You can find out a lot of interesting information about EERE’s work by looking at the projects EERE is funding in communities across the country. You can find out who received an award, how much they received, what work is to be completed, and the type of financial instrument is being used for the award. In most cases, the financial instrument is either “grant” or “cooperative agreement.” Most people are familiar with the concept of grants and how they work, but may have never heard of a cooperative agreement.
Federal grants and cooperative agreements are very similar. Both are types of financial assistance, both are subject to rigorous oversight monitoring by EERE, and both are commonly awarded to local communities, universities, businesses, and others throughout the nation to achieve a public benefit. Where they differ is in the degree of Federal government involvement in carrying out the award project.
Cooperative agreements are used when substantial EERE involvement is warranted. These agreements entail increased government management and control throughout the development and implementation of a project. The level of government involvement for cooperative agreements is negotiated on a case-by-case basis by the applicant and EERE. Grants are used in situations when this increased involvement is not necessary.
Much like grants, EERE’s cooperative agreements are a mechanism for turning energy policy into solutions to problems and answers to pressing questions. With careful oversight monitoring, EERE uses cooperative agreements to help enable emerging technologies, promote jobs, and strengthen the US economy.