Back to Top
Skip to main content
 
 
 

ELECTRICITY INDUSTRY TECHNOLOGY AND PRACTICES INNOVATION CHALLENGE FAQs

If you still have questions after reading these FAQs, please contact OEElectricityChallenge@netl.doe.gov.

Click on a Question to go to that Question and Answer further down the page.

Index of frequently asked questions:

Q1: What are the goals of the Electricity Industry Technology and Practices Innovation Challenge?
Q2: What is a “challenge”?
Q3: What kinds of ideas is the Office of Electricity (OE) looking for?
Q4: How much money will be awarded and to how many people and organizations?
Q5: Who is eligible to win a prize?
Q6: Can federal employees or employees of the Department’s National Laboratories participate?
Q7: On what basis will submissions be judged?
Q8: What determines whether a submission is considered Tier 1 or Tier 2?
Q9: Will submissions be available for public viewing?
Q10: Besides awarding prizes, does DOE plan to take any additional actions with the winning entries?
Q:11 When does DOE plan to announce and award the prizes?
Q12: Are participants required to register for the Challenge in order to submit a Challenge entry?
Q13: Are participants required to register in the government System for Award Management (SAM) to participate in the challenge?
Q14: I submitted my registration but have not received an e-mail containing the challenge submission instructions and login credentials.
Q15: Can you submit multiple entries?
Q16: To participate in the OE Electricity Challenge, does a participant need to comply with U. S. Government contractor rules? (For example clauses listed in the FAR such as “Payroll and basic records”, “Privacy Training”, “Buy American”, Etc.)
Q17: I am neither a US Citizen nor a Permanent Resident of the US. My advisor, on the other hand, is a US citizen. I understand from the rules of the challenge that non-US citizens or non-permanent residents are not eligible for participation in the individual category. Consequently, I wanted to enquire if we can participate as representatives of my university, even though I am not a US citizen.
Q18: The second key area is “operational efficiency” which does NOT seem to be one of the focused technologies or solutions because the website states, “The EITPIC Prize Competition will focus on developing technologies and/or solutions that can improve grid operations by addressing vulnerabilities; countering emergent threats; mitigating fuel delivery infrastructure interdependencies; enhancing grid reliability; or achieving greater system resilience.” I would like to confirm that will a technology/solution that can significantly relieve power system network congestion and thus can substantially reduce congestion cost (falls into the second key area of “operational efficiency”) be considered as a candidate for this OE-EITPIC challenge?
Q19: The application requires submission from an individual, could you expand on if there are any requirements for an individual applying for an organization.
Q20: Are the prizes awarded on the basis of the submissions or are they based off of an in-person conference?
Q21: I have a question regarding the page limit on the narrative. Does the 15-page limit for Tier-1 submission or 8-page limit for Tier-2 submission include references? Or references will not be counted towards the page limit?
Q22: The instructions state that a Tier I idea should be highly mature and thoroughly validated and demonstrated. However, later the instructions say that DOE may elect not to select an idea if it is already being considered or developed. What is the distinction between being thoroughly validated and demonstrated and not yet being considered or developed? Could I submit an idea that extends innovated work I have been doing for several years?
Q23: The narrative should not contain any personally identifiable information. Does this mean that the judges will be blind as to the identity of the participant? How can previous peer-reviewed and ongoing work be referenced, such as an academic journal paper, without giving away the participant's identity? And will the letters of support (which would, I think, contain personally identifiable information) be visible to the judges?
Q24: Are the letters of support mainly to show that the idea has interest from industry, or that it is technically viable, or both?
Q25: The focus of the challenge is for BPS. We got technology that is able to detect the condition of both transmission and distribution Grid. Is this within the scope of the challenge?
Q26: If a person who has joint appointment both at FFRDC and at University, can he/she submit or be in a team who submit as he/she is a Univ. faculty?
Q27: If a person who use to working in FFRDC, but now in private sector, can he/she be part of the entity who submit for the competition?
Q28: For small business has to be incorporated in US, is this required to be incorporation? Is LLC, Inc and sole proprietor also eligible to participate? If some form is not eligible, then which one is not?
Q29: Are technologies that manage the distribution system and impact the operation of BPS eligible for this competition? Additionally, is a technology that is deployed in distribution system or at the border of transmission and distribution systems (e.g. distribution substation) and can impact the operation of BPS by managing the distribution network eligible for this competition?

Questions and Answers



Q1: What are the goals of the Electricity Industry Technology and Practices Innovation Challenge?

A1: This contest is aims to further technology advancement and utilization by identifying opportunities to utilize technology that will creatively transform current electric utility industry practice(s).



Q2: What is a “challenge”?

A2: A challenge is a tool that agencies can use to award prizes to incentivize innovators to invest resources to solve problems.  The Department’s Office of Electricity (OE) is using the authority in Section 24 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (Pub. L. No. 96-480), as amended by section 105 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010  (Pub. L. No. 111-358) (the “COMPETES Act”) and section 401 of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (Pub. L. No. 114-329) (codified at 15 U.S.C. § 3719) to administer and award the prizes.  See the Rules document, section A.2 under Authority.



Q3: What kinds of ideas is the Office of Electricity (OE) looking for?

A3: Under this Challenge, OE is seeking ideas from utilities, academia (including students), and other innovators in the energy sector for developing technologies and solutions that can improve grid operations by addressing vulnerabilities, countering emerging threats, mitigating cross-sector dependencies, enhancing grid reliability, or achieving greater system resilience.  The scope of technologies and solutions to be considered are those that affect the planning, construction, and/or operations of the bulk power system.  Please refer to the Rules document, section A.2. Challenge Focus and Scope for the full description of this Challenge.



Q4: How much money will be awarded and to how many people and organizations?

A4: The Challenge will offer a total of $1 million in prize money to up to 25 selectees.  See the Rules document, Section A.3 for more information on prize allocation.



Q5: Who is eligible to win a prize?

A5: Individuals, companies, and universities are eligible to win prizes. An individual must be a United States citizen or a U.S. permanent resident and be at least 18 years of age.  Other entities must be incorporated in the United States and maintain a primary place of business in the United States.  Please see the Rules document, Section C.1 under the Eligibility term for more information regarding who is eligible to participate.



Q6: Can federal employees or employees of the Department’s National Laboratories participate?

A6: No, federal employees and employees of the Department’s National Laboratories are ineligible to compete in this Challenge.  Please see the Rules document, Section C.1 under the Eligibility term for more information regarding who is eligible to participate.



Q7: On what basis will submissions be judged?

A7: Submissions will be judged using the Evaluation Criteria stated in Section 2.3 of the Rules document.



Q8: What determines whether a submission is considered Tier 1 or Tier 2?

A8: As stated in Section 1.3 of the Rules document, it is at the sole discretion of the Participant to determine if the idea should be entered as a Tier 1 versus Tier 2 submission.  Submissions will be evaluated according to the Tier identified by the Participant in the submission. 
Distinguishing characteristics of a Tier 1 submission, as compared to a Tier 2 submission, include the following:

• A Tier 1 submission is expected to demonstrate a more complex idea than a Tier 2 submission.

• A Tier 1 submission is expected to demonstrate a higher level of maturation than a Tier 2 submission.

• The viability of a Tier 1 idea is expected to be more thoroughly validated and demonstrated than the viability of a Tier 2 idea.

Additionally, as described in Section B.2 Submission Specifics of the Rules document, the narrative submission requirements are different.



Q9: Will submissions be available for public viewing?

A9: As stated in Section B.2 of the rules document, all submissions must include an abstract.  DOE may choose to make public the abstracts of winning submissions without further permission from the winners.  The abstract must contain a summary of the proposed idea and be suitable for public dissemination.  The abstract must not include any proprietary or sensitive business information.



Q10: Besides awarding prizes, does DOE plan to take any additional actions with the winning entries?

A10: As stated in Section 1.3 of the Rules document, Tier 1 winners may be provided a future opportunity to present their idea(s) either in-person or remotely to DOE and other energy sector stakeholders.



Q:11 When does DOE plan to announce and award the prizes?

A11: As stated in Section 1.3 of the Rules document, winners will be announced on August 30, 2019.  All dates are subject to change including deadlines, and announcements.



Q12: Are participants required to register for the Challenge in order to submit a Challenge entry?

A12: Yes, registration is required.  As stated in Section A.4 of the Challenge rules, participants must register at https://www.netl.doe.gov/OEElectricityChallenge by 8:00 PM Eastern Time (ET) on April 26, 2019 to submit an entry.  Once registration is complete, Participants will receive an email that includes a password to the submission portal, the submission instructions, and the required Submission Template.



Q13: Are participants required to register in the government System for Award Management (SAM) to participate in the challenge?

A13: No, participants are not required to register in SAM to participate in the Challenge.  However, winners who are not individuals must register with SAM at http://www.sam.gov/ in order to receive payment and so are encouraged to begin the registration process as early as possible.



Q14: I submitted my registration but have not received an e-mail containing the challenge submission instructions and login credentials.

A14: Please allow one business day to receive the email in response to your registration submission.



Q15: Can you submit multiple entries?

A15: Yes. As stated in Section B.1 of the Challenge Rules, participants may enter more than one submission; however, each submission must be unique and not be duplicative or redundant of another submission entered by the participant. Please use the log on credentials that are provided when you registered to submit another entry.



Q16: To participate in the OE Electricity Challenge, does a participant need to comply with U. S. Government contractor rules? (For example clauses listed in the FAR such as “Payroll and basic records”, “Privacy Training”, “Buy American”, Etc.)

A16: Participants must abide by the OE Electricity Challenge ‘Official Rules’ document and eligibility requirements. There is no Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) applicability. The Challenge was issued in accordance with the prize authority and guidance contained in Section 24 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (Pub. L. No. 96-480), as amended by section 105 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (Pub. L. No. 111-358) (the “COMPETES Act”) and section 401 of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (Pub. L. No. 114-329) (codified at 15 U.S.C. § 3719).



Q17: I am neither a US Citizen nor a Permanent Resident of the US. My advisor, on the other hand, is a US citizen. I understand from the rules of the challenge that non-US citizens or non-permanent residents are not eligible for participation in the individual category. Consequently, I wanted to enquire if we can participate as representatives of my university, even though I am not a US citizen.

A17: In the scenario of a team submission, an individual must be identified as the representative on the team’s behalf. As stated in Section C.1 Eligibility of the Rules document, the individual submitting must be a United States citizen or a U.S. permanent resident and be at least 18 years of age. If selected as a winner, DOE will verify the identity of the individual and that he/she is qualified to receive the prize in accordance with section C.3 Verification for Payments. If the University submits an entry to the prize competition, and is selected as a winner, DOE would identify the University as the recipient (not the individual participants) and verify that it is qualified to receive the prize in accordance with section C.3. Winners who are not individuals must register with SAM at https://www.sam.gov/ and have an active DUNS number/status in order to receive payment.



Q18: Per the OE challenge website (https://www.netl.doe.gov/OEElectricityChallenge), the five key areas of interest include:

  • Cyber and physical risk mitigation;
  • Operational efficiency;
  • Reliability and resiliency;
  • Facilitation of emergency response and recovery;
  • Safety;

The second key area is “operational efficiency” which does NOT seem to be one of the focused technologies or solutions because the website states, “The EITPIC Prize Competition will focus on developing technologies and/or solutions that can improve grid operations by addressing vulnerabilities; countering emergent threats; mitigating fuel delivery infrastructure interdependencies; enhancing grid reliability; or achieving greater system resilience.” I would like to confirm that will a technology/solution that can significantly relieve power system network congestion and thus can substantially reduce congestion cost (falls into the second key area of “operational efficiency”) be considered as a candidate for this OE-EITPIC challenge?

A18: Submissions must focus one or more of the five (5) key areas listed in the Rules document section B.3. Evaluation Criteria. Those are:

  1. Cyber and physical risk mitigation
  2. Operational efficiency
  3. Reliability and resilience
  4. Facilitation of emergency response and recovery
  5. Safety

Any valid submissions addressing any one or more of these key areas of interest will be considered eligible. In the event of a discrepancy, the Rules document prevails.



Q19: The application requires submission from an individual, could you expand on if there are any requirements for an individual applying for an organization.

A19: Refer to the response provided under Question 17 above to answer your question regarding an entity/organization (non-individual) submission.



Q20: Are the prizes awarded on the basis of the submissions or are they based off of an in-person conference?

A20: Submissions will be judged in accordance with the Rules document section B.3. Evaluation Criteria, which does not include in-person conferences. Tier 1 Winners may be provided a future opportunity to present their idea(s) either in-person or remotely to DOE and other energy sector stakeholders, as identified in the Rules document section A. 3 Prizes to Win and Prize Structure.



Q21: I have a question regarding the page limit on the narrative. Does the 15-page limit for Tier-1 submission or 8-page limit for Tier-2 submission include references? Or references will not be counted towards the page limit?

A21: References (e.g., bibliography) will count toward the stated page limit of the narrative



Q22: The instructions state that a Tier I idea should be highly mature and thoroughly validated and demonstrated. However, later the instructions say that DOE may elect not to select an idea if it is already being considered or developed. What is the distinction between being thoroughly validated and demonstrated and not yet being considered or developed? Could I submit an idea that extends innovated work I have been doing for several years?

A22: As a program policy factor, DOE may determine not to select an idea that is already being developed or pursued. However, if submission builds off of existing work to be implemented in a way not yet contemplated, that may qualify.



Q23: The narrative should not contain any personally identifiable information. Does this mean that the judges will be blind as to the identity of the participant? How can previous peer-reviewed and ongoing work be referenced, such as an academic journal paper, without giving away the participant's identity? And will the letters of support (which would, I think, contain personally identifiable information) be visible to the judges?

A23: PII refers to information such as social security numbers. The judges will not be blind to the identity of the submitter. Judges will have access to letters of support. The letters should not contain PII.



Q24: Are the letters of support mainly to show that the idea has interest from industry, or that it is technically viable, or both?

A24:  Both



Q25: The focus of the challenge is for BPS. We got technology that is able to detect the condition of both transmission and distribution Grid. Is this within the scope of the challenge?

A25:  If the technology described in the potential submission has application to the planning, construction or operation of transmission facilities with respect to one or more of the five key areas of interest listed in the Rules, then it is eligible.



Q26: If a person who has joint appointment both at FFRDC and at University, can he/she submit or be in a team who submit as he/she is a Univ. faculty?

A26:  No, in accordance with Section C.1. Eligibility, Non-DOE Federal entities and Federal employees are not eligible to participate.



Q27: If a person who use to working in FFRDC, but now in private sector, can he/she be part of the entity who submit for the competition?

A27:  It depends on how long it has been since the individual was employed by an FFRDC. In accordance with Section C.1. Eligibility, DOE employees and DOE support service contractors, individuals who have been employed by DOE, or who have worked for DOE as a support service contractor within six months prior to the submission entry deadline, are not eligible to participate.



Q28: For small business has to be incorporated in US, is this required to be incorporation? Is LLC, Inc and sole proprietor also eligible to participate? If some form is not eligible, then which one is not?

A28:  Sections C.1.a and C.1.b of the rules state:

  • C.1.a. Individual must be a United States citizen or a U.S. permanent resident and be at least 18 years of age.
  • C.1.b. The submitting entity must be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States.

If you are selected as a winner, in order to receive a prize you must be a U.S. permanent resident or citizen, at least 18 years of age. If a corporation is selected, its primary place of business must be in the U.S. If a person is the sole proprietor, the sole proprietor must be at least 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.



Q29: Are technologies that manage the distribution system and impact the operation of BPS eligible for this competition? Additionally, is a technology that is deployed in distribution system or at the border of transmission and distribution systems (e.g. distribution substation) and can impact the operation of BPS by managing the distribution network eligible for this competition?

A29:  The scope of technologies and/or solutions to be considered for the Challenge are those that affect the planning, construction, and/or operations of the bulk power system (BPS). Per North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a BPS is defined as a large interconnected electrical system made up of generation and transmission facilities and their control systems. A BPS does not include facilities used in the local distribution of electric energy. Any submissions entered into the Challenge may benefit the distribution system; however for the purposes of selecting EITPIC winners the submissions will be evaluated on their relevance to the BPS in accordance with the evaluation criteria stated in the Rules.