUNITY: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing up to $15 million to support the development of new tools, approaches, practices and technologies to further natural resource conservation on private lands through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program.

DESCRIPTION: CIG partners use creative problem solving and innovation to address our nation’s water quality, air quality, soil health and wildlife habitat challenges, all while improving agricultural operations. This year, funded CIGs will focus on climate-smart strategies for water resources, soil health (focused on carbon sequestration and climate resilience), nutrient management, grazing lands conservation and strategies to increase conservation adoption. The CIG program has three components, CIG Classic, CIG On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials and state-level CIG. This  funding opportunity announcement is for CIG Classic, which supports early pilot projects or demonstrations of promising new conservation approaches, tools and technologies.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS:  All U.S.-based non-Federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply.


$15 million of grant funding available.

Grantees must match each federal dollar invested at least one to one.

Proposals must be submitted through by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 19, 2021.

USDA On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials

OPPORTUNITY: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking proposals for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials). On-Farm Trials, part of the agency’s Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, feature collaboration between NRCS and partners to implement on-the-ground conservation activities and then evaluate their impact. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing innovative approaches.. This program harnesses the expertise, resources and capacity of partner organizations nationwide to help NRCS boost natural resource conservation on private lands and support climate smart agriculture.

A critical element of each On-Farm Trials project is the project evaluation. Partners must propose robust scientific approaches for their projects, resulting in data and analyses of the environmental, financial and, to the extent possible, social impacts of the trials.

DESCRIPTION: This program harnesses the expertise, resources and capacity of partner organizations nationwide to help USDA This program harnesses the expertise, resources and capacity of partner organizations nationwide to help NRCS boost natural resource conservation on private lands and support climate smart agriculture.

NRCS is seeking proposals that address at least one of the following four On-Farm Trial priorities:

-Climate-smart agricultural solutions

-Soil health demonstration trial

-Irrigation water management

-Management technologies and strategies


State governments

Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education

County governments

Public and State controlled institutions of higher education

Private institutions of higher education

Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)

Small businesses

Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)

For profit organizations other than small businesses

City or township governments

Special district governments


USDA NRCS will invest up to $25 million on On-Farm Trials in 2021. This total includes up to $10 million for the Soil Health Demonstration Trials (SHD) priority. The Soil Health Demonstration Trial (SHD) component of On-Farm Trials focuses exclusively on implementation of conservation practices and systems that improve soil health.

NRCS will invest up to $25 million on On-Farm Trials in 2021. This total includes up to $10 million for the Soil Health Demonstration Trials (SHD) priority. The Soil Health Demonstration Trial (SHD) component of On-Farm Trials focuses exclusively on implementation of conservation practices and systems that improve soil health.

Award Ceiling:   $5,000,000

Award Floor:      $250,000

USDA NRCS will accept applications through the programs portal until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on June 21, 2021.

USDA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative

OPPORTUNITY: USDA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative

DESCRIPTION: The Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) seeks to solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education, and extension activities. The purpose of this program is to fund projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. Priority concerns include biological, physical, and social sciences, including economics. The OREI is particularly interested in projects that emphasize research, education and outreach that assist farmers and ranchers with whole farm planning by delivering practical research-based information. Projects should plan to deliver applied production information to producers. Fieldwork must be done on certified organic land or on land in transition to organic certification, as appropriate to project goals and objectives. Refer to the USDA National Organic Program for organic production standards.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: Following entities are eligible: 1. State agricultural experiment stations; 2. colleges and universities; 3. university research foundations; 4. other research institutions and organizations; 5. Federal agencies; 6. national laboratories; 7. private organizations or corporations; 8. individuals who are United States citizens or nationals; or 9. any group consisting of 2 or more of the entities described in subparagraphs (1) through (8).

AVAILABLE FUNDING AND APPLICATION WINDOW: This is two-year period funding announcement for FY 2021 and FY 2022.   Closing Application Dates: FY 2021- Thursday, January 14, 2021; FY 2022- January 13, 2022.  Anticipated approximate funding amounts available:  FY 2021- $25 million; FY 2022- $30 million.

Funding awards range from $50,000 to $3 million depending on the nature of the project type.

  • Lee Enterprises Consulting’s 150 subject matter experts provide a broad spectrum of expertise to clients, and allows tailoring of interdisciplinary project teams to meet any project’s unique requirements.

  • Lee Enterprises Consulting’s project teams can be assembled cost-effectively, allowing clients to more efficiently manage projects with a single contract coordination point.

  • Lee Enterprises Consulting’s breadth brings focused, interdisciplinary solutions to support projects such as:
    • Implementing management and technical transitions following acquisitions or mergers
    • Performing a 3rd party independent review of your business plans or technology direction
    • Guiding you with experienced planning from bench, to scale up, to commercialization
    • Engineering and construction resource gaps using our specialists
    • Expanding into new product lines to diversify in traditional biofuel or chemical sectors
    • Implementing new technologies with a vendor-neutral perspective
    • Planning expansion into new geographies from the ground up
    • Providing interim leadership or project management

Contact us at (501)833-8511 or to discuss how Lee Enterprises Consulting might assist with your business or project needs.