DOE Announces Up To $5 Million to Fund Superior Energy Performance Program Administrator

February 24, 2010

The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a funding opportunity announcement that will provide up to $5 million in seed funding for a Program Administrator to develop, launch and operate the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) - accredited Superior Energy Performance (SEP) Industrial Plant and Facility Certification program. This program will make it possible for industrial facilities to achieve continual improvements in energy efficiency by providing a clear roadmap for conformance to the forthcoming International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 50001 energy management system standard. Additionally, in order to meet SEP criteria, companies will have to achieve designated energy intensity performance levels.  While DOE along with the U.S. Council for Energy-Efficient Manufacturing (USCEEM) is guiding the development of the SEP program, once underway, it is intended to become a self-sustaining program through plant certification fees.  

The guidance and technical assistance provided through the SEP program constitute key components of the larger Save Energy Now LEADER strategy – a national initiative sponsored by DOE’s Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) to drive a 25 percent reduction in industrial energy intensity over ten years (25 in 10). As industry currently accounts for nearly one third of U.S. carbon emissions and represents one in five private sector jobs, the progress toward greater industrial energy efficiency that the SEP program can help to drive will strengthen the U.S. economy and provide practical, near-term solutions for significant energy and carbon reductions.  The SEP Program Administrator (SEP-PA) will be responsible for getting the program off to a smooth start and keeping it on track to ensure that it delivers on its promise.  

The funding will be awarded to one entity over a period of five years. The Program Administrator will work in collaboration with ITP and the USCEEM on managing the overall program implementation process and developing a business model that will allow SEP to become a fee-based, self-sufficient program by the end of 2013 so it can operate without the need for financial assistance from the Federal government  Eligible applicants for this funding opportunity include U.S. domestic entities or consortia composed of: 1) academic institutions; 2) non-profit and private entities; and/or 3) state and local governments.  

Specifically, the SEP program will empower industrial facilities and individuals to play integral roles in the growing clean energy economy by certifying continual improvement in energy efficiency.   The SEP program is designed to encourage a culture change in how energy is managed at the facility level by involving people from all parts of management and operational staff.  A series of complementary professional certification programs are also planned to create experts that can provide energy management (ISO 50001 implementation) guidance and conduct energy assessments.  To encourage broader participation by US industrial plants ranging in size and levels of experience in managing energy, SEP will offer a tiered approach in demonstrating energy intensity improvements and successful implementation of energy-efficient practices. In addition, the SEP program will emphasize DOE priorities in program transparency through measurement and verification of energy savings and carbon emission reductions.  

Further details on the Funding Opportunity Announcement entitled, “Superior Energy Performance Program Administrator Technical Assistance” can be found at Public Opportunities section of the FedConnect Web site.  The solicitation reference number is DE-FOA-0000246.