Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels for the Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural Communities and Bulk Fuel Grants, 31283-31296 [2014-12690]

Download as PDF 31283 Notices Federal Register Vol. 79, No. 105 Monday, June 2, 2014 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. Dated: May 22, 2014. Lynn P. Winston, Chief, Bureau for Management, Office of Management Services, Information and Records Division, US Agency for International Development. [FR Doc. 2014–12445 Filed 5–30–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Rural Utilities Service Notice of Public Information Collection Requirements Submitted to OMB for Review; ‘‘Correction’’ Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels for the Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural Communities and Bulk Fuel Grants The United State Agency for International Development (USAID) published a New Information Collection to OMB for review and clearance under the Paper work Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13 notice in the Federal Register on May 1, 2014 (79 FR 24667). OIRA’s email address and the complete physical address were omitted from the published notice on May 1, 2014. As a result USAID is issuing this notice to correct and extend the due date to June 16, 2014 to allow the public the opportunity to provide any comments. AGENCY: sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Correction In the Federal Register of May 1, 2014, in FR Doc. 2014–09935, on page 24667, in first paragraph, third sentence, correct the SUMMARY sentence to read: SUMMARY: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has submitted the following information collection to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13. Comments regarding this information collection are best assured of having their full effect if received within 30 days of this notification. Comments should be addressed to: Desk Officer for USAID, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503 or email address: OIRA Submission@OMB.eop.gov. Copies of submission may be obtained by calling (202) 712–5007. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 Rural Utilities Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces the availability of up to $7 million in fiscal year 2014 (FY14) for competitive grants to assist communities with extremely high energy costs and, up to $1 million in FY14 for competitive grants to state entities to establish and support a revolving fund to provide a more costeffective means of purchasing fuel where the fuel cannot be shipped by means of surface transportation. The grant funds to assist communities with extremely high energy costs may be used to acquire, construct, extend, upgrade, or otherwise improve energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities serving communities in which the average residential expenditure for home energy exceeds 275 percent of the national average. The grant funds used to establish and support a revolving fund must be used to facilitate cost effective fuel purchases for persons, communities, and businesses in eligible areas. This notice describes the eligibility and application requirements, the criteria that will be used by RUS to award funding, and information on how to obtain application materials. DATES: You may submit completed grant applications on paper or electronically according to the following deadlines: • Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight, no later than August 1, 2014, or hand delivered to RUS by this deadline, to be eligible under this PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 NOFA. Late or incomplete applications will not be eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. • Electronic applications must be submitted through Grants.gov no later than midnight August 1, 2014 to be eligible under this NOFA for FY 2014 grant funding. Late or incomplete electronic applications will not be eligible. • Applications will not be accepted by electronic mail. Applications will be accepted upon publication of this notice until midnight (EST) of the closing date of August 1, 2014. You may submit completed applications for grants on paper or electronically to the following addresses: • Paper applications are to be submitted to the Rural Utilities Service, Electric Programs, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1560, Room 5165 South Building, Washington, DC 20250–1560. Applications should be marked ‘‘Attention: High Energy Cost Grant Program’’ or ‘‘Attention: Bulk Fuel Grant Program.’’ • Applications may be submitted electronically through Grants.gov. Information on how to submit applications electronically is available on the Grants.gov Web site at https:// www.Grants.gov. Application Guides and materials may be obtained electronically through: https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UEP_Our_ Grant_Programs.html. Call the RUS Electric Programs at (202) 720–9545 to request paper copies of Application Guides and other materials. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristi Kubista-Hovis, Senior Policy Advisor, Rural Utilities Service, Electric Programs, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1560, Room 5165 South Building, Washington, DC 20250–1560. Telephone (202) 720–9545, Fax (202) 690–0717, email Kristi.kubista-hovis@ wdc.usda.gov. ADDRESSES: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Overview Information Federal Agency Name: United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service. E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 31284 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 105 / Monday, June 2, 2014 / Notices Funding Opportunity Title: Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural Communities and the Bulk Fuel Grant Program. Announcement Type: Initial announcement. Funding Opportunity Number: RD– RUS–HECG12. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.859. The CFDA title for this program is ‘‘Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural Communities.’’ Dates: Applications must be postmarked and mailed or shipped, or hand delivered to the RUS, or filed with Grants.gov by August 1, 2014. Items in Supplementary Information sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES I. Funding Opportunity Description: Brief introduction and definitions. II. Award Information: Projected available funding. III. Eligibility Information: Who is eligible, and what kinds of projects are eligible, what criteria determine basic eligibility. IV. SUTA: The applicant needs to notify RUS that it is seeking consideration under the 7 CFR 1700, Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (the SUTA regulation) and identify the discretionary authorities of the Secretary of Agriculture described in the SUTA regulation that it seeks to have applied to its application. V. Application and Submission Information: Where to get application materials, what constitutes a completed application, how and where to submit applications, deadlines, and items that are eligible. VI. Application Review Information: Considerations and preferences, scoring criteria, review standards, and selection information. VII. Award Administration Information: Award notice information, award recipient and reporting requirements. VIII. Agency Contacts: Web, phone, fax, email, contact name. I. Funding Opportunity Description The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is seeking applications for competitive grants under section 19 of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (the ‘‘RE Act’’) (7 U.S.C. 918a). This NOFA announces the availability of FY14 grant funds, and provides an overview of the grant programs, the eligibility and application requirements, and selection criteria for grant proposals. This NOFA specifies the high energy cost and bulk fuel eligibility benchmarks and scoring criteria for FY14 grants. RUS is also making available an Application Guide with more detailed information on application requirements and copies of all required forms and certifications. The Application Guide is available on the Internet from the RUS Web site at: https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UEP_Our_ Grant_Programs.html. The Application VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 Guide may also be requested from the contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice. For additional information, applicants should consult the program regulations at 7 CFR part 1709. Definitions Consult the program regulations at 7 CFR part 1709 and the Application Guide for additional definitions used in this program. As used in this NOFA: Agency means the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the United States Department of Agriculture. Application Guide means the Application Guide prepared by RUS for the high energy cost grant program or bulk fuel grant program containing detailed instructions for preparing grant applications, and copies of required forms, questionnaires, and model certifications. Area means the geographic area to be served by the grant. Bulk Fuel Eligible area means any area where fuel cannot be shipped routinely by means of surface transportation and must be delivered by water or air for a significant part of the year. Eligible areas include areas where fuel delivery by means of surface transportation is not practical or is prohibitively expensive and the area is primarily dependent on delivery of fuel by water or air. Community means the unit or units of local government in which the area is located. Extremely high energy costs means community average residential energy costs that meet or exceed one or more home energy cost benchmarks established by the Administrator at 275 percent of the national average residential energy expenditures as reported by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the United States Department of Energy. Fuel means coal, oil, gasoline, and other petroleum products, and any other material that can be burned to make energy. Home energy means any energy source or fuel used by a household for purposes other than transportation, including electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas (propane), other petroleum products, wood and other biomass fuels, coal, wind, and solar energy. Fuels used for subsistence activities in remote rural areas are also included. High energy cost benchmarks means the criteria established by the Administrator for eligibility as an extremely high energy cost community. Home energy cost benchmarks are calculated for total annual household PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 energy expenditures; total annual expenditures for individual fuels; annual average per unit energy costs for primary home energy sources and are set at 275 percent of the relevant national average household energy expenditures. Indian Tribe means a Federally recognized Tribe as defined under section 4 of the Indian SelfDetermination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b) to include ‘‘* * * any Indian Tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act [43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.], that is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.’’ Person means any natural person, firm, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and includes Indian Tribes and Tribal entities. Primary home energy source means the energy source that is used for space heating or cooling, water heating, cooking, and lighting. A household or community may have more than one primary home energy source. RE Act means the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as amended. State entity means an agency, department, or instrumentality, or political subdivision of any of the several States of the United States or the District of Columbia, exclusive of local governments. State rural development initiative means a rural economic development program funded by or carried out in cooperation with a State agency or Indian Tribe. Surface transportation means transportation by road, rail, or pipeline. Tribal entity means a legal entity that is owned, controlled, sanctioned, or chartered by the recognized governing body of an Indian Tribe. II. Award Information The total amount of funds available for high energy cost grants in FY14 under this notice is $7 million. The maximum amount of grant assistance that will be awarded for funding in a grant application under this notice is $3,000,000. The minimum amount of assistance for a grant application under this program is $50,000. The number of grants awarded under this NOFA will depend on the number of complete applications submitted, the amount of grant funds requested, the quality and competitiveness of applications submitted, and the availability of funds. E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 105 / Monday, June 2, 2014 / Notices Applicants are limited to one award in FY14. No funding is available for education and outreach. The total amount of funds available for the bulk fuel revolving fund grants is $1 million. The maximum amount of grant assistance that will be awarded for funding in a grant application under this notice is $1 million. The minimum amount of assistance for a grant application under this program is $50,000. The number of grants awarded under this NOFA will depend on the number of complete applications submitted, the amount of grant funds requested, the quality and competitiveness of applications submitted, and the availability of funds. Applicants are limited to one award in FY14. The award period and period of performance will be from 1–3 years. Grant agreements will not be negotiated. Applicants must provide a narrative grant proposal prepared according to the instructions in this NOFA and application guide, along with all required forms and information in order to submit a complete application. All prior applicants must resubmit a new application to be considered for funding under this NOFA. There will be no exceptions. All timely submitted and complete applications will be reviewed for eligibility and rated according to the criteria described in this NOFA. Applications will be ranked in order of their numerical scores on the rating criteria and forwarded to the RUS Administrator. The RUS Administrator is the federal selection official of the competitive awards. The Administrator will review the rankings and the recommendations of the rating panel. The Administrator will then fund grant applications in rank order to the extent of available funds. The RUS reserves the right not to award all the funds made available under this notice. RUS anticipates making multiple awards. Applicants should take proper care in preparing the project’s scope and cost estimate. The proposed scope and cost will not be negotiated. III. Eligibility Information sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 1. Eligible Applicants for High Energy Cost Grants Under Section 19 eligible applicants include ‘‘persons, States, political subdivisions of States, and other entities organized under the laws of States’’ (7 U.S.C. 918a). Under section 13 of the RE Act, the term person means ‘‘any natural person, firm, corporation, or association’’ (7 U.S.C. 913). Examples of VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 eligible business applicants include: For-profit and non-profit business entities, including but not limited to corporations, associations, partnerships, limited liability partnerships (LLPs), cooperatives, trusts, and sole proprietorships. Eligible government applicants include State and local governments, counties, cities, towns, boroughs, or other agencies or units organized under the laws of States. Indian Tribes, other Tribal entities and Alaska Native Corporations are also eligible applicants. An individual is an eligible applicant under this program; however, the proposed grant project must provide community benefits and not be for the sole benefit of an individual applicant or an individual household or business. All applicants must demonstrate the legal capacity of the applicant to execute a binding grant agreement with the federal government at the time of the award and to carry out the proposed grant funded project according to its terms. Corporations that have been convicted of a felony (or had an officer or agency acting on behalf of the corporation convicted of a felony) within the past 24 months are not eligible. Any Corporation that has any unpaid federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, is not eligible. 2. Eligible Applicants for Bulk Fuel Revolving Fund Grants Section 19 of the RE Act restricts eligible applicants to State entities, as defined above, in existence as of November 9, 2000. A state grant recipient may partner with other entities, including other government agencies in carrying out the programs funded under these grants. 3. Requirements for Both Grant Applications All applicants for federal grants with the exception of individuals other than sole proprietorships must provide a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number when applying. Consistent with this Federal policy directive, any organization or sole proprietorship that applies for a high energy cost grant must use its DUNS number on the application and in the field provided on the revised Standard Form 424 (SF 424) ‘‘Application for Federal Assistance’’ to be eligible to apply. DUNS numbers are PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 31285 available for free to Federal Grant applicants on line at https:// fedgov.dnb.com/webform or may be obtained through a short phone call to D&B. Please see the ‘‘Get Registered’’ section on Grants.gov for more information on how to obtain a DUNS number or how to verify if your organization already has a DUNS number. If you already have obtained a DUNS number in connection with the Federal acquisition process, or requested or had one assigned to you for another purpose, you should use that number on all of your applications. It is not necessary to request another DUNS number from D&B. Applicants, whether applying electronically or by paper, must be registered in System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly the Central Contractor Registry (CCR)) prior to submitting an application. Applicants may register for the SAM at https:// www.sam.gov/. Completing the SAM registration process takes up to five business days, and applicants are strongly encouraged to begin the process well in advance of the deadline specified in this notice. The SAM registration must remain active with current information at all times while RUS is considering an application or while a Federal Grant Award or loan is active. To maintain the registration in the SAM database the applicant must review and update the information in the SAM database annually from date of initial registration or from the date of the last update. The applicant must ensure that the information in the database is current, accurate, and complete. 4. Cost Sharing and Matching No cost sharing or matching funds are required as a condition of eligibility under this grant program. However, the RUS will consider other financial resources available to the grant applicant and any voluntary pledge of matching funds or other contributions in assessing the applicant’s commitment and capacity to complete the proposed project successfully, including such contributions, adding additional points to their score. If a successful applicant proposes to use matching funds or other cost contributions in its project, the grant agreement will include conditions requiring documentation of the availability of the matching funds and actual expenditure of matching funds or cost contributions. RUS may require the applicant to provide additional documentation confirming the availability of any matching contribution offered prior to approval of project selection. If an applicant fails to E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 31286 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 105 / Monday, June 2, 2014 / Notices provide timely documentation of the availability of matching contributions, the RUS may, in its sole discretion, decline to award the project if uncertainties over availability of the match render the project financially unfeasible and impose additional conditions. 5. Other Eligibility Requirements A. Eligible Projects for High Energy Cost Grant Applications Grantees must use grant funds for eligible grant purposes. Grant funds may be used to acquire, construct, extend, upgrade, or otherwise improve energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities serving eligible communities. All energy generation, transmission, and distribution facilities and equipment, used to provide electricity, natural gas, home heating fuels, and other energy service to eligible communities are eligible. Projects providing or improving energy services to eligible communities through on-grid and off-grid renewable energy projects, energy efficiency, and energy conservation projects are eligible. A grant project is eligible if it improves, or maintains energy services, or reduces the costs of providing energy services to eligible communities. Grant funds may not be used to pay utility bills or to purchase fuels. Funds may cover up to the full costs of any eligible projects subject to the statutory condition that no more than 4 percent of grant funds may be used for the planning and administrative expenses of the grantee. The program regulations at 7 CFR part 1709 provide more detail on allowable use of grant funds, limitations on grant funds, and ineligible grant purposes. The project must serve communities that meet the extremely high energy cost eligibility requirements described in this NOFA. The applicant must demonstrate that the proposed project will benefit the eligible communities. Projects that primarily benefit a single household or business are not eligible. Additional information and examples of eligible project activities are contained in the Application Guide. Grant funds cannot be used for: (1) Preparation of the grant application; (2) Fuel purchases, routine maintenance or other operating costs; and (3) Purchase of equipment, structures, or real estate not directly associated with provision of residential energy services. In general, grant funds may not be used to support projects that primarily benefit areas outside of eligible communities. However, grant funds may be used to finance an eligible community’s proportionate share of a larger energy project. Grant funds may not be used to refinance or repay the applicant’s outstanding loans or loan guarantees under the RE Act. Each grant applicant must demonstrate the economic and technical feasibility of its proposed project. Activities or equipment that would commonly be considered as research and development activities, or commercial demonstration projects for new energy technologies will not be considered as technologically feasible projects and would, thus, be ineligible grant purposes. However, grant funds may be used for projects that involve the innovative use or adaptation of energyrelated technologies that have been commercially proven. RUS, in its sole discretion, will determine if a project relies on unproven technology, and that determination shall be final. B. Eligible Projects for Bulk Fuel Revolving Fund Grant Program Grant funds can only be used to establish and support a revolving loan fund that facilitates cost effective fuel purchases for persons, communities, and businesses in Bulk Fuel Eligible areas. Where a recipient State entity’s existing program is authorized to fund multiple purposes, grant funds may only be used to the extent the recipient funds eligible activities. C. Eligible Communities for High Energy Cost Grants The grant project must benefit communities with extremely high energy costs. The RE Act defines an extremely high energy cost community as one in which ‘‘the average residential expenditure for home energy is at least 275 percent of the national average residential expenditure for home energy’’ 7 U.S.C. 918a. The benchmarks are set based on the latest available information from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) residential energy surveys. The statutory requirement that community residential expenditures for home energy exceed 275 percent of the national average establishes a very high threshold for eligibility under this program. RUS has calculated high energy cost benchmarks based on the most recent EIA national average home energy expenditure data. The current benchmarks are shown in Table 1. Applicants must demonstrate that proposed communities must meet one or more high energy cost benchmarks to qualify as an eligible beneficiary of a grant under this program. All applications must meet these current eligibility benchmarks for high energy. Based on available published information on residential energy costs, RUS anticipates that only those communities with the highest energy costs across the country will qualify. The EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption and Expenditure Surveys (RECS) and reports provide the baseline national average household energy costs that were used for establishing extremely high energy cost community eligibility criteria for this grant program. The RECS data base and reports provide national and regional information on residential energy use, expenditures, and housing characteristics. EIA published its latest available RECS home energy expenditure survey results in 2012. These estimates of home energy usage and expenditures are based on national surveys conducted in 2009 survey data and are shown in Table 1 as follows: sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES TABLE 1—NATIONAL AVERAGE ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD ENERGY EXPENDITURES AND EXTREMELY HIGH ENERGY COST ELIGIBILITY BENCHMARKS EFFECTIVE FOR APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED ON OR AFTER JUNE 2, 2014 EIA 2009 national annual average household expenditure ($ per year) Fuel RUS extremely high energy cost benchmark 275% of national average ($ per year) 1,340 804 3,685 2,211 AVERAGE ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE Electricity .................................................................................................................................................................. Natural Gas .............................................................................................................................................................. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 31287 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 105 / Monday, June 2, 2014 / Notices TABLE 1—NATIONAL AVERAGE ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD ENERGY EXPENDITURES AND EXTREMELY HIGH ENERGY COST ELIGIBILITY BENCHMARKS EFFECTIVE FOR APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED ON OR AFTER JUNE 2, 2014—Continued EIA 2009 national annual average household expenditure ($ per year) Fuel Oil .................................................................................................................................................................... LPG/Propane ........................................................................................................................................................... Total Household Energy Use .................................................................................................................................. Fuel (units) 1,338 972 2,024 3,680 2,673 5,566 EIA 2009 national average unit cost ($ per unit) Fuel RUS extremely high energy cost benchmark 275% of national average ($ per year) RUS extremely high energy cost benchmark 275% of national average ($ per unit) .12 12.18 2.42 2.09 2.72 22.59 .33 33.50 6.68 5.76 7.49 62.12 ANNUAL AVERAGE PER UNIT RESIDENTIAL ENERGY COSTS Electricity (Kilowatt hours) ....................................................................................................................................... Natural Gas (thousand cubic feet) .......................................................................................................................... Fuel Oil (gallons) ..................................................................................................................................................... LPG/Propane (gallons) ............................................................................................................................................ Kerosene (gallons) ................................................................................................................................................... Total Household Energy (million Btus) .................................................................................................................... sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Sources: Energy Information Administration, United States Department of Energy, 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey Data—Detailed Tables, available at: https://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/data/2009/. Extremely high energy costs in rural and remote communities typically result from a combination of factors including high energy consumption, high per unit energy costs, limited availability of energy sources, extreme climate conditions, and housing characteristics. The relative impacts of these conditions exhibit regional and seasonal diversity. Market factors have created an additional complication in recent years as the prices of the major commercial residential energy sources—electricity, fuel oil, natural gas, and LPG/propane— have fluctuated dramatically in some areas. The applicant must demonstrate that each community in the grant project’s proposed area exceeds one or more of these high energy cost benchmarks to be eligible for a grant under this program. i. High Energy Cost Benchmarks. The benchmarks measure extremely high energy costs for residential consumers. These benchmarks were calculated using EIA’s estimates of national average residential energy expenditures per household and by primary home energy source. The benchmarks recognize the diverse factors that contribute to extremely high home energy costs in rural communities. The benchmarks allow extremely high energy cost communities several alternatives for demonstrating eligibility. Communities may qualify based on: Total annual household VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 energy expenditures; total annual expenditures for commercially-supplied primary home energy sources, i.e., electricity, natural gas, oil, or propane; or average annual per unit home energy costs. By providing alternative measures for demonstrating eligibility, the benchmarks reduce the burden on potential applicants created by the limited public availability of comprehensive data on local community energy consumption and expenditures. A community or area will qualify as an extremely high cost energy community if it meets one or more of the energy cost eligibility benchmarks described below. a. Extremely High Average Annual Household Expenditure for Home Energy. The area or community exceeds one or more of the following: • Average annual residential electricity expenditure of $3,685 per household; • Average annual residential natural gas expenditure of $2,211 per household; • Average annual residential expenditure on fuel oil of $3,680 per household; • Average annual residential expenditure on propane or liquified petroleum gas (LPG) as a primary home energy source of $2,673 per household; or PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Average annual residential energy expenditure (for all non-transportation uses) of $5,566 per household. b. Extremely High Average per unit energy costs. The average residential per unit cost for major commercial energy sources in the area or community exceeds one or more of the following: • Annual average cost per kilowatt hour for residential electricity customers of $0.33 per kilowatt hour (kWh); • Annual average residential natural gas price of $33.50 per thousand cubic feet; • Annual average residential fuel oil price of $6.68 per gallon; • Annual average residential price of propane or LPG as a primary home energy source of $5.76 per gallon; • Annual average residential price of Kerosene as a primary home energy source of $7.49 per gallon or • Total annual average residential energy cost on a Btu basis of $62.12 per million Btu.1 ii. Supporting Energy Cost Data. The applicant must include information that demonstrates its eligibility under RUS’s high energy cost benchmarks for the communities and areas. The applicant must supply documentation or references for its sources for actual or 1 Note: Btu is the abbreviation for British thermal unit, a standard energy measure. A Btu is the quantity of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit at or near 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit. E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 31288 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 105 / Monday, June 2, 2014 / Notices estimated home energy expenditures or equivalent measures to support eligibility. Generally, the applicant will be expected to use historical residential energy cost or expenditure information for the local energy provider serving the community or area to determine eligibility. Other potential sources of home energy related information include Federal and State agencies, local community energy providers such as electric and natural gas utilities and fuel dealers, and commercial publications. The Application Guide includes a list of EIA resources on residential energy consumption and costs that may be of assistance. The grant applicant must establish eligibility for each community in the project’s area. To determine eligibility, the applicant must identify each community included in whole or in part within the areas and provide supporting actual or estimated energy expenditure data for each community. The smallest area that may be designated as an area is a 2010 Census block. This minimum size is necessary to enable a determination of population size. Potential applicants can compare the benchmark criteria to available information about local energy use and costs to determine their eligibility. Applicants should demonstrate their eligibility using historical energy use and cost information. Where such information is unavailable or does not adequately reflect the actual costs of supporting average home energy use in a local community, RUS will consider estimated commercial energy costs. The Application Guide includes examples of circumstances where estimated energy costs are used. EIA does not collect or maintain data on home energy expenditures in sufficient detail to identify specific rural localities as extremely high energy cost communities. Therefore, grant applicants will have to provide information on local community energy costs from other sources to support their applications. In many instances, historical community energy cost information can be obtained from a variety of public sources or from local utilities and other energy providers. For example, EIA publishes monthly and annual reports of residential prices by State and by service area for electric utilities and larger natural gas distribution companies. Average residential fuel oil and propane prices are reported regionally and for major cities by government and private publications. Many State agencies also compile and publish information on residential energy costs to support State programs. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 iii. Use of Estimated Home Energy Costs. Where historical community energy cost data are incomplete or lacking or where community-wide data does not accurately reflect the costs of providing home energy services in the area, the applicant may substitute estimates based on engineering standards. The estimates should use available community, local, or regional data on energy expenditures, consumption, housing characteristics and population. Estimates are also appropriate where the area does not presently have centralized commercial energy services at a level that is comparable to other residential customers in the State or region. For example, local commercial energy cost information may not be available where the area is without local electric service because of the high costs of connection. Engineering cost estimates reflecting the incremental costs of extending service could reasonably be used to establish eligibility for areas without gridconnected electric service. Estimates also may be appropriate where historical energy costs do not reflect the cost of providing a necessary upgrade or replacement of energy infrastructure to maintain or extend service that would raise costs above one or more benchmarks. Information to support high energy cost eligibility is subject to independent review by RUS. Applications that contain information that is not reasonably based on credible sources of information and sound estimates will be rejected. Where appropriate, RUS may consult standard sources to confirm the reasonableness of information and estimates provided by an applicant in determining eligibility, technical feasibility, and adequacy of proposed budget estimates. D. Limitations on Grant Awards i. Statutory Limitation on Planning and Administrative Expenses for both Grants. Section 19 of the RE Act provides that no more than 4 percent of the grant funds for any project may be used for planning and administrative expenses of the grantee. ii. Ineligible Grant Purposes for High Energy Cost Grants. Grant funds cannot be used for: Preparation of the grant application, fuel purchases, routine maintenance or other operating costs, and purchase of equipment, structures, or real estate not directly associated with provision of residential energy services. In general, grant funds may not be used to support projects that primarily benefit areas outside of eligible communities. However, grant funds may be used to finance an eligible PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 community’s proportionate share of a larger energy project. Consistent with USDA policy and program regulations, grant funds awarded under this program generally cannot be used to replace other USDA assistance or to refinance or repay outstanding loans under the RE Act. Grant funds may, however, be used in combination with other USDA assistance programs including electric loans. Grants may be applied toward grantee contributions under other USDA programs depending on the specific terms of those programs. For example, an applicant may propose to use grant funds to offset the costs of electric system improvements in extremely high cost areas by increasing the utility’s contribution for line extensions or system expansions to its distribution system financed in whole or part by an electric loan under the RE Act. An applicant may propose to finance a portion of an energy project for an extremely high energy cost community through this grant program and secure the remaining project costs through a loan or loan guarantee from RUS or other grant sources. The determination of whether a project will be completed in this manner will be made solely by the Administrator. iii. Maximum and Minimum Awards. For High Energy Cost Grants, the maximum amount of grant assistance that will be considered for funding per grant application under this notice is $3,000,000. The minimum amount of assistance for a competitive grant application under this program is $50,000. For bulk fuel revolving fund grants, the maximum amount of grant assistance that will be considered for funding per grant application under this notice is $1 million. The minimum amount of assistance for a competitive grant application under this program is $50,000. IV. SUTA The 2008 Farm Bill (Pub. L. 110–246, codified at 7 U.S.C. 906f), authorizes the Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) provisions, as implemented by RUS as regulation 7 CFR 1700, Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (the SUTA regulation). Under the SUTA regulation, the applicant may request the Agency apply one or more SUTA provisions to its application. To receive consideration the applicant needs to submit to RUS a completed application in compliance with 7 CFR 1709, and include a section requesting consideration under the SUTA regulation. This section notifies RUS that the applicant is seeking E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 105 / Monday, June 2, 2014 / Notices consideration under the SUTA regulation and identifies the discretionary authorities the Secretary of Agriculture described in the SUTA regulation—that it seeks to have applied to its application. In this section the applicant must include the information demonstrating eligibility for consideration under the SUTA regulation, and an explanation and documentation of the high need for the HECG or bulk fuel revolving fund benefits. RUS will review the application to determine whether the applicant is eligible to receive consideration under SUTA. RUS will notify the applicant in writing whether (1) the application is eligible to receive consideration under this subpart and if one or more SUTA requests are granted; or (2) the application is not eligible to receive further consideration under the SUTA regulation. If the SUTA request is not granted, the applicant may withdraw its application or, if the application is still eligible without SUTA consideration, request that RUS treat its application as an ordinary application for processing. For more detailed guidance on how to apply for a grant under SUTA, please refer to the FY 2014 Application Guide available at https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UEP_Our_ Grant_Programs.html. sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES V. Application and Submission Information All applications must be prepared and submitted in compliance with this NOFA and the Application Guide. The Application Guide contains additional information on the grant programs, sources of information for use in preparing applications, examples of eligible projects, and copies of the required application forms. 1. Address To Request an Application Package Applications materials and the Application Guide are available for download through https:// www.Grants.gov (under CFDA No. 10.859) and on the Electric Programs Web site at: https:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/UEP_Our_Grant_ Programs.html. Application packages, including required forms, may be also be requested from: Kristi Kubista-Hovis, Senior Policy Advisor, United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Utilities Programs, Electric Program, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1560, Room 5165 South Building, Washington, DC 20250– 1560. Telephone (202) 720–9545, Fax (202) 690–0717, email kristi.kubistahovis@wdc.usda.gov. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 2. Content and Form of Application Submission Applicants must follow the directions in this notice and the Application Guide in preparing their applications and narrative proposals. The completed application package should be assembled in the order specified with all pages numbered sequentially or by section. A. Application Contents Applicants must submit the following information for the application to be complete and considered for funding: i. Formatting and length of application. All applications must be on single-sided pages and all pages must be numbered. Only numbered pages will be reviewed. All applications are limited to the page limits specified by each section in this NOFA. Any additional pages greater than what is specified in this NOFA will not be reviewed and considered. ii. Part A. A Completed SF 424, ‘‘Application for Federal Assistance.’’ This form must be signed by a person authorized to submit the proposal on behalf of the applicant. Note: SF 424 has recently been revised to include new required data elements, including a DUNS number. You must submit the revised form. Copies of this form are available in the application package available online through RUS’s Web site or through Grants.gov, or by request from the RUS contact listed above. iii. Part B. Grant Eligibility for High Energy Cost Grants (3 pages total). The Grant Eligibility is a narrative section that establishes the applicant’s eligibility. a. Project Abstract and Eligibility. This section provides a summary of the proposed project. The project must be described in sufficient detail to establish that it is an eligible project according to this NOFA. b. Applicant Eligibility. This section includes a narrative statement that identifies the applicant and supporting evidence establishing that the applicant has or will have the legal authority to enter into a financial assistance relationship with the Federal Government. Applicants must also be free of any debarment or other restriction on their ability to contract with the Federal government. iv. Part B. Grant Eligibility for Bulk Fuel Revolving Fund Grants (1 page total). The Grant Eligibility is a narrative section that establishes the applicant’s eligibility. a. Project Abstract and Eligibility. This section provides a summary of the proposed project. PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 31289 b. Applicant Eligibility. The applicant must establish that the applicant is a State entity that was in existence as of November 9, 2000, and has the legal authority to enter into a financial assistance relationship with the Federal Government to carry out the grant activities. 3. Community Eligibility for High Energy Cost Grants This section provides a narrative description of the community or communities to be served by the project and supporting information to establish eligibility. The narrative must show that the proposed grant project’s area or areas are located in one or more communities where the average residential energy costs exceed one or more of the benchmark criteria for extremely high energy costs as described in this NOFA. The narrative should clearly identify the location and population of the areas to be aided by the grant project and their energy costs and the population of the local government division in which they are located. Local energy providers and sources of high energy cost data and estimates should be clearly identified. Neither the applicant nor the project must be physically located in the extremely high energy cost community, but the funded project must serve an eligible community. The population estimates should be based on the results of the 2010 Census available from the U.S. Census Bureau. Additional information and exhibits supporting eligibility may include maps, summary tables, and references to statistical information from the U.S. Census, the Energy Information Administration, other Federal and State agencies, or private sources. The Application Guide includes additional information and sources that the applicant may find useful in establishing community eligibility. A. Part C. Grant Proposal (Maximum of 30 Pages) The grant proposal is a narrative description prepared by the applicant that describes the proposed grant project, the potential benefits of the project, and a proposed budget. The grant proposal should contain the following sections in the order indicated. i. Executive Summary (1 page). The Executive Summary is a one page narrative summary that: (1) Identifies the applicant, project title, and the key contact person with telephone and fax numbers, mailing address and email address; (2) specifies the amount of grant funds requested; and (3) provides E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 31290 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 105 / Monday, June 2, 2014 / Notices a brief description of the proposed project including the eligible rural communities and residents to be served, activities and facilities to be financed, and how the grant project will offset or reduce the community’s extremely high energy costs. ii. Project Needs (2 pages). This section is a narrative that describes the needs of the community. To the maximum extent possible grant funds will be directed to the smallest communities with the lowest incomes emphasizing areas where according to the American Community Survey data by census tracts show that at least 20 percent of the population is living in poverty. This emphasis supports Rural Development’s goal of providing 20 percent of its funding by 2016 to these areas of need. Applicants must also identify if their community is deemed an economic hardship community or if the community is facing an imminent hazard. A community facing economic hardship is defined as a situation where the 2000 median household income for the community is 20 percent below the State average or where the community suffers from economic conditions that severely constrain its ability to provide or improve energy facilities serving the community. Projects focused in correcting an imminent hazard are defined as projects that will correct a condition posing an imminent hazard to public safety, public welfare, the environment, or to a critical community or residential energy facility in immediate danger of failure because of a deteriorated condition, capacity limitation, or damage from a natural disaster or accident. Applicants must describe in detail and document conditions creating severe community economic hardship or imminent hazard in the proposal. iii. Project Description (Design) (5 pages): This section must provide a narrative description of the project including a proposed scope of work identifying major tasks and proposed schedules for task completion, a detailed description of the equipment, facilities and associated activities to be financed with grant funds, the location of the eligible extremely high energy cost communities to be served, and an estimate of the overall duration of the project. The Project Design description should be sufficiently detailed to support a finding of technical feasibility. Proposed projects involving construction, repair, replacement, or improvement of electric generation, transmission, and distribution facilities must generally be consistent with the standards and requirements for projects financed with loans and loan guarantees VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 under the RE Act as set forth in RUS’s Electric Programs Regulations and Bulletins and may reference these requirements. iv. Project Goals and objectives and Project Performance Measures (2 pages): The applicant should clearly identify how the project addresses the energy needs of the community and include appropriate measures of project success such as, for example, expected reductions in household or community energy costs, avoided cost increases, enhanced reliability, or economic or social benefits from improvements in energy services available to the community. The applicant should include quantitative estimates of cost or energy savings and other benefits. The applicant should provide documentation or references to support its statements about cost-effectiveness savings and improved services. The applicant should also describe how it plans to measure and monitor the effectiveness of the program in delivering its projected benefits. v. Project Management (8 pages): This section must provide a narrative describing the applicant’s capabilities and project management plans. The description should be broken down into the following subsections: a. Management Plan and Schedule (2 pages). This subsection should include the application’s organizational structure, method of funding, if the applicant proposes to use affiliated entities, and production schedule in implementing the grant award. If the applicant proposes to secure equipment, design, construction, or other services from non-affiliated entities, the applicant must briefly describe how it plans to procure and/or contract for such equipment or services. The applicant should provide information that will support a finding that the combination of management team’s experience, financial management capabilities, resources and project structure will enable successful completion of the project. b. Project Reporting Plan (2 pages). This subsection should provide a detailed description of the reporting requirements as well as consequences if the project falls behind. c. Relevant Organizational Experience (2 pages). This subsection should include a detailed description of the organization that will install or implement the proposed projects. Information on success rates, past project long term viability, and consumer complaints are required. If the applicant has received any HECG funding, or other Federal funding a PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 detailed description of past performance is required in this section. d. Key Staff Experience (2 pages). This subsection requires bio/descriptions of all key staff and must be provided. If the applicant proposes to use affiliated entities, contractors, or subcontractors to provide services funded under the grant, the applicant must describe the identities, relationship, qualifications, and experience of these affiliated entities. The experience and capabilities of these entities will be reviewed by the rating panel. vi. Regulatory and other approvals (2 pages). The applicant must identify any other regulatory or other approvals required by other Federal, State, local, or Tribal agencies, or by private entities as a condition of financing that are necessary to carry out the proposed grant project and its estimated schedule for obtaining the necessary approvals. Prior to the obligation of any funds for the selected proposals, applicants will be required to gather specific information in order for RUS to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), for which the provision of funding is considered an undertaking subject to review. The environmental information that must be supplied by the applicant can be found in the environmental report in the application materials. vii. Rural development initiatives (1 page). The narrative should describe whether and how the proposed project will support any State rural development initiatives. If the project is in support of a rural development initiative, including SUTA, the application should include confirming documentation from the appropriate rural development agency. The application must identify the extent to which the project is dependent upon or tied to other rural development initiatives, funding and approvals. The applicant should also clarify if they are located in a rural community of less than 20,000 people or are receiving matching funds from an outside source. Projects that do not support a State rural development initiative, but are located in communities of less than 20,000, or will receive matching funds will still receive points. Projects will be awarded 5 points for each rural development initiative mentioned. viii. Proposed Project Budget (4 pages). The applicant must submit a proposed budget for the grant program on SF 424A, ‘‘Budget Information— Non-Construction Programs’’ or SF– 424C, ‘‘Standard Form for Budget Information—Construction Programs,’’ as applicable. All applicants that submit E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 105 / Monday, June 2, 2014 / Notices sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES applications through Grants.gov must use SF–424A. The applicant should supplement the budget summary form with more detailed information describing the basis for cost estimates. The detailed budget estimate should itemize and explain major proposed project cost components such as, but not limited to, the expected costs of design and engineering and other professional services, personnel costs (salaries/wages and fringe benefits), equipment, materials, property acquisition, travel (if any), and other direct costs, and indirect costs, if any. The budget must document that planned administrative and other expenses of the project sponsor that are not directly related to performance of the grant will not total more than 4 percent of grant funds. The applicant must also identify the source and amount of any other Federal or nonFederal contributions of funds or services that will be used to support the proposed project. ix. Supplementary Material (5 pages). Only letters of Support will be accepted as Supplementary materials. No other additional information will be accepted or reviewed. Letters from Congress will not be counted against the page limitation. B. Part D. Additional Required Forms and Certifications In order to establish compliance with other Federal requirements for financial assistance, the applicant must execute and submit with the initial application the following forms and certifications: • SF 424B, ‘‘Assurances—NonConstruction Programs’’ or SF 424D, ‘‘Assurances—Construction Programs’’ (as applicable). All applicants applying through Grants.gov must use form SF 424B. • SF LLL, ‘‘Disclosure of Lobbying Activities.’’ • ‘‘Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matter—Primary Covered Transactions’’ as required under 7 CFR part 3017, Appendix A. Certifications for individuals, corporations, nonprofit entities, Indian Tribes, partnerships. • Environmental Report. The RUS environmental report template included in the Application Guide solicits information about project characteristics and site-specific conditions that may involve environmental, historic preservation, and other resources. The information will be used by RUS’s environmental staff to determine what, if any, additional environmental impact analyses may be necessary before a final grant award may be approved. A copy of the environmental report and instructions for completion are included VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 in the Application Guide and may be downloaded from RUS’s Web site or Grants.gov. 4. Community Eligibility for Bulk Fuel Revolving Fund Grants This section provides a narrative description of the community or communities to be served by the revolving loan fund. Applicants must prove that the area is dependent on delivery of fuel by water or air and fuel cannot be shipped by means of surface transportation either because of physical constraints or because surface transportation is not practical or is prohibitively expensive. A. Part C. Grant Proposal (Maximum of 26 Pages) The grant proposal is a narrative description prepared by the applicant that describes the proposed grant project, the potential benefits of the project, and a proposed budget. The grant proposal should contain the following sections in the order indicated. i. Executive Summary (1 page). The Executive Summary is a one page narrative summary that: (1) Identifies the State entity applying for the grant; (2) specifies the amount of grant funds requested; and (3) provides a brief description of the proposed program, including the estimated number of potential beneficiaries, their estimated fuel needs, the projects and activities to be financed through the revolving loan fund, and how the projects and activities will improve the cost effectiveness of fuel procured. ii. Project Needs (2 pages). This section is a narrative that describes the needs of the community. To the maximum extent possible grant funds will be directed to the smallest communities with the lowest incomes emphasizing areas where according to the American Community Survey data by census tracts show that at least 20 percent of the population is living in poverty. This emphasis supports Rural Development’s goal of providing 20 percent of its funding by 2016 to these areas of need. It must also describe the criteria used to identify eligible areas, including the characteristics that make fuel deliveries by surface transportation impossible or impracticable. It must also identify if the community is deemed an economic hardship community or if the community is facing an imminent hazard. A community facing economic hardship is defined as a situation where the 2010 median household income for the community is 20 percent below the State average or where the community suffers from economic conditions that PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 31291 severely constrain its ability to provide or improve energy facilities serving the community. Projects focused in correcting an imminent hazard are defined as projects that will correct a condition posing an imminent hazard to public safety, public welfare, the environment, or to a critical community or residential energy facility in immediate danger of failure because of a deteriorated condition, capacity limitation, or damage from a natural disaster or accident. Applicants must describe in detail and document conditions creating severe community economic hardship or imminent hazard in the proposal. iii. Project Description (Design) (5 pages). This section must provide a narrative description of the project including the following items: (1) The legal structure and staffing of the revolving fund proposal for fuel purchase support; (2) The objectives of the project, the proposed criteria for establishing project funding eligibility and how the project is to be staffed, managed and financed; (3) How the potential beneficiaries will be informed of the availability of revolving fund benefits to them; (4) How the proposed revolving fund program will help provide a more cost-effective means of meeting fuel supply needs in eligible areas, encourage the adoption of financially sustainable energy practices, the adequate planning and investment in bulk fuel facility operations and maintenance and cost-effective investments in energy efficiency; and (5) If the revolving fund program is not yet operational, a proposed implementation schedule and milestones should be provided. iv. Project Goals and objectives and Project Performance Measures (2 pages). The applicant should clearly identify how the project addresses the energy needs of the community and include appropriate measures of project success. The applicant should also describe how it plans to measure and monitor the effectiveness of the program in delivering its projected benefits. v. Project Management (6 pages): This section must provide a narrative describing the applicant’s capabilities and project management plans. The description should be broken down into the following subsections: a. Management Plan and Schedule (2 pages). This subsection should include the application’s organizational structure, method of funding, if the applicant proposes to use affiliated entities, and production schedule in implementing the grant award. b. Project Reporting Plan (2 pages). This subsection should provide a E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 31292 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 105 / Monday, June 2, 2014 / Notices sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES detailed description of the reporting requirements as well as consequences if the project falls behind. c. Relevant Organizational Experience (2 pages). This subsection should include a detailed description of the organization that will oversee and implement the revolving loan fund. Applicants should note if they have received bulk fuel revolving grant funds in the past. vi. Rural development initiatives (1 page). The narrative should describe whether and how the proposed project will support any State rural development initiatives. If the project is in support of a rural development initiative, the application should include confirming documentation from the appropriate rural development agency. The application must identify the extent to which the project is dependent upon or tied to other rural development initiatives, funding and approvals. The applicant should also clarify if they are located in a rural community of less than 20,000 people or are receiving matching funds from an outside source. Projects that do not support a State rural development initiative, but are located in communities of less than 20,000, or will receive matching funds that exceed 25 percent of the annual funding operations will still receive points. vii. Proposed Project Budget (4 pages). The applicant must submit a proposed budget for the grant program on SF 424A, ‘‘Budget Information—NonConstruction Programs.’’ All applicants that submit applications through Grants.gov must use SF–424A. The applicant should supplement the budget summary form with more detailed information describing the basis for cost estimates. The level of detail must be sufficient for reviewers to determine that grant funds will be used only for eligible purposes and to determine the extent to which the program is entirely dependent on grant funding or whether it has financial support from the State or other sources. viii. Supplementary Material (5 pages). Only letters of Support will be accepted as Supplementary materials. No other additional information will be accepted or reviewed. Letters from Congress will not be counted against the page limitation. B. Part D. Additional Required Forms and Certifications In order to establish compliance with other Federal requirements for financial assistance, the applicant must execute and submit with the initial application the following forms and certifications: VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 • SF 424B, ‘‘Assurances—NonConstruction Programs’’ or SF 424D, ‘‘Assurances—Construction Programs’’ (as applicable). All applicants applying through Grants.gov must use form SF 424B. • SF LLL, ‘‘Disclosure of Lobbying Activities.’’ • ‘‘Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matter—Primary Covered Transactions’’ as required under 7 CFR part 3017, Appendix A. Certifications for individuals, corporations, nonprofit entities, Indian Tribes, partnerships. • Environmental Report. The RUS environmental report template included in the Application Guide solicits information about project characteristics and site-specific conditions that may involve environmental, historic preservation, and other resources. The information will be used by RUS’s environmental staff to determine what, if any, additional environmental impact analyses may be necessary before a final grant award may be approved. A copy of the environmental report and instructions for completion are included in the Application Guide and may be downloaded from RUS’s Web site or Grants.gov. 5. Additional Information Requests In addition to the information required to be submitted in the application package, the RUS may request that successful grant applicants provide additional information, analyses, forms and certifications before the grant agreement is signed and funds are obligated but after the award is subject to any environmental reviews or other reviews or certifications required under USDA and Government-wide assistance regulations. The RUS will advise the applicant in writing of any additional information required. 6. Submitting the Application Applicants that are submitting paper application packages must submit one original application package that includes original signatures on all required forms and certifications and two copies. Applications should be submitted on 81⁄2 x 11 inch white paper. A completed paper application package must contain all required parts in the order indicated in the above section on ‘‘Content and Form of Application Submission.’’ The application package should be paginated either sequentially or by section. Applicants are requested to provide the application package in single-sided format for ease of copying. Applicants that are submitting application packages electronically PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 through the Federal grants portal Grants.gov (https://www.Grants.gov) must follow the application requirements and procedures and submit all the forms in the application package provided there. The Grants.gov Web site contains full instructions on all required registration, passwords, credentialing and software required to submit applications electronically. Grants.gov has streamlined the registration and credentialing process and now requires separate application processes for individuals and organizations. Individual applicants, including individuals applying on behalf of an organization, should follow the special directions for individuals on the Grants.gov Web site. Organizational applicants and sole proprietorships should follow the instructions for organizations. Organizational applicants are advised that completion of the requirements for registration with Grants.gov, with the System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly Central Contractor Registry, (CCR)), and e-Authentication required under Grants.gov may take a week or more and may be delayed. Accordingly, RUS strongly recommends that you complete your organization’s registration with Grants.gov well in advance of the deadline for submitting applications. 7. Disclosure of Information All material submitted by the applicant may be made available to the public in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and USDA’s implementing regulations at 7 CFR part 1. 8. Submission Dates and Times Applications must be postmarked or hand delivered to the RUS or posted to Grants.gov by August 1, 2014. RUS will begin accepting applications on the date of publication of this NOFA. RUS will accept for review all applications postmarked or delivered to us by this deadline. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered and discarded. For the purposes of determining the timeliness of an application the RUS will accept the following as valid postmarks: The date stamped by the United States Postal Service on the outside of the package containing the application delivered by U.S. Mail; the date the package was received by a commercial delivery service as evidenced by the delivery label; the date received via hand delivery to the RUS headquarters; and the date an electronic application was posted for submission to Grants.gov. E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 105 / Monday, June 2, 2014 / Notices 9. Intergovernmental Review This program is not subject to the requirements of Executive Order 12372, ‘‘Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,’’ as implemented under USDA’s regulations at 7 CFR part 3015. sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 10. Other Submission Requirements A completed application must contain all required parts in the order indicated in the above section on ‘‘Content and Form of Application Submission.’’ The application package should be paginated either sequentially or by section. The completed paper application package and two copies must be delivered to the RUS headquarters in Washington, DC, using United States Mail, overnight delivery service, or by hand to the following address: Rural Utilities Service, Electric Programs, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1560, Room 5165 South Building, Washington, DC 20250–1560. Applications should be marked ‘‘Attention: High Energy Cost Community Grant Program’’ or ‘‘Attention: Bulk Fuel Revolving Fund Grant Program.’’ Applicants are advised that regular mail deliveries to Federal Agencies, especially of oversized packages and envelopes, continue to be delayed because of increased security screening requirements. Applicants may wish to consider using Express Mail or a commercial overnight delivery service instead of regular mail. Applicants wishing to hand deliver or use courier services for delivery should contact an RUS representative in advance to arrange for building access. If an applicant wishes to submit such materials, they should contact an RUS representative for additional information. After the grant application deadline has passed, USDA will send an electronic confirmation acknowledging that the application has been received by the RUS from Grants.gov. Grants.gov will not accept applications for filing after the deadline has passed. RUS will not accept applications directly over the Internet, by email, or fax. Applicants should be aware that Grants.gov requires that applicants complete several preliminary registrations and e-authentication requirements before being allowed to submit applications electronically. Applicants should consult the Grants.gov Web site and allow ample time to complete the steps required for registration before submitting their applications. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 Applicants may download application materials and complete forms online through Grants.gov without completing the registration requirements. Application materials prepared online may be printed and submitted in paper to RUS as detailed above. 11. Multiple Applications Eligible applicants must include only one project per application, but the project can include many locations. For high energy cost grants, no more than $3 million in grant funds will be awarded per project application. For bulk fuel revolving fund grants, no more than $1 million in grants will be awarded per project application. An applicant will only be awarded funding for one project under this NOFA. An applicant will not receive funding for numerous projects under this NOFA. VI. Application Review Information After the application closing date, RUS will not consider any unsolicited information from the applicant. The RUS may contact the applicant for additional information or to clarify statements in the application required to establish applicant or community eligibility and completeness. Only applications that are complete and meet the eligibility criteria will be considered. The RUS will not accept or solicit any additional information relating to the technical merits and feasibility of the grant proposal after the application closing date. If the RUS determines that an application package was not delivered to RUS or postmarked on or before the deadline of August 1, 2014, the application will be rejected as untimely. After review, the RUS will reject any application package that in its sole discretion is not complete or that does not demonstrate that the applicant, community or project is eligible under the requirements of this NOFA and applicable program regulations. Applicants will be notified in writing of RUS’s decision. Applicants may appeal the eligibility rejection pursuant to program regulations on appeals at 7 CFR 1709.6 for the high energy cost grant program. Applicants must appeal in writing to the RUS Administrator within 10 days after the applicant is notified of the determination to reject the application. The appeal must state the basis for the appeal. Appeals must be directed to the Administrator, Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., STOP 1500, Washington, DC 20250–1500. The Administrator will review the appeal to determine whether to sustain, reverse, PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 31293 or modify the original determination by the Assistant Administrator. The Administrator’s decision shall be final. A written copy of the Administrator’s decision will be furnished promptly to the applicant. The panel will evaluate and rate all complete applications that meet the eligibility requirements using the selection criteria and weights described in this NOFA. As part of the proposal review and ranking process, panel members may make comments and recommendations for appropriate conditions on grant awards to promote successful performance of the grant or to assure compliance with other Federal requirements. The decision to include panel recommendations on grant conditions in any grant award will be at the sole discretion of the RUS Administrator. All applications will be scored and ranked according to the evaluation and scoring criteria described in this Notice. The RUS will use the ratings and recommendations of the panel to rank applicants against other applicants. All applicants will be ranked according to their scores in this round. The rankings and recommendations will then be forwarded to the Administrator for final review and selection. Decisions on grant awards will be made by the RUS Administrator based on the application, and the rankings and recommendations of the rating panel. The Administrator will fund grant requests in rank order to the extent of available funds. If sufficient funds are not available to fund the next ranked project, the Administrator may, in his sole discretion, skip over that project to the next ranking project that can be fully funded with available funding. 1. Scoring Criteria The RUS will use the selection criteria described in this NOFA to evaluate and rate applications. Applications will be reviewed in two rounds, the first round determines eligibility and the second round scores the application. A. Determining Eligibility To determine if the project is eligible, RUS will look only at the three page document, Part B: Grant Eligibility, which is described in this NOFA and includes narrative on the Project, Applicant, and Community eligibility. No points will be awarded in this round of review. The application is only determined to be eligible or not eligible. Applicants that are determined to be ineligible will be notified and have 10 days to appeal the decision. E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 31294 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 105 / Monday, June 2, 2014 / Notices B. Scoring Eligible Applicants for the High Energy Cost Grant Program The total possible score is 100, and the applicant will be scored only on Part C: Grant Proposal as described in this NOFA. The following are the scored sections and their associated point totals: Points Executive Summary ............................................................................................................................................................................. Project Needs ...................................................................................................................................................................................... Project Description (Design) ................................................................................................................................................................ Project Goals and Objectives and Project Performance Measures .................................................................................................... Project Management ............................................................................................................................................................................ Management Plan and Schedule, (a subset of Project Management) ........................................................................................ Project Reporting Plan (a subset of Project Management) ......................................................................................................... Relevant Organizational Experience (a subset of Project Management) .................................................................................... Key Staff Experience (a subset of Project Management) ............................................................................................................ Regulatory and other approvals .......................................................................................................................................................... Rural Development Initiatives .............................................................................................................................................................. Proposed Project Budget ..................................................................................................................................................................... Supplementary Material ....................................................................................................................................................................... 0 15 20 10 25 10 5 5 5 0 20 10 0 Total ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 100 C. Scoring Eligible Applicants for the Bulk Fuel Revolving Fund Grant Program The total possible score is 100, and the applicant will be scored only on Part C: Grant Proposal as described in this NOFA. The following are the scored sections and their associated point totals: Points Executive Summary ............................................................................................................................................................................. Project Needs ...................................................................................................................................................................................... Project Description (Design) ................................................................................................................................................................ Project Goals and objectives and Project Performance Measures .................................................................................................... Project Management ............................................................................................................................................................................ Management Plan and Schedule, (a subset of Project Management) ........................................................................................ Project Reporting Plan (a subset of Project Management) ......................................................................................................... Relevant Organizational Experience (a subset of Project Management) .................................................................................... Rural development initiatives ............................................................................................................................................................... Proposed Project Budget ..................................................................................................................................................................... Supplementary Material ....................................................................................................................................................................... 0 15 20 10 25 10 5 10 20 10 0 Total .............................................................................................................................................................................................. 100 2. Review and Selection Process A. Score and Ranking of Applications Applications will be scored and ranked according to the evaluation criteria and weights referenced above by a panel. The scored and ranked applications and the raters’ comments will then be forwarded to the Administrator for review and selection of grant awards. sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES B. Selection of Grant Awards and Notification of Applicants The RUS Administrator will review the rankings and recommendations of the applications provided by the rating panel and consistent with the requirements of this NOFA. The Administrator may return any application to the rating panel with written instruction for reconsideration if, in his sole discretion, he finds that VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 the scoring of an application is inconsistent with this NOFA and the directions provided to the rating panel. Following any adjustments to the project in ranking, as a result of reconsideration, the Administrator will select projects for funding in rank order. If two projects from the same applicant score high enough to potentially receive funding, the Administrator will award funds to the higher of the two scoring projects. No applicant will receive more than one award. The Administrator may decide based on the recommendations of the rating panel or, in his sole discretion, that a grant award may be made contingent upon the applicant satisfying certain conditions. For example, RUS will not obligate funding for a selected project— such as projects requiring extensive environmental review and mitigation, preparation of detailed site specific PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 engineering studies and designs, or requiring local permitting, or availability of supplemental financing— until any additional conditions are satisfied. In the event that a selected applicant fails to comply with the conditions within the time set by RUS, the award will be terminated. The RUS will notify each applicant in writing whether or not it has been selected for an award. The RUS written notice to a successful applicant of the amount of the grant award based on the approved application will constitute RUS’s acceptance of a project for an award, subject to compliance with all post-award requirements including but not limited to completion of any environmental reviews and execution of a grant agreement satisfactory to the RUS. This acceptance does not bind the Government to making a final grant E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 105 / Monday, June 2, 2014 / Notices award. Only an agreement executed by the Administrator will constitute a binding obligation and commitment of Federal funds. Funds will not be awarded or disbursed until all requirements have been satisfied and are contingent on the continued availability of funds at the time of the award. The RUS will advise selected applicants of additional requirements or conditions. VII. Award Administration Information 1. Award Notices The RUS will notify all applicants in writing whether they have been selected for an award. Successful applicants will be advised in writing of their selection. Successful applicants will be required to execute an RUS grant agreement and complete additional grant forms and certifications required by USDA as part of the process. Depending on the nature of the activities proposed by the application, the grantee may be asked to provide information and certifications necessary for compliance with RUS’ Environmental Policies and Procedures at 7 CFR part 1794. Following completion of the environmental review process, selected applicants will receive a letter articulating the grant agreement and asked to execute a letter of intent to meet the grant conditions. Grant funds will not be advanced unless and until the applicant has executed a grant agreement and funds will not be advanced until all conditions have been satisfied in a manner satisfactory to RUS. sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements A. Environmental Review and Restriction on Certain Activities Grant awardees will be required to submit the appropriate environmental review documentation, as outlined in the environmental report and any other following environmental impact analyses required by RUS Environmental Policies and Procedures. (7 CFR Part 1794) Grantees must also agree to comply with any other Federal or State environmental laws and regulations applicable to the grant project. In accordance with § 1794.15, applicants are restricted from taking actions that may have an adverse environmental impact or limit the choice of alternatives being considered until the environmental review process is concluded. If an applicant takes such actions, RUS will not advance or award grant funds. If the proposed grant project involves physical development VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 activities or property acquisition, the applicant is generally prohibited from acquiring, rehabilitating, converting, leasing, repairing or constructing property or facilities, or committing or expending RUS or non-RUS funds for proposed grant activities until the RUS has completed any environmental review in accordance with 7 CFR part 1794 or determined that no environmental review is required. Successful applicants will be advised whether additional environmental review requirements apply to their proposals. B. Other Federal Requirements Other Federal statutes and regulations apply to grant applications and to grant awards. These include, but are not limited to, requirements under 7 CFR part 15, subpart A—Nondiscrimination in Federally Assisted Programs of the Department of Agriculture—Effectuation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Certain Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars also apply to USDA grant programs and must be followed by a grantee under this program. The policies, guidance, and requirements of the following, or their successors, may apply to the award, acceptance and use of assistance under this program and to the remedies for noncompliance, except when inconsistent with the provisions of the Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies’ Appropriations Acts, other Federal statutes or the provisions of this NOFA: • OMB Circular No. A–87 (Cost Principles Applicable to Grants, Contracts and Other Agreements with State and Local Governments); • OMB Circular A–21 (Cost Principles for Education Institutions); • OMB Circular No. A–122 (Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations); • OMB Circular A–133 (Audits of States, Local Governments, and NonProfit Organizations); • 7 CFR part 3015 (Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations); • 7 CFR part 3016 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State, Local, and Federally recognized Indian Tribal governments); • 2 CFR part 417 (Government-wide debarment and suspension (nonprocurement)); • 2 CFR part 421 (Government-wide requirements for drug-free workplace (grants)); • 7 CFR part 3018 (New restrictions on Lobbying); • 7 CFR part 3019 (Uniform administrative requirements for grants PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 31295 and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-Profit Organizations); and • 7 CFR part 3052 (Audits of States, local governments, and non-profit organizations). Compliance with additional OMB Circulars or government-wide regulations may be specified in the grant agreement. 3. Reporting The grantee will be required to provide periodic financial and performance reports under USDA grant regulations and program rules and to submit a final project performance report. The nature and frequency of required reports is established in USDA grant regulations and the projectspecific grant agreements. The applicant must have the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the reporting requirements for first-tier sub-awards and executive compensation under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 in the event the applicant receives funding unless such applicant is exempt from such reporting requirements pursuant to 2 CFR part 170, § 170.110(b). The reporting requirements under the Transparency Act pursuant to 2 CFR part 170 are as follows: a. First Tier Sub-Awards of $25,000 or more in non-Recovery Act funds (unless they are exempt under 2 CFR part 170) must be reported by the Recipient to https://www.fsrs.gov no later than the end of the month following the month the obligation was made. Please note that currently underway is a consolidation of eight federal procurement systems, including the Sub-award Reporting System (FSRS), into one system, the System for Award Management (SAM). As a result, the FSRS will soon be consolidated into and accessed through https://www.sam.gov/ portal/public/SAM/. b. The Total Compensation of the Recipient’s Executives (5 most highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Recipient (if the Recipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR part 170) to https://www.sam.gov/ portal/public/SAM/ by the end of the month following the month in which the award was made. C. Total Compensation of the Subrecipient’s Executives The Total Compensation of the Subrecipient’s Executives (5 most highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Subrecipient (if the Subrecipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR Part 170) to the Recipient by the E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 31296 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 105 / Monday, June 2, 2014 / Notices end of the month following the month in which the subaward was made. VIII. Agency Contacts The RUS Contact for this grant announcement is Kristi Kubista-Hovis, Senior Policy Advisor, Rural Utilities Service, Electric Programs, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1560, Room 5165 South Building, Washington, DC 20250–1560. Telephone (202) 720–9545, Fax (202) 690–0717, email Kristi.Kubista-Hovis@ wdc.usda.gov. Dated: May 1, 2014. John C. Padalino, Administrator, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2014–12690 Filed 5–30–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Gulf of Alaska Ecosystem Indicator Selection National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce. ACTION: Notice. sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before August 1, 2014. ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at JJessup@doc.gov). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Stephani Zador, (206) 526– 4693) or stephani.zador@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract This request is for a new information collection. The goal of this project is to select a short (8–10) list of ecosystem indicators for the Gulf of Alaska that will form the VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:59 May 30, 2014 Jkt 232001 basis of a Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Report Card and Ecosystem Assessment to include in the NOAA’s Ecosystem Considerations report. This report is produced annually as part of the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation report for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. The format of the new GOA Report Card and Ecosystem Assessment will be similar to those that have been produced in recent years for the eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. The primary recipients, considered to be the stakeholders, of the Report Card and Ecosystem Assessment are those involved with the fishery quota-setting process for the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council. This includes the Science and Statistical Committee and the regional Plan Teams, which of are composed of mainly federal and state scientists, academics, and other individuals. Additional recipients include the Advisory Panel, Council, and stock assessment scientists. The Report Card and Ecosystem Assessment are also made available to the public. For the purposes of this project, ecosystem indicators are defined as time-series of data that measure some component of the ecosystem. Hundreds of indicators are available for the GOA, which is defined as the Canadian-US boundary at Dixon Entrance to the east and False Pass to the west. During a workshop in 2010, a group of largely scientists and some fisheries managers with expertise in the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem selected 10 indicators to best represent trends in productivity in the eastern Bering Sea. In 2011, a more diverse group including a commercial fisherman and conservation nongovernmental organization representative met in a similar workshop format to select 8 ecosystem indicators for the Aleutian Islands that best characterized trends in variability throughout the ecosystem. For the GOA, we hope to increase the group size and diversity in GOA expertise of the participants in the indicator selection process by soliciting information individually via an online survey. The main objective of the survey is to have participants rank the importance of ecosystem indicators among lists of indicators that are presented; the surveys will then be compiled to generate a list of top indicators. We have developed a non-exhaustive list of about 75 ecosystem indicators that are grouped by categories based on ecosystem components, such as forage fish or seabirds. Participants will be asked to select the top three within each category, then the top ten among all categories. Space is provided for PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 suggestions of additional indicators not included. We will use these rankings to form the basis of a new GOA report card and ecosystem assessment. We hope that by surveying a greater number of individuals than were involved with indicator selection for the eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, the survey results will reflect broader expertise and an ‘equal voice’ from all participants. The GOA is characterized by topographical complexity, including: Islands; deep sea mounts; continental shelf interrupted by large gullies; and varied and massive coastline features such as the Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound, Copper River, and Cross Sound, which bring both freshwater and nutrients into the GOA. The topographical complexity leads to ecological complexity, such that species richness and diversity differ from the western to eastern GOA. Thus, local effects of ecosystem drivers may swamp basin-wide signals. With this in mind, we hope to create a short list of ecosystem indicators that best reflect the complexity of the GOA. II. Method of Collection Respondents will be asked to fill out an online survey. III. Data OMB Control Number: 0648-xxxx. Form Number: None. Type of Review: Regular submission (request for a new information collection). Affected Public: Individuals or households; non-profit institutions; State, local, or tribal government; business or other for-profit organizations. Estimated Number of Respondents: 100. Estimated Time Per Response: 30 minutes. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 50. Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0 in recordkeeping/reporting costs. IV. Request for Comments Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 105 (Monday, June 2, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31283-31296]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-12690]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service


Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels 
for the Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural Communities and Bulk Fuel 
Grants

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).

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SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United 
States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces the availability of 
up to $7 million in fiscal year 2014 (FY14) for competitive grants to 
assist communities with extremely high energy costs and, up to $1 
million in FY14 for competitive grants to state entities to establish 
and support a revolving fund to provide a more cost-effective means of 
purchasing fuel where the fuel cannot be shipped by means of surface 
transportation. The grant funds to assist communities with extremely 
high energy costs may be used to acquire, construct, extend, upgrade, 
or otherwise improve energy generation, transmission, or distribution 
facilities serving communities in which the average residential 
expenditure for home energy exceeds 275 percent of the national 
average. The grant funds used to establish and support a revolving fund 
must be used to facilitate cost effective fuel purchases for persons, 
communities, and businesses in eligible areas. This notice describes 
the eligibility and application requirements, the criteria that will be 
used by RUS to award funding, and information on how to obtain 
application materials.

DATES: You may submit completed grant applications on paper or 
electronically according to the following deadlines:
     Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, 
or sent overnight, no later than August 1, 2014, or hand delivered to 
RUS by this deadline, to be eligible under this NOFA. Late or 
incomplete applications will not be eligible for FY 2014 grant funding.
     Electronic applications must be submitted through 
Grants.gov no later than midnight August 1, 2014 to be eligible under 
this NOFA for FY 2014 grant funding. Late or incomplete electronic 
applications will not be eligible.
     Applications will not be accepted by electronic mail.
    Applications will be accepted upon publication of this notice until 
midnight (EST) of the closing date of August 1, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit completed applications for grants on paper or 
electronically to the following addresses:
     Paper applications are to be submitted to the Rural 
Utilities Service, Electric Programs, United States Department of 
Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1560, Room 5165 South 
Building, Washington, DC 20250-1560. Applications should be marked 
``Attention: High Energy Cost Grant Program'' or ``Attention: Bulk Fuel 
Grant Program.''
     Applications may be submitted electronically through 
Grants.gov. Information on how to submit applications electronically is 
available on the Grants.gov Web site at https://www.Grants.gov.
    Application Guides and materials may be obtained electronically 
through: https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UEP_Our_Grant_Programs.html. 
Call the RUS Electric Programs at (202) 720-9545 to request paper 
copies of Application Guides and other materials.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristi Kubista-Hovis, Senior Policy 
Advisor, Rural Utilities Service, Electric Programs, United States 
Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1560, 
Room 5165 South Building, Washington, DC 20250-1560. Telephone (202) 
720-9545, Fax (202) 690-0717, email Kristi.kubista-hovis@wdc.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Overview Information

    Federal Agency Name: United States Department of Agriculture, Rural 
Utilities Service.

[[Page 31284]]

    Funding Opportunity Title: Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural 
Communities and the Bulk Fuel Grant Program.
    Announcement Type: Initial announcement.
    Funding Opportunity Number: RD- RUS-HECG12.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.859. The 
CFDA title for this program is ``Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural 
Communities.''
    Dates: Applications must be postmarked and mailed or shipped, or 
hand delivered to the RUS, or filed with Grants.gov by August 1, 2014.

Items in Supplementary Information

    I. Funding Opportunity Description: Brief introduction and 
definitions.
    II. Award Information: Projected available funding.
    III. Eligibility Information: Who is eligible, and what kinds of 
projects are eligible, what criteria determine basic eligibility.
    IV. SUTA: The applicant needs to notify RUS that it is seeking 
consideration under the 7 CFR 1700, Substantially Underserved Trust 
Areas (the SUTA regulation) and identify the discretionary 
authorities of the Secretary of Agriculture described in the SUTA 
regulation that it seeks to have applied to its application.
    V. Application and Submission Information: Where to get 
application materials, what constitutes a completed application, how 
and where to submit applications, deadlines, and items that are 
eligible.
    VI. Application Review Information: Considerations and 
preferences, scoring criteria, review standards, and selection 
information.
    VII. Award Administration Information: Award notice information, 
award recipient and reporting requirements.
    VIII. Agency Contacts: Web, phone, fax, email, contact name.

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is seeking applications for 
competitive grants under section 19 of the Rural Electrification Act of 
1936 (the ``RE Act'') (7 U.S.C. 918a).
    This NOFA announces the availability of FY14 grant funds, and 
provides an overview of the grant programs, the eligibility and 
application requirements, and selection criteria for grant proposals. 
This NOFA specifies the high energy cost and bulk fuel eligibility 
benchmarks and scoring criteria for FY14 grants. RUS is also making 
available an Application Guide with more detailed information on 
application requirements and copies of all required forms and 
certifications. The Application Guide is available on the Internet from 
the RUS Web site at: https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UEP_Our_Grant_Programs.html. The Application Guide may also be requested from the 
contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this 
notice. For additional information, applicants should consult the 
program regulations at 7 CFR part 1709.

Definitions

    Consult the program regulations at 7 CFR part 1709 and the 
Application Guide for additional definitions used in this program. As 
used in this NOFA:
    Agency means the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the United States 
Department of Agriculture.
    Application Guide means the Application Guide prepared by RUS for 
the high energy cost grant program or bulk fuel grant program 
containing detailed instructions for preparing grant applications, and 
copies of required forms, questionnaires, and model certifications.
    Area means the geographic area to be served by the grant.
    Bulk Fuel Eligible area means any area where fuel cannot be shipped 
routinely by means of surface transportation and must be delivered by 
water or air for a significant part of the year. Eligible areas include 
areas where fuel delivery by means of surface transportation is not 
practical or is prohibitively expensive and the area is primarily 
dependent on delivery of fuel by water or air.
    Community means the unit or units of local government in which the 
area is located.
    Extremely high energy costs means community average residential 
energy costs that meet or exceed one or more home energy cost 
benchmarks established by the Administrator at 275 percent of the 
national average residential energy expenditures as reported by the 
Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the United States Department 
of Energy.
    Fuel means coal, oil, gasoline, and other petroleum products, and 
any other material that can be burned to make energy.
    Home energy means any energy source or fuel used by a household for 
purposes other than transportation, including electricity, natural gas, 
fuel oil, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas (propane), other petroleum 
products, wood and other biomass fuels, coal, wind, and solar energy. 
Fuels used for subsistence activities in remote rural areas are also 
included.
    High energy cost benchmarks means the criteria established by the 
Administrator for eligibility as an extremely high energy cost 
community. Home energy cost benchmarks are calculated for total annual 
household energy expenditures; total annual expenditures for individual 
fuels; annual average per unit energy costs for primary home energy 
sources and are set at 275 percent of the relevant national average 
household energy expenditures.
    Indian Tribe means a Federally recognized Tribe as defined under 
section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act 
(25 U.S.C. 450b) to include ``* * * any Indian Tribe, band, nation, or 
other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village 
or regional or village corporation as defined in or established 
pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act [43 U.S.C. 1601 et 
seq.], that is recognized as eligible for the special programs and 
services provided by the United States to Indians because of their 
status as Indians.''
    Person means any natural person, firm, corporation, association, or 
other legal entity, and includes Indian Tribes and Tribal entities.
    Primary home energy source means the energy source that is used for 
space heating or cooling, water heating, cooking, and lighting. A 
household or community may have more than one primary home energy 
source.
    RE Act means the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as amended.
    State entity means an agency, department, or instrumentality, or 
political subdivision of any of the several States of the United States 
or the District of Columbia, exclusive of local governments.
    State rural development initiative means a rural economic 
development program funded by or carried out in cooperation with a 
State agency or Indian Tribe.
    Surface transportation means transportation by road, rail, or 
pipeline.
    Tribal entity means a legal entity that is owned, controlled, 
sanctioned, or chartered by the recognized governing body of an Indian 
Tribe.

II. Award Information

    The total amount of funds available for high energy cost grants in 
FY14 under this notice is $7 million. The maximum amount of grant 
assistance that will be awarded for funding in a grant application 
under this notice is $3,000,000. The minimum amount of assistance for a 
grant application under this program is $50,000. The number of grants 
awarded under this NOFA will depend on the number of complete 
applications submitted, the amount of grant funds requested, the 
quality and competitiveness of applications submitted, and the 
availability of funds.

[[Page 31285]]

Applicants are limited to one award in FY14. No funding is available 
for education and outreach.
    The total amount of funds available for the bulk fuel revolving 
fund grants is $1 million. The maximum amount of grant assistance that 
will be awarded for funding in a grant application under this notice is 
$1 million. The minimum amount of assistance for a grant application 
under this program is $50,000. The number of grants awarded under this 
NOFA will depend on the number of complete applications submitted, the 
amount of grant funds requested, the quality and competitiveness of 
applications submitted, and the availability of funds. Applicants are 
limited to one award in FY14.
    The award period and period of performance will be from 1-3 years. 
Grant agreements will not be negotiated.
    Applicants must provide a narrative grant proposal prepared 
according to the instructions in this NOFA and application guide, along 
with all required forms and information in order to submit a complete 
application.
    All prior applicants must resubmit a new application to be 
considered for funding under this NOFA. There will be no exceptions.
    All timely submitted and complete applications will be reviewed for 
eligibility and rated according to the criteria described in this NOFA. 
Applications will be ranked in order of their numerical scores on the 
rating criteria and forwarded to the RUS Administrator. The RUS 
Administrator is the federal selection official of the competitive 
awards. The Administrator will review the rankings and the 
recommendations of the rating panel. The Administrator will then fund 
grant applications in rank order to the extent of available funds.
    The RUS reserves the right not to award all the funds made 
available under this notice. RUS anticipates making multiple awards. 
Applicants should take proper care in preparing the project's scope and 
cost estimate. The proposed scope and cost will not be negotiated.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants for High Energy Cost Grants

    Under Section 19 eligible applicants include ``persons, States, 
political subdivisions of States, and other entities organized under 
the laws of States'' (7 U.S.C. 918a). Under section 13 of the RE Act, 
the term person means ``any natural person, firm, corporation, or 
association'' (7 U.S.C. 913). Examples of eligible business applicants 
include: For-profit and non-profit business entities, including but not 
limited to corporations, associations, partnerships, limited liability 
partnerships (LLPs), cooperatives, trusts, and sole proprietorships. 
Eligible government applicants include State and local governments, 
counties, cities, towns, boroughs, or other agencies or units organized 
under the laws of States. Indian Tribes, other Tribal entities and 
Alaska Native Corporations are also eligible applicants.
    An individual is an eligible applicant under this program; however, 
the proposed grant project must provide community benefits and not be 
for the sole benefit of an individual applicant or an individual 
household or business.
    All applicants must demonstrate the legal capacity of the applicant 
to execute a binding grant agreement with the federal government at the 
time of the award and to carry out the proposed grant funded project 
according to its terms.
    Corporations that have been convicted of a felony (or had an 
officer or agency acting on behalf of the corporation convicted of a 
felony) within the past 24 months are not eligible. Any Corporation 
that has any unpaid federal tax liability that has been assessed, for 
which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or 
have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to 
an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax 
liability, is not eligible.

2. Eligible Applicants for Bulk Fuel Revolving Fund Grants

    Section 19 of the RE Act restricts eligible applicants to State 
entities, as defined above, in existence as of November 9, 2000. A 
state grant recipient may partner with other entities, including other 
government agencies in carrying out the programs funded under these 
grants.

3. Requirements for Both Grant Applications

    All applicants for federal grants with the exception of individuals 
other than sole proprietorships must provide a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) 
Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number when applying. Consistent 
with this Federal policy directive, any organization or sole 
proprietorship that applies for a high energy cost grant must use its 
DUNS number on the application and in the field provided on the revised 
Standard Form 424 (SF 424) ``Application for Federal Assistance'' to be 
eligible to apply. DUNS numbers are available for free to Federal Grant 
applicants on line at https://fedgov.dnb.com/webform or may be obtained 
through a short phone call to D&B. Please see the ``Get Registered'' 
section on Grants.gov for more information on how to obtain a DUNS 
number or how to verify if your organization already has a DUNS number. 
If you already have obtained a DUNS number in connection with the 
Federal acquisition process, or requested or had one assigned to you 
for another purpose, you should use that number on all of your 
applications. It is not necessary to request another DUNS number from 
D&B.
    Applicants, whether applying electronically or by paper, must be 
registered in System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly the Central 
Contractor Registry (CCR)) prior to submitting an application. 
Applicants may register for the SAM at https://www.sam.gov/. Completing 
the SAM registration process takes up to five business days, and 
applicants are strongly encouraged to begin the process well in advance 
of the deadline specified in this notice.
    The SAM registration must remain active with current information at 
all times while RUS is considering an application or while a Federal 
Grant Award or loan is active. To maintain the registration in the SAM 
database the applicant must review and update the information in the 
SAM database annually from date of initial registration or from the 
date of the last update. The applicant must ensure that the information 
in the database is current, accurate, and complete.

4. Cost Sharing and Matching

    No cost sharing or matching funds are required as a condition of 
eligibility under this grant program. However, the RUS will consider 
other financial resources available to the grant applicant and any 
voluntary pledge of matching funds or other contributions in assessing 
the applicant's commitment and capacity to complete the proposed 
project successfully, including such contributions, adding additional 
points to their score. If a successful applicant proposes to use 
matching funds or other cost contributions in its project, the grant 
agreement will include conditions requiring documentation of the 
availability of the matching funds and actual expenditure of matching 
funds or cost contributions. RUS may require the applicant to provide 
additional documentation confirming the availability of any matching 
contribution offered prior to approval of project selection. If an 
applicant fails to

[[Page 31286]]

provide timely documentation of the availability of matching 
contributions, the RUS may, in its sole discretion, decline to award 
the project if uncertainties over availability of the match render the 
project financially unfeasible and impose additional conditions.

5. Other Eligibility Requirements

A. Eligible Projects for High Energy Cost Grant Applications
    Grantees must use grant funds for eligible grant purposes. Grant 
funds may be used to acquire, construct, extend, upgrade, or otherwise 
improve energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities 
serving eligible communities. All energy generation, transmission, and 
distribution facilities and equipment, used to provide electricity, 
natural gas, home heating fuels, and other energy service to eligible 
communities are eligible. Projects providing or improving energy 
services to eligible communities through on-grid and off-grid renewable 
energy projects, energy efficiency, and energy conservation projects 
are eligible. A grant project is eligible if it improves, or maintains 
energy services, or reduces the costs of providing energy services to 
eligible communities. Grant funds may not be used to pay utility bills 
or to purchase fuels. Funds may cover up to the full costs of any 
eligible projects subject to the statutory condition that no more than 
4 percent of grant funds may be used for the planning and 
administrative expenses of the grantee. The program regulations at 7 
CFR part 1709 provide more detail on allowable use of grant funds, 
limitations on grant funds, and ineligible grant purposes. The project 
must serve communities that meet the extremely high energy cost 
eligibility requirements described in this NOFA. The applicant must 
demonstrate that the proposed project will benefit the eligible 
communities. Projects that primarily benefit a single household or 
business are not eligible. Additional information and examples of 
eligible project activities are contained in the Application Guide.
    Grant funds cannot be used for: (1) Preparation of the grant 
application; (2) Fuel purchases, routine maintenance or other operating 
costs; and (3) Purchase of equipment, structures, or real estate not 
directly associated with provision of residential energy services. In 
general, grant funds may not be used to support projects that primarily 
benefit areas outside of eligible communities. However, grant funds may 
be used to finance an eligible community's proportionate share of a 
larger energy project. Grant funds may not be used to refinance or 
repay the applicant's outstanding loans or loan guarantees under the RE 
Act.
    Each grant applicant must demonstrate the economic and technical 
feasibility of its proposed project. Activities or equipment that would 
commonly be considered as research and development activities, or 
commercial demonstration projects for new energy technologies will not 
be considered as technologically feasible projects and would, thus, be 
ineligible grant purposes. However, grant funds may be used for 
projects that involve the innovative use or adaptation of energy-
related technologies that have been commercially proven. RUS, in its 
sole discretion, will determine if a project relies on unproven 
technology, and that determination shall be final.
B. Eligible Projects for Bulk Fuel Revolving Fund Grant Program
    Grant funds can only be used to establish and support a revolving 
loan fund that facilitates cost effective fuel purchases for persons, 
communities, and businesses in Bulk Fuel Eligible areas. Where a 
recipient State entity's existing program is authorized to fund 
multiple purposes, grant funds may only be used to the extent the 
recipient funds eligible activities.
C. Eligible Communities for High Energy Cost Grants
    The grant project must benefit communities with extremely high 
energy costs. The RE Act defines an extremely high energy cost 
community as one in which ``the average residential expenditure for 
home energy is at least 275 percent of the national average residential 
expenditure for home energy'' 7 U.S.C. 918a. The benchmarks are set 
based on the latest available information from the Energy Information 
Administration (EIA) residential energy surveys.
    The statutory requirement that community residential expenditures 
for home energy exceed 275 percent of the national average establishes 
a very high threshold for eligibility under this program. RUS has 
calculated high energy cost benchmarks based on the most recent EIA 
national average home energy expenditure data. The current benchmarks 
are shown in Table 1. Applicants must demonstrate that proposed 
communities must meet one or more high energy cost benchmarks to 
qualify as an eligible beneficiary of a grant under this program. All 
applications must meet these current eligibility benchmarks for high 
energy. Based on available published information on residential energy 
costs, RUS anticipates that only those communities with the highest 
energy costs across the country will qualify.
    The EIA's Residential Energy Consumption and Expenditure Surveys 
(RECS) and reports provide the baseline national average household 
energy costs that were used for establishing extremely high energy cost 
community eligibility criteria for this grant program. The RECS data 
base and reports provide national and regional information on 
residential energy use, expenditures, and housing characteristics. EIA 
published its latest available RECS home energy expenditure survey 
results in 2012. These estimates of home energy usage and expenditures 
are based on national surveys conducted in 2009 survey data and are 
shown in Table 1 as follows:

   Table 1--National Average Annual Household Energy Expenditures and
     Extremely High Energy Cost Eligibility Benchmarks Effective for
             Applications Submitted on or after June 2, 2014
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           RUS extremely
                                             EIA 2009       high energy
                                             national     cost benchmark
                  Fuel                    annual average      275% of
                                             household       national
                                          expenditure ($  average ($ per
                                             per year)         year)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  AVERAGE ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Electricity.............................           1,340           3,685
Natural Gas.............................             804           2,211

[[Page 31287]]

 
Fuel Oil................................           1,338           3,680
LPG/Propane.............................             972           2,673
Total Household Energy Use..............           2,024           5,566
------------------------------------------------------------------------


 
                                                           RUS extremely
                                             EIA 2009       high energy
                                             national     cost benchmark
              Fuel (units)                 average unit       275% of
                                            cost ($ per      national
                                               unit)      average ($ per
                                                               unit)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
            ANNUAL AVERAGE PER UNIT RESIDENTIAL ENERGY COSTS
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Electricity (Kilowatt hours)............             .12             .33
Natural Gas (thousand cubic feet).......           12.18           33.50
Fuel Oil (gallons)......................            2.42            6.68
LPG/Propane (gallons)...................            2.09            5.76
Kerosene (gallons)......................            2.72            7.49
Total Household Energy (million Btus)...           22.59           62.12
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sources: Energy Information Administration, United States Department of
  Energy, 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey Data--Detailed
  Tables, available at: https://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/data/2009/ 2009/.

    Extremely high energy costs in rural and remote communities 
typically result from a combination of factors including high energy 
consumption, high per unit energy costs, limited availability of energy 
sources, extreme climate conditions, and housing characteristics. The 
relative impacts of these conditions exhibit regional and seasonal 
diversity. Market factors have created an additional complication in 
recent years as the prices of the major commercial residential energy 
sources--electricity, fuel oil, natural gas, and LPG/propane-- have 
fluctuated dramatically in some areas.
    The applicant must demonstrate that each community in the grant 
project's proposed area exceeds one or more of these high energy cost 
benchmarks to be eligible for a grant under this program.
    i. High Energy Cost Benchmarks. The benchmarks measure extremely 
high energy costs for residential consumers. These benchmarks were 
calculated using EIA's estimates of national average residential energy 
expenditures per household and by primary home energy source. The 
benchmarks recognize the diverse factors that contribute to extremely 
high home energy costs in rural communities. The benchmarks allow 
extremely high energy cost communities several alternatives for 
demonstrating eligibility. Communities may qualify based on: Total 
annual household energy expenditures; total annual expenditures for 
commercially-supplied primary home energy sources, i.e., electricity, 
natural gas, oil, or propane; or average annual per unit home energy 
costs. By providing alternative measures for demonstrating eligibility, 
the benchmarks reduce the burden on potential applicants created by the 
limited public availability of comprehensive data on local community 
energy consumption and expenditures.
    A community or area will qualify as an extremely high cost energy 
community if it meets one or more of the energy cost eligibility 
benchmarks described below.
    a. Extremely High Average Annual Household Expenditure for Home 
Energy. The area or community exceeds one or more of the following:
     Average annual residential electricity expenditure of 
$3,685 per household;
     Average annual residential natural gas expenditure of 
$2,211 per household;
     Average annual residential expenditure on fuel oil of 
$3,680 per household;
     Average annual residential expenditure on propane or 
liquified petroleum gas (LPG) as a primary home energy source of $2,673 
per household; or
     Average annual residential energy expenditure (for all 
non-transportation uses) of $5,566 per household.
    b. Extremely High Average per unit energy costs. The average 
residential per unit cost for major commercial energy sources in the 
area or community exceeds one or more of the following:
     Annual average cost per kilowatt hour for residential 
electricity customers of $0.33 per kilowatt hour (kWh);
     Annual average residential natural gas price of $33.50 per 
thousand cubic feet;
     Annual average residential fuel oil price of $6.68 per 
gallon;
     Annual average residential price of propane or LPG as a 
primary home energy source of $5.76 per gallon;
     Annual average residential price of Kerosene as a primary 
home energy source of $7.49 per gallon or
     Total annual average residential energy cost on a Btu 
basis of $62.12 per million Btu.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Note: Btu is the abbreviation for British thermal unit, a 
standard energy measure. A Btu is the quantity of heat needed to 
raise the temperature of one pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit at 
or near 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ii. Supporting Energy Cost Data. The applicant must include 
information that demonstrates its eligibility under RUS's high energy 
cost benchmarks for the communities and areas. The applicant must 
supply documentation or references for its sources for actual or

[[Page 31288]]

estimated home energy expenditures or equivalent measures to support 
eligibility. Generally, the applicant will be expected to use 
historical residential energy cost or expenditure information for the 
local energy provider serving the community or area to determine 
eligibility. Other potential sources of home energy related information 
include Federal and State agencies, local community energy providers 
such as electric and natural gas utilities and fuel dealers, and 
commercial publications. The Application Guide includes a list of EIA 
resources on residential energy consumption and costs that may be of 
assistance.
    The grant applicant must establish eligibility for each community 
in the project's area. To determine eligibility, the applicant must 
identify each community included in whole or in part within the areas 
and provide supporting actual or estimated energy expenditure data for 
each community. The smallest area that may be designated as an area is 
a 2010 Census block. This minimum size is necessary to enable a 
determination of population size.
    Potential applicants can compare the benchmark criteria to 
available information about local energy use and costs to determine 
their eligibility. Applicants should demonstrate their eligibility 
using historical energy use and cost information. Where such 
information is unavailable or does not adequately reflect the actual 
costs of supporting average home energy use in a local community, RUS 
will consider estimated commercial energy costs. The Application Guide 
includes examples of circumstances where estimated energy costs are 
used.
    EIA does not collect or maintain data on home energy expenditures 
in sufficient detail to identify specific rural localities as extremely 
high energy cost communities. Therefore, grant applicants will have to 
provide information on local community energy costs from other sources 
to support their applications.
    In many instances, historical community energy cost information can 
be obtained from a variety of public sources or from local utilities 
and other energy providers. For example, EIA publishes monthly and 
annual reports of residential prices by State and by service area for 
electric utilities and larger natural gas distribution companies. 
Average residential fuel oil and propane prices are reported regionally 
and for major cities by government and private publications. Many State 
agencies also compile and publish information on residential energy 
costs to support State programs.
    iii. Use of Estimated Home Energy Costs. Where historical community 
energy cost data are incomplete or lacking or where community-wide data 
does not accurately reflect the costs of providing home energy services 
in the area, the applicant may substitute estimates based on 
engineering standards. The estimates should use available community, 
local, or regional data on energy expenditures, consumption, housing 
characteristics and population. Estimates are also appropriate where 
the area does not presently have centralized commercial energy services 
at a level that is comparable to other residential customers in the 
State or region. For example, local commercial energy cost information 
may not be available where the area is without local electric service 
because of the high costs of connection. Engineering cost estimates 
reflecting the incremental costs of extending service could reasonably 
be used to establish eligibility for areas without grid-connected 
electric service. Estimates also may be appropriate where historical 
energy costs do not reflect the cost of providing a necessary upgrade 
or replacement of energy infrastructure to maintain or extend service 
that would raise costs above one or more benchmarks. Information to 
support high energy cost eligibility is subject to independent review 
by RUS. Applications that contain information that is not reasonably 
based on credible sources of information and sound estimates will be 
rejected. Where appropriate, RUS may consult standard sources to 
confirm the reasonableness of information and estimates provided by an 
applicant in determining eligibility, technical feasibility, and 
adequacy of proposed budget estimates.
D. Limitations on Grant Awards
    i. Statutory Limitation on Planning and Administrative Expenses for 
both Grants. Section 19 of the RE Act provides that no more than 4 
percent of the grant funds for any project may be used for planning and 
administrative expenses of the grantee.
    ii. Ineligible Grant Purposes for High Energy Cost Grants. Grant 
funds cannot be used for: Preparation of the grant application, fuel 
purchases, routine maintenance or other operating costs, and purchase 
of equipment, structures, or real estate not directly associated with 
provision of residential energy services. In general, grant funds may 
not be used to support projects that primarily benefit areas outside of 
eligible communities. However, grant funds may be used to finance an 
eligible community's proportionate share of a larger energy project.
    Consistent with USDA policy and program regulations, grant funds 
awarded under this program generally cannot be used to replace other 
USDA assistance or to refinance or repay outstanding loans under the RE 
Act. Grant funds may, however, be used in combination with other USDA 
assistance programs including electric loans. Grants may be applied 
toward grantee contributions under other USDA programs depending on the 
specific terms of those programs. For example, an applicant may propose 
to use grant funds to offset the costs of electric system improvements 
in extremely high cost areas by increasing the utility's contribution 
for line extensions or system expansions to its distribution system 
financed in whole or part by an electric loan under the RE Act. An 
applicant may propose to finance a portion of an energy project for an 
extremely high energy cost community through this grant program and 
secure the remaining project costs through a loan or loan guarantee 
from RUS or other grant sources. The determination of whether a project 
will be completed in this manner will be made solely by the 
Administrator.
    iii. Maximum and Minimum Awards. For High Energy Cost Grants, the 
maximum amount of grant assistance that will be considered for funding 
per grant application under this notice is $3,000,000. The minimum 
amount of assistance for a competitive grant application under this 
program is $50,000.
    For bulk fuel revolving fund grants, the maximum amount of grant 
assistance that will be considered for funding per grant application 
under this notice is $1 million. The minimum amount of assistance for a 
competitive grant application under this program is $50,000.

IV. SUTA

    The 2008 Farm Bill (Pub. L. 110-246, codified at 7 U.S.C. 906f), 
authorizes the Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) provisions, 
as implemented by RUS as regulation 7 CFR 1700, Substantially 
Underserved Trust Areas (the SUTA regulation). Under the SUTA 
regulation, the applicant may request the Agency apply one or more SUTA 
provisions to its application. To receive consideration the applicant 
needs to submit to RUS a completed application in compliance with 7 CFR 
1709, and include a section requesting consideration under the SUTA 
regulation. This section notifies RUS that the applicant is seeking

[[Page 31289]]

consideration under the SUTA regulation and identifies the 
discretionary authorities the Secretary of Agriculture described in the 
SUTA regulation--that it seeks to have applied to its application. In 
this section the applicant must include the information demonstrating 
eligibility for consideration under the SUTA regulation, and an 
explanation and documentation of the high need for the HECG or bulk 
fuel revolving fund benefits. RUS will review the application to 
determine whether the applicant is eligible to receive consideration 
under SUTA. RUS will notify the applicant in writing whether (1) the 
application is eligible to receive consideration under this subpart and 
if one or more SUTA requests are granted; or (2) the application is not 
eligible to receive further consideration under the SUTA regulation. If 
the SUTA request is not granted, the applicant may withdraw its 
application or, if the application is still eligible without SUTA 
consideration, request that RUS treat its application as an ordinary 
application for processing. For more detailed guidance on how to apply 
for a grant under SUTA, please refer to the FY 2014 Application Guide 
available at https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UEP_Our_Grant_Programs.html.

V. Application and Submission Information

    All applications must be prepared and submitted in compliance with 
this NOFA and the Application Guide. The Application Guide contains 
additional information on the grant programs, sources of information 
for use in preparing applications, examples of eligible projects, and 
copies of the required application forms.

1. Address To Request an Application Package

    Applications materials and the Application Guide are available for 
download through https://www.Grants.gov (under CFDA No. 10.859) and on 
the Electric Programs Web site at: https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UEP_Our_Grant_Programs.html.
    Application packages, including required forms, may be also be 
requested from: Kristi Kubista-Hovis, Senior Policy Advisor, United 
States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Utilities Programs, 
Electric Program, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1560, Room 5165 
South Building, Washington, DC 20250- 1560. Telephone (202) 720-9545, 
Fax (202) 690-0717, email kristi.kubista-hovis@wdc.usda.gov.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

    Applicants must follow the directions in this notice and the 
Application Guide in preparing their applications and narrative 
proposals. The completed application package should be assembled in the 
order specified with all pages numbered sequentially or by section.
A. Application Contents
    Applicants must submit the following information for the 
application to be complete and considered for funding:
    i. Formatting and length of application. All applications must be 
on single-sided pages and all pages must be numbered. Only numbered 
pages will be reviewed. All applications are limited to the page limits 
specified by each section in this NOFA. Any additional pages greater 
than what is specified in this NOFA will not be reviewed and 
considered.
    ii. Part A. A Completed SF 424, ``Application for Federal 
Assistance.'' This form must be signed by a person authorized to submit 
the proposal on behalf of the applicant. Note: SF 424 has recently been 
revised to include new required data elements, including a DUNS number. 
You must submit the revised form. Copies of this form are available in 
the application package available online through RUS's Web site or 
through Grants.gov, or by request from the RUS contact listed above.
    iii. Part B. Grant Eligibility for High Energy Cost Grants (3 pages 
total). The Grant Eligibility is a narrative section that establishes 
the applicant's eligibility.
    a. Project Abstract and Eligibility. This section provides a 
summary of the proposed project. The project must be described in 
sufficient detail to establish that it is an eligible project according 
to this NOFA.
    b. Applicant Eligibility. This section includes a narrative 
statement that identifies the applicant and supporting evidence 
establishing that the applicant has or will have the legal authority to 
enter into a financial assistance relationship with the Federal 
Government. Applicants must also be free of any debarment or other 
restriction on their ability to contract with the Federal government.
    iv. Part B. Grant Eligibility for Bulk Fuel Revolving Fund Grants 
(1 page total). The Grant Eligibility is a narrative section that 
establishes the applicant's eligibility.
    a. Project Abstract and Eligibility. This section provides a 
summary of the proposed project.
    b. Applicant Eligibility. The applicant must establish that the 
applicant is a State entity that was in existence as of November 9, 
2000, and has the legal authority to enter into a financial assistance 
relationship with the Federal Government to carry out the grant 
activities.

3. Community Eligibility for High Energy Cost Grants

    This section provides a narrative description of the community or 
communities to be served by the project and supporting information to 
establish eligibility. The narrative must show that the proposed grant 
project's area or areas are located in one or more communities where 
the average residential energy costs exceed one or more of the 
benchmark criteria for extremely high energy costs as described in this 
NOFA. The narrative should clearly identify the location and population 
of the areas to be aided by the grant project and their energy costs 
and the population of the local government division in which they are 
located. Local energy providers and sources of high energy cost data 
and estimates should be clearly identified. Neither the applicant nor 
the project must be physically located in the extremely high energy 
cost community, but the funded project must serve an eligible 
community. The population estimates should be based on the results of 
the 2010 Census available from the U.S. Census Bureau. Additional 
information and exhibits supporting eligibility may include maps, 
summary tables, and references to statistical information from the U.S. 
Census, the Energy Information Administration, other Federal and State 
agencies, or private sources. The Application Guide includes additional 
information and sources that the applicant may find useful in 
establishing community eligibility.
A. Part C. Grant Proposal (Maximum of 30 Pages)
    The grant proposal is a narrative description prepared by the 
applicant that describes the proposed grant project, the potential 
benefits of the project, and a proposed budget. The grant proposal 
should contain the following sections in the order indicated.
    i. Executive Summary (1 page). The Executive Summary is a one page 
narrative summary that: (1) Identifies the applicant, project title, 
and the key contact person with telephone and fax numbers, mailing 
address and email address; (2) specifies the amount of grant funds 
requested; and (3) provides

[[Page 31290]]

a brief description of the proposed project including the eligible 
rural communities and residents to be served, activities and facilities 
to be financed, and how the grant project will offset or reduce the 
community's extremely high energy costs.
    ii. Project Needs (2 pages). This section is a narrative that 
describes the needs of the community. To the maximum extent possible 
grant funds will be directed to the smallest communities with the 
lowest incomes emphasizing areas where according to the American 
Community Survey data by census tracts show that at least 20 percent of 
the population is living in poverty. This emphasis supports Rural 
Development's goal of providing 20 percent of its funding by 2016 to 
these areas of need. Applicants must also identify if their community 
is deemed an economic hardship community or if the community is facing 
an imminent hazard. A community facing economic hardship is defined as 
a situation where the 2000 median household income for the community is 
20 percent below the State average or where the community suffers from 
economic conditions that severely constrain its ability to provide or 
improve energy facilities serving the community. Projects focused in 
correcting an imminent hazard are defined as projects that will correct 
a condition posing an imminent hazard to public safety, public welfare, 
the environment, or to a critical community or residential energy 
facility in immediate danger of failure because of a deteriorated 
condition, capacity limitation, or damage from a natural disaster or 
accident. Applicants must describe in detail and document conditions 
creating severe community economic hardship or imminent hazard in the 
proposal.
    iii. Project Description (Design) (5 pages): This section must 
provide a narrative description of the project including a proposed 
scope of work identifying major tasks and proposed schedules for task 
completion, a detailed description of the equipment, facilities and 
associated activities to be financed with grant funds, the location of 
the eligible extremely high energy cost communities to be served, and 
an estimate of the overall duration of the project. The Project Design 
description should be sufficiently detailed to support a finding of 
technical feasibility. Proposed projects involving construction, 
repair, replacement, or improvement of electric generation, 
transmission, and distribution facilities must generally be consistent 
with the standards and requirements for projects financed with loans 
and loan guarantees under the RE Act as set forth in RUS's Electric 
Programs Regulations and Bulletins and may reference these 
requirements.
    iv. Project Goals and objectives and Project Performance Measures 
(2 pages): The applicant should clearly identify how the project 
addresses the energy needs of the community and include appropriate 
measures of project success such as, for example, expected reductions 
in household or community energy costs, avoided cost increases, 
enhanced reliability, or economic or social benefits from improvements 
in energy services available to the community. The applicant should 
include quantitative estimates of cost or energy savings and other 
benefits. The applicant should provide documentation or references to 
support its statements about cost-effectiveness savings and improved 
services. The applicant should also describe how it plans to measure 
and monitor the effectiveness of the program in delivering its 
projected benefits.
    v. Project Management (8 pages): This section must provide a 
narrative describing the applicant's capabilities and project 
management plans. The description should be broken down into the 
following subsections:
    a. Management Plan and Schedule (2 pages). This subsection should 
include the application's organizational structure, method of funding, 
if the applicant proposes to use affiliated entities, and production 
schedule in implementing the grant award. If the applicant proposes to 
secure equipment, design, construction, or other services from non-
affiliated entities, the applicant must briefly describe how it plans 
to procure and/or contract for such equipment or services. The 
applicant should provide information that will support a finding that 
the combination of management team's experience, financial management 
capabilities, resources and project structure will enable successful 
completion of the project.
    b. Project Reporting Plan (2 pages). This subsection should provide 
a detailed description of the reporting requirements as well as 
consequences if the project falls behind.
    c. Relevant Organizational Experience (2 pages). This subsection 
should include a detailed description of the organization that will 
install or implement the proposed projects. Information on success 
rates, past project long term viability, and consumer complaints are 
required. If the applicant has received any HECG funding, or other 
Federal funding a detailed description of past performance is required 
in this section.
    d. Key Staff Experience (2 pages). This subsection requires bio/
descriptions of all key staff and must be provided. If the applicant 
proposes to use affiliated entities, contractors, or subcontractors to 
provide services funded under the grant, the applicant must describe 
the identities, relationship, qualifications, and experience of these 
affiliated entities. The experience and capabilities of these entities 
will be reviewed by the rating panel.
    vi. Regulatory and other approvals (2 pages). The applicant must 
identify any other regulatory or other approvals required by other 
Federal, State, local, or Tribal agencies, or by private entities as a 
condition of financing that are necessary to carry out the proposed 
grant project and its estimated schedule for obtaining the necessary 
approvals. Prior to the obligation of any funds for the selected 
proposals, applicants will be required to gather specific information 
in order for RUS to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act 
of 1969 (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), for which 
the provision of funding is considered an undertaking subject to 
review. The environmental information that must be supplied by the 
applicant can be found in the environmental report in the application 
materials.
    vii. Rural development initiatives (1 page). The narrative should 
describe whether and how the proposed project will support any State 
rural development initiatives. If the project is in support of a rural 
development initiative, including SUTA, the application should include 
confirming documentation from the appropriate rural development agency. 
The application must identify the extent to which the project is 
dependent upon or tied to other rural development initiatives, funding 
and approvals. The applicant should also clarify if they are located in 
a rural community of less than 20,000 people or are receiving matching 
funds from an outside source. Projects that do not support a State 
rural development initiative, but are located in communities of less 
than 20,000, or will receive matching funds will still receive points. 
Projects will be awarded 5 points for each rural development initiative 
mentioned.
    viii. Proposed Project Budget (4 pages). The applicant must submit 
a proposed budget for the grant program on SF 424A, ``Budget 
Information--Non-Construction Programs'' or SF-424C, ``Standard Form 
for Budget Information--Construction Programs,'' as applicable. All 
applicants that submit

[[Page 31291]]

applications through Grants.gov must use SF-424A. The applicant should 
supplement the budget summary form with more detailed information 
describing the basis for cost estimates. The detailed budget estimate 
should itemize and explain major proposed project cost components such 
as, but not limited to, the expected costs of design and engineering 
and other professional services, personnel costs (salaries/wages and 
fringe benefits), equipment, materials, property acquisition, travel 
(if any), and other direct costs, and indirect costs, if any. The 
budget must document that planned administrative and other expenses of 
the project sponsor that are not directly related to performance of the 
grant will not total more than 4 percent of grant funds. The applicant 
must also identify the source and amount of any other Federal or non-
Federal contributions of funds or services that will be used to support 
the proposed project.
    ix. Supplementary Material (5 pages). Only letters of Support will 
be accepted as Supplementary materials. No other additional information 
will be accepted or reviewed. Letters from Congress will not be counted 
against the page limitation.
 B. Part D. Additional Required Forms and Certifications
    In order to establish compliance with other Federal requirements 
for financial assistance, the applicant must execute and submit with 
the initial application the following forms and certifications:
     SF 424B, ``Assurances--Non-Construction Programs'' or SF 
424D, ``Assurances--Construction Programs'' (as applicable). All 
applicants applying through Grants.gov must use form SF 424B.
     SF LLL, ``Disclosure of Lobbying Activities.''
     ``Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension and Other 
Responsibility Matter--Primary Covered Transactions'' as required under 
7 CFR part 3017, Appendix A. Certifications for individuals, 
corporations, nonprofit entities, Indian Tribes, partnerships.
     Environmental Report. The RUS environmental report 
template included in the Application Guide solicits information about 
project characteristics and site-specific conditions that may involve 
environmental, historic preservation, and other resources. The 
information will be used by RUS's environmental staff to determine 
what, if any, additional environmental impact analyses may be necessary 
before a final grant award may be approved. A copy of the environmental 
report and instructions for completion are included in the Application 
Guide and may be downloaded from RUS's Web site or Grants.gov.

4. Community Eligibility for Bulk Fuel Revolving Fund Grants

    This section provides a narrative description of the community or 
communities to be served by the revolving loan fund. Applicants must 
prove that the area is dependent on delivery of fuel by water or air 
and fuel cannot be shipped by means of surface transportation either 
because of physical constraints or because surface transportation is 
not practical or is prohibitively expensive.
A. Part C. Grant Proposal (Maximum of 26 Pages)
    The grant proposal is a narrative description prepared by the 
applicant that describes the proposed grant project, the potential 
benefits of the project, and a proposed budget. The grant proposal 
should contain the following sections in the order indicated.
    i. Executive Summary (1 page). The Executive Summary is a one page 
narrative summary that: (1) Identifies the State entity applying for 
the grant; (2) specifies the amount of grant funds requested; and (3) 
provides a brief description of the proposed program, including the 
estimated number of potential beneficiaries, their estimated fuel 
needs, the projects and activities to be financed through the revolving 
loan fund, and how the projects and activities will improve the cost 
effectiveness of fuel procured.
    ii. Project Needs (2 pages). This section is a narrative that 
describes the needs of the community. To the maximum extent possible 
grant funds will be directed to the smallest communities with the 
lowest incomes emphasizing areas where according to the American 
Community Survey data by census tracts show that at least 20 percent of 
the population is living in poverty. This emphasis supports Rural 
Development's goal of providing 20 percent of its funding by 2016 to 
these areas of need. It must also describe the criteria used to 
identify eligible areas, including the characteristics that make fuel 
deliveries by surface transportation impossible or impracticable. It 
must also identify if the community is deemed an economic hardship 
community or if the community is facing an imminent hazard. A community 
facing economic hardship is defined as a situation where the 2010 
median household income for the community is 20 percent below the State 
average or where the community suffers from economic conditions that 
severely constrain its ability to provide or improve energy facilities 
serving the community. Projects focused in correcting an imminent 
hazard are defined as projects that will correct a condition posing an 
imminent hazard to public safety, public welfare, the environment, or 
to a critical community or residential energy facility in immediate 
danger of failure because of a deteriorated condition, capacity 
limitation, or damage from a natural disaster or accident. Applicants 
must describe in detail and document conditions creating severe 
community economic hardship or imminent hazard in the proposal.
    iii. Project Description (Design) (5 pages). This section must 
provide a narrative description of the project including the following 
items: (1) The legal structure and staffing of the revolving fund 
proposal for fuel purchase support; (2) The objectives of the project, 
the proposed criteria for establishing project funding eligibility and 
how the project is to be staffed, managed and financed; (3) How the 
potential beneficiaries will be informed of the availability of 
revolving fund benefits to them; (4) How the proposed revolving fund 
program will help provide a more cost-effective means of meeting fuel 
supply needs in eligible areas, encourage the adoption of financially 
sustainable energy practices, the adequate planning and investment in 
bulk fuel facility operations and maintenance and cost-effective 
investments in energy efficiency; and (5) If the revolving fund program 
is not yet operational, a proposed implementation schedule and 
milestones should be provided.
    iv. Project Goals and objectives and Project Performance Measures 
(2 pages). The applicant should clearly identify how the project 
addresses the energy needs of the community and include appropriate 
measures of project success. The applicant should also describe how it 
plans to measure and monitor the effectiveness of the program in 
delivering its projected benefits.
    v. Project Management (6 pages): This section must provide a 
narrative describing the applicant's capabilities and project 
management plans. The description should be broken down into the 
following subsections:
    a. Management Plan and Schedule (2 pages). This subsection should 
include the application's organizational structure, method of funding, 
if the applicant proposes to use affiliated entities, and production 
schedule in implementing the grant award.
    b. Project Reporting Plan (2 pages). This subsection should provide 
a

[[Page 31292]]

detailed description of the reporting requirements as well as 
consequences if the project falls behind.
    c. Relevant Organizational Experience (2 pages). This subsection 
should include a detailed description of the organization that will 
oversee and implement the revolving loan fund. Applicants should note 
if they have received bulk fuel revolving grant funds in the past.
    vi. Rural development initiatives (1 page). The narrative should 
describe whether and how the proposed project will support any State 
rural development initiatives. If the project is in support of a rural 
development initiative, the application should include confirming 
documentation from the appropriate rural development agency. The 
application must identify the extent to which the project is dependent 
upon or tied to other rural development initiatives, funding and 
approvals. The applicant should also clarify if they are located in a 
rural community of less than 20,000 people or are receiving matching 
funds from an outside source. Projects that do not support a State 
rural development initiative, but are located in communities of less 
than 20,000, or will receive matching funds that exceed 25 percent of 
the annual funding operations will still receive points.
    vii. Proposed Project Budget (4 pages). The applicant must submit a 
proposed budget for the grant program on SF 424A, ``Budget 
Information--Non-Construction Programs.'' All applicants that submit 
applications through Grants.gov must use SF-424A. The applicant should 
supplement the budget summary form with more detailed information 
describing the basis for cost estimates. The level of detail must be 
sufficient for reviewers to determine that grant funds will be used 
only for eligible purposes and to determine the extent to which the 
program is entirely dependent on grant funding or whether it has 
financial support from the State or other sources.
    viii. Supplementary Material (5 pages). Only letters of Support 
will be accepted as Supplementary materials. No other additional 
information will be accepted or reviewed. Letters from Congress will 
not be counted against the page limitation.
B. Part D. Additional Required Forms and Certifications
    In order to establish compliance with other Federal requirements 
for financial assistance, the applicant must execute and submit with 
the initial application the following forms and certifications:
     SF 424B, ``Assurances--Non-Construction Programs'' or SF 
424D, ``Assurances--Construction Programs'' (as applicable). All 
applicants applying through Grants.gov must use form SF 424B.
     SF LLL, ``Disclosure of Lobbying Activities.''
     ``Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension and Other 
Responsibility Matter--Primary Covered Transactions'' as required under 
7 CFR part 3017, Appendix A. Certifications for individuals, 
corporations, nonprofit entities, Indian Tribes, partnerships.
     Environmental Report. The RUS environmental report 
template included in the Application Guide solicits information about 
project characteristics and site-specific conditions that may involve 
environmental, historic preservation, and other resources. The 
information will be used by RUS's environmental staff to determine 
what, if any, additional environmental impact analyses may be necessary 
before a final grant award may be approved. A copy of the environmental 
report and instructions for completion are included in the Application 
Guide and may be downloaded from RUS's Web site or Grants.gov.

5. Additional Information Requests

    In addition to the information required to be submitted in the 
application package, the RUS may request that successful grant 
applicants provide additional information, analyses, forms and 
certifications before the grant agreement is signed and funds are 
obligated but after the award is subject to any environmental reviews 
or other reviews or certifications required under USDA and Government-
wide assistance regulations. The RUS will advise the applicant in 
writing of any additional information required.

6. Submitting the Application

    Applicants that are submitting paper application packages must 
submit one original application package that includes original 
signatures on all required forms and certifications and two copies. 
Applications should be submitted on 8\1/2\ x 11 inch white paper.
    A completed paper application package must contain all required 
parts in the order indicated in the above section on ``Content and Form 
of Application Submission.'' The application package should be 
paginated either sequentially or by section. Applicants are requested 
to provide the application package in single-sided format for ease of 
copying.
    Applicants that are submitting application packages electronically 
through the Federal grants portal Grants.gov (https://www.Grants.gov) 
must follow the application requirements and procedures and submit all 
the forms in the application package provided there. The Grants.gov Web 
site contains full instructions on all required registration, 
passwords, credentialing and software required to submit applications 
electronically. Grants.gov has streamlined the registration and 
credentialing process and now requires separate application processes 
for individuals and organizations. Individual applicants, including 
individuals applying on behalf of an organization, should follow the 
special directions for individuals on the Grants.gov Web site. 
Organizational applicants and sole proprietorships should follow the 
instructions for organizations.
    Organizational applicants are advised that completion of the 
requirements for registration with Grants.gov, with the System for 
Award Management (SAM) (formerly Central Contractor Registry, (CCR)), 
and e-Authentication required under Grants.gov may take a week or more 
and may be delayed. Accordingly, RUS strongly recommends that you 
complete your organization's registration with Grants.gov well in 
advance of the deadline for submitting applications.

7. Disclosure of Information

    All material submitted by the applicant may be made available to 
the public in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 
552) and USDA's implementing regulations at 7 CFR part 1.

8. Submission Dates and Times

    Applications must be postmarked or hand delivered to the RUS or 
posted to Grants.gov by August 1, 2014. RUS will begin accepting 
applications on the date of publication of this NOFA. RUS will accept 
for review all applications postmarked or delivered to us by this 
deadline. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered and 
discarded.
    For the purposes of determining the timeliness of an application 
the RUS will accept the following as valid postmarks: The date stamped 
by the United States Postal Service on the outside of the package 
containing the application delivered by U.S. Mail; the date the package 
was received by a commercial delivery service as evidenced by the 
delivery label; the date received via hand delivery to the RUS 
headquarters; and the date an electronic application was posted for 
submission to Grants.gov.

[[Page 31293]]

9. Intergovernmental Review

    This program is not subject to the requirements of Executive Order 
12372, ``Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,'' as implemented 
under USDA's regulations at 7 CFR part 3015.

10. Other Submission Requirements

    A completed application must contain all required parts in the 
order indicated in the above section on ``Content and Form of 
Application Submission.'' The application package should be paginated 
either sequentially or by section.
    The completed paper application package and two copies must be 
delivered to the RUS headquarters in Washington, DC, using United 
States Mail, overnight delivery service, or by hand to the following 
address: Rural Utilities Service, Electric Programs, United States 
Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1560, 
Room 5165 South Building, Washington, DC 20250-1560. Applications 
should be marked ``Attention: High Energy Cost Community Grant 
Program'' or ``Attention: Bulk Fuel Revolving Fund Grant Program.''
    Applicants are advised that regular mail deliveries to Federal 
Agencies, especially of oversized packages and envelopes, continue to 
be delayed because of increased security screening requirements. 
Applicants may wish to consider using Express Mail or a commercial 
overnight delivery service instead of regular mail. Applicants wishing 
to hand deliver or use courier services for delivery should contact an 
RUS representative in advance to arrange for building access. If an 
applicant wishes to submit such materials, they should contact an RUS 
representative for additional information.
    After the grant application deadline has passed, USDA will send an 
electronic confirmation acknowledging that the application has been 
received by the RUS from Grants.gov. Grants.gov will not accept 
applications for filing after the deadline has passed. RUS will not 
accept applications directly over the Internet, by email, or fax.
    Applicants should be aware that Grants.gov requires that applicants 
complete several preliminary registrations and e-authentication 
requirements before being allowed to submit applications 
electronically. Applicants should consult the Grants.gov Web site and 
allow ample time to complete the steps required for registration before 
submitting their applications.
    Applicants may download application materials and complete forms 
online through Grants.gov without completing the registration 
requirements. Application materials prepared online may be printed and 
submitted in paper to RUS as detailed above.

11. Multiple Applications

    Eligible applicants must include only one project per application, 
but the project can include many locations. For high energy cost 
grants, no more than $3 million in grant funds will be awarded per 
project application. For bulk fuel revolving fund grants, no more than 
$1 million in grants will be awarded per project application. An 
applicant will only be awarded funding for one project under this NOFA. 
An applicant will not receive funding for numerous projects under this 
NOFA.

VI. Application Review Information

    After the application closing date, RUS will not consider any 
unsolicited information from the applicant. The RUS may contact the 
applicant for additional information or to clarify statements in the 
application required to establish applicant or community eligibility 
and completeness. Only applications that are complete and meet the 
eligibility criteria will be considered. The RUS will not accept or 
solicit any additional information relating to the technical merits and 
feasibility of the grant proposal after the application closing date.
    If the RUS determines that an application package was not delivered 
to RUS or postmarked on or before the deadline of August 1, 2014, the 
application will be rejected as untimely.
    After review, the RUS will reject any application package that in 
its sole discretion is not complete or that does not demonstrate that 
the applicant, community or project is eligible under the requirements 
of this NOFA and applicable program regulations. Applicants will be 
notified in writing of RUS's decision. Applicants may appeal the 
eligibility rejection pursuant to program regulations on appeals at 7 
CFR 1709.6 for the high energy cost grant program. Applicants must 
appeal in writing to the RUS Administrator within 10 days after the 
applicant is notified of the determination to reject the application. 
The appeal must state the basis for the appeal. Appeals must be 
directed to the Administrator, Rural Utilities Service, United States 
Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., STOP 1500, 
Washington, DC 20250-1500. The Administrator will review the appeal to 
determine whether to sustain, reverse, or modify the original 
determination by the Assistant Administrator. The Administrator's 
decision shall be final. A written copy of the Administrator's decision 
will be furnished promptly to the applicant.
    The panel will evaluate and rate all complete applications that 
meet the eligibility requirements using the selection criteria and 
weights described in this NOFA.
    As part of the proposal review and ranking process, panel members 
may make comments and recommendations for appropriate conditions on 
grant awards to promote successful performance of the grant or to 
assure compliance with other Federal requirements. The decision to 
include panel recommendations on grant conditions in any grant award 
will be at the sole discretion of the RUS Administrator.
    All applications will be scored and ranked according to the 
evaluation and scoring criteria described in this Notice. The RUS will 
use the ratings and recommendations of the panel to rank applicants 
against other applicants. All applicants will be ranked according to 
their scores in this round. The rankings and recommendations will then 
be forwarded to the Administrator for final review and selection.
    Decisions on grant awards will be made by the RUS Administrator 
based on the application, and the rankings and recommendations of the 
rating panel.
    The Administrator will fund grant requests in rank order to the 
extent of available funds. If sufficient funds are not available to 
fund the next ranked project, the Administrator may, in his sole 
discretion, skip over that project to the next ranking project that can 
be fully funded with available funding.

1. Scoring Criteria

    The RUS will use the selection criteria described in this NOFA to 
evaluate and rate applications. Applications will be reviewed in two 
rounds, the first round determines eligibility and the second round 
scores the application.
A. Determining Eligibility
    To determine if the project is eligible, RUS will look only at the 
three page document, Part B: Grant Eligibility, which is described in 
this NOFA and includes narrative on the Project, Applicant, and 
Community eligibility. No points will be awarded in this round of 
review. The application is only determined to be eligible or not 
eligible. Applicants that are determined to be ineligible will be 
notified and have 10 days to appeal the decision.

[[Page 31294]]

B. Scoring Eligible Applicants for the High Energy Cost Grant Program
    The total possible score is 100, and the applicant will be scored 
only on Part C: Grant Proposal as described in this NOFA. The following 
are the scored sections and their associated point totals:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Points
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Executive Summary.......................................               0
Project Needs...........................................              15
Project Description (Design)............................              20
Project Goals and Objectives and Project Performance                  10
 Measures...............................................
Project Management......................................              25
    Management Plan and Schedule, (a subset of Project                10
     Management)........................................
    Project Reporting Plan (a subset of Project                        5
     Management)........................................
    Relevant Organizational Experience (a subset of                    5
     Project Management)................................
    Key Staff Experience (a subset of Project                          5
     Management)........................................
Regulatory and other approvals..........................               0
Rural Development Initiatives...........................              20
Proposed Project Budget.................................              10
Supplementary Material..................................               0
                                                         ---------------
        Total...........................................             100
------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. Scoring Eligible Applicants for the Bulk Fuel Revolving Fund Grant 
Program
    The total possible score is 100, and the applicant will be scored 
only on Part C: Grant Proposal as described in this NOFA. The following 
are the scored sections and their associated point totals:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Points
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Executive Summary.......................................               0
Project Needs...........................................              15
Project Description (Design)............................              20
Project Goals and objectives and Project Performance                  10
 Measures...............................................
Project Management......................................              25
    Management Plan and Schedule, (a subset of Project                10
     Management)........................................
    Project Reporting Plan (a subset of Project                        5
     Management)........................................
    Relevant Organizational Experience (a subset of                   10
     Project Management)................................
Rural development initiatives...........................              20
Proposed Project Budget.................................              10
Supplementary Material..................................               0
                                                         ---------------
    Total...............................................             100
------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Review and Selection Process

A. Score and Ranking of Applications
    Applications will be scored and ranked according to the evaluation 
criteria and weights referenced above by a panel. The scored and ranked 
applications and the raters' comments will then be forwarded to the 
Administrator for review and selection of grant awards.
B. Selection of Grant Awards and Notification of Applicants
    The RUS Administrator will review the rankings and recommendations 
of the applications provided by the rating panel and consistent with 
the requirements of this NOFA. The Administrator may return any 
application to the rating panel with written instruction for 
reconsideration if, in his sole discretion, he finds that the scoring 
of an application is inconsistent with this NOFA and the directions 
provided to the rating panel.
    Following any adjustments to the project in ranking, as a result of 
reconsideration, the Administrator will select projects for funding in 
rank order. If two projects from the same applicant score high enough 
to potentially receive funding, the Administrator will award funds to 
the higher of the two scoring projects. No applicant will receive more 
than one award.
    The Administrator may decide based on the recommendations of the 
rating panel or, in his sole discretion, that a grant award may be made 
contingent upon the applicant satisfying certain conditions. For 
example, RUS will not obligate funding for a selected project--such as 
projects requiring extensive environmental review and mitigation, 
preparation of detailed site specific engineering studies and designs, 
or requiring local permitting, or availability of supplemental 
financing--until any additional conditions are satisfied.
    In the event that a selected applicant fails to comply with the 
conditions within the time set by RUS, the award will be terminated.
    The RUS will notify each applicant in writing whether or not it has 
been selected for an award. The RUS written notice to a successful 
applicant of the amount of the grant award based on the approved 
application will constitute RUS's acceptance of a project for an award, 
subject to compliance with all post-award requirements including but 
not limited to completion of any environmental reviews and execution of 
a grant agreement satisfactory to the RUS. This acceptance does not 
bind the Government to making a final grant

[[Page 31295]]

award. Only an agreement executed by the Administrator will constitute 
a binding obligation and commitment of Federal funds. Funds will not be 
awarded or disbursed until all requirements have been satisfied and are 
contingent on the continued availability of funds at the time of the 
award. The RUS will advise selected applicants of additional 
requirements or conditions.

VII. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

    The RUS will notify all applicants in writing whether they have 
been selected for an award. Successful applicants will be advised in 
writing of their selection. Successful applicants will be required to 
execute an RUS grant agreement and complete additional grant forms and 
certifications required by USDA as part of the process.
    Depending on the nature of the activities proposed by the 
application, the grantee may be asked to provide information and 
certifications necessary for compliance with RUS' Environmental 
Policies and Procedures at 7 CFR part 1794. Following completion of the 
environmental review process, selected applicants will receive a letter 
articulating the grant agreement and asked to execute a letter of 
intent to meet the grant conditions. Grant funds will not be advanced 
unless and until the applicant has executed a grant agreement and funds 
will not be advanced until all conditions have been satisfied in a 
manner satisfactory to RUS.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

A. Environmental Review and Restriction on Certain Activities
    Grant awardees will be required to submit the appropriate 
environmental review documentation, as outlined in the environmental 
report and any other following environmental impact analyses required 
by RUS Environmental Policies and Procedures. (7 CFR Part 1794) 
Grantees must also agree to comply with any other Federal or State 
environmental laws and regulations applicable to the grant project.
    In accordance with Sec.  1794.15, applicants are restricted from 
taking actions that may have an adverse environmental impact or limit 
the choice of alternatives being considered until the environmental 
review process is concluded. If an applicant takes such actions, RUS 
will not advance or award grant funds. If the proposed grant project 
involves physical development activities or property acquisition, the 
applicant is generally prohibited from acquiring, rehabilitating, 
converting, leasing, repairing or constructing property or facilities, 
or committing or expending RUS or non-RUS funds for proposed grant 
activities until the RUS has completed any environmental review in 
accordance with 7 CFR part 1794 or determined that no environmental 
review is required.
    Successful applicants will be advised whether additional 
environmental review requirements apply to their proposals.
B. Other Federal Requirements
    Other Federal statutes and regulations apply to grant applications 
and to grant awards. These include, but are not limited to, 
requirements under 7 CFR part 15, subpart A--Nondiscrimination in 
Federally Assisted Programs of the Department of Agriculture--
Effectuation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
    Certain Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars also apply 
to USDA grant programs and must be followed by a grantee under this 
program. The policies, guidance, and requirements of the following, or 
their successors, may apply to the award, acceptance and use of 
assistance under this program and to the remedies for noncompliance, 
except when inconsistent with the provisions of the Agriculture, Rural 
Development and Related Agencies' Appropriations Acts, other Federal 
statutes or the provisions of this NOFA:
     OMB Circular No. A-87 (Cost Principles Applicable to 
Grants, Contracts and Other Agreements with State and Local 
Governments);
     OMB Circular A-21 (Cost Principles for Education 
Institutions);
     OMB Circular No. A-122 (Cost Principles for Nonprofit 
Organizations);
     OMB Circular A-133 (Audits of States, Local Governments, 
and Non-Profit Organizations);
     7 CFR part 3015 (Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations);
     7 CFR part 3016 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for 
Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State, Local, and Federally 
recognized Indian Tribal governments);
     2 CFR part 417 (Government-wide debarment and suspension 
(non-procurement));
     2 CFR part 421 (Government-wide requirements for drug-free 
workplace (grants));
     7 CFR part 3018 (New restrictions on Lobbying);
     7 CFR part 3019 (Uniform administrative requirements for 
grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, 
and other Non-Profit Organizations); and
     7 CFR part 3052 (Audits of States, local governments, and 
non-profit organizations).
    Compliance with additional OMB Circulars or government-wide 
regulations may be specified in the grant agreement.

3. Reporting

    The grantee will be required to provide periodic financial and 
performance reports under USDA grant regulations and program rules and 
to submit a final project performance report. The nature and frequency 
of required reports is established in USDA grant regulations and the 
project-specific grant agreements.
    The applicant must have the necessary processes and systems in 
place to comply with the reporting requirements for first-tier sub-
awards and executive compensation under the Federal Funding 
Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 in the event the applicant 
receives funding unless such applicant is exempt from such reporting 
requirements pursuant to 2 CFR part 170, Sec.  170.110(b). The 
reporting requirements under the Transparency Act pursuant to 2 CFR 
part 170 are as follows:
    a. First Tier Sub-Awards of $25,000 or more in non-Recovery Act 
funds (unless they are exempt under 2 CFR part 170) must be reported by 
the Recipient to https://www.fsrs.gov no later than the end of the month 
following the month the obligation was made. Please note that currently 
underway is a consolidation of eight federal procurement systems, 
including the Sub-award Reporting System (FSRS), into one system, the 
System for Award Management (SAM). As a result, the FSRS will soon be 
consolidated into and accessed through https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/.
    b. The Total Compensation of the Recipient's Executives (5 most 
highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Recipient (if 
the Recipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR part 170) to https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/ by the end of the month following the 
month in which the award was made.
C. Total Compensation of the Subrecipient's Executives
    The Total Compensation of the Subrecipient's Executives (5 most 
highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Subrecipient (if 
the Subrecipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR Part 170) to the 
Recipient by the

[[Page 31296]]

end of the month following the month in which the subaward was made.

VIII. Agency Contacts

    The RUS Contact for this grant announcement is Kristi Kubista-
Hovis, Senior Policy Advisor, Rural Utilities Service, Electric 
Programs, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence 
Avenue SW., STOP 1560, Room 5165 South Building, Washington, DC 20250-
1560. Telephone (202) 720-9545, Fax (202) 690-0717, email 
Kristi.Kubista-Hovis@wdc.usda.gov.

    Dated: May 1, 2014.
John C. Padalino,
Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-12690 Filed 5-30-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P