Our power grid is undergoing the most significant transformation since the early 1900s. Grid modernization involves new infrastructure, technology, and connectivity between the grid and the people that rely on it everyday.
People will have to think about and make decisions about their electricity use in new ways. To get them there, we’re empowering community organizations, schools, and governments to engage people in interesting and informative ways about their changing relationship to electricity.
The Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation (“ISEIF”) is a not-for-profit organization created by the Illinois legislature in 2011, as part of the smart grid authorization of that year. Under our legislative mandate, we make grants for consumer education with regard to smart grid, consumer-facing technologies related to smart grid, and peak time rebate and other time-of-use pricing programs. Our grants may only be made for these types of consumer education (which may include some related research), and they may only benefit non-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) status (including universities and municipalities) in Illinois. The statute also requires that grants be made proportionately in the service territories of ComEd and Ameren, and that 30% of our funding go to consumer education of seniors and low-income populations.
ISEIF is an interactive grantor. We require successful applicants to take part in occasional convenings of all grantees, and to participate in a number of conference calls during the grant year. These meetings and calls insure that all grantees operating in the same geographic area are coordinating with one another, and not sending inconsistent messages. It also helps to assure good coordination with the utilities as they install their smart grids, and undertake their own consumer education and marketing programs, and to guard against over-promising or inaccurate statements by grantees trying to gain interest in their programs. We expect successful applicants to be aware of recent research in energy conservation and behavior change, and to shape their proposed projects in a way that moves the national understanding of these matters further. We provide educational opportunities throughout the year for our grantees to stay on top of these issues, and we will try to bring resources to our grantees in addition to funding that will help them to succeed in their creative work.
ISEIF is required to provide grant funds to qualified not-for-profit organizations, and ISEIF will not accept submissions from which the majority of funds shall accrue directly or indirectly to the benefit of for-profit organizations or entities.
In addition, ISEIF strongly encourages organizations to coordinate their submissions to the extent practicable, and ISEIF will accept submissions from coordinated groups.