Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Rural Energy for America Program for Fiscal Year 2015, 78029-78034 [2014-30184]

Download as PDF 78029 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Notices Dated: December 16, 2014. Audrey Rowe, Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service. [FR Doc. 2014–30373 Filed 12–24–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–30–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Business-Cooperative Service Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Rural Energy for America Program for Fiscal Year 2015 Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Rural BusinessCooperative Service (Agency) announces the acceptance of applications under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) which is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the Nation’s critical energy needs. REAP has two types of funding assistance: Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Assistance, and Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants. The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance provides grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy SUMMARY: systems and make energy efficiency improvements to their operations. Eligible renewable energy systems for REAP provide energy from: Wind, solar, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydro-electric, ocean, geothermal, or hydrogen derived from these renewable resources. The Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grant is available to a unit of State, Tribal, or local government; instrumentality of a State, Tribal, or local government; institution of higher education; rural electric cooperative; a public power entity; or a council, as defined in 16 U.S.C. 3451. The recipient of grant funds, (grantee), will establish a program to assist agricultural producers and rural small businesses with evaluating the energy efficiency and the potential to incorporated renewable energy technologies into their operations. Grant applications, guaranteed loan-only applications, and combined grant and guaranteed loan applications for financial assistance under this subpart may be submitted at any time on an ongoing basis. Section IV. E., of this Notice establishes the deadline dates for the applications to be received in order to be considered for funding provided by Public Law 113–79, commonly referred to as the 2014 Farm Bill Act, for fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2015. In summary: (1) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant DATES: applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications. There will be two application deadline dates to facilitate the use of fiscal years 2014 and 2015 grant funds. These dates apply to both fiscal year 2014 and 2015 grant funds. (a) For applicants requesting $20,000 or less that wish to have their application compete for the ‘‘Grants of $20,000 or less set aside,’’ complete applications must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. local time on April 30, 2015. (b) For applicants requesting grant funds of either $20,000 or less, or grant funds over $20,000 (unrestricted), complete applications must be received no later than: (i) 4:30 p.m. local time on April 30, 2015, or (ii) 4:30 p.m. local time on June 30, 2015. (2) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan-only applications. Applications will be reviewed and processed when received with monthly competitions on the first business day of each month for those applications ready to be funded, however the first monthly competition will not take place until eight guaranteed loan only applications are received and ready to be competed. (3) Energy audits and renewable energy development assistance grant applications. Complete applications must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. local time on February 12, 2015. Application Application window opening dates Application window closing dates Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Grants (Over $20,000 and Combinations). Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Grants ($20,000 or less not competing for set aside funds, Over $20,000 and Combinations). Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Grants ($20,000 or less competing for set aside funds). Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans .............. July 8, 2014 ................ April 30, 2015. May 1, 2015 ................ June 30, 2015.* July 8, 2014 ................ April 30, 2015. August 1, 2014 ............ Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants ..................................... December 29, 2014 .... Continuous application cycle. February 12, 2015.* * Applications received after this date will be considered for the next cycle. This solicitation is for agricultural producers and rural small businesses, as well as units of State, Tribal, or local government; instrumentalities of a State, Tribal, or local government; institutions of higher education; rural electric cooperatives; a public power entities; and Councils, as defined in 16 U.S.C. 3451, who serve agricultural producers and rural small businesses. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES ADDRESSES: The applicable USDA Rural Development FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:09 Dec 24, 2014 Jkt 235001 Energy Coordinator for your respective State, as identified via the following link: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ Energy_CoordinatorList.html. For information about this Notice, please contact Mr. Kelley Oehler, Branch Chief, USDA Rural Development, Energy Division, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250. Telephone: (202) 720–6819. Email: kelley.oehler@ wdc.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 I. Program Description The REAP is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the Nation’s critical energy needs. REAP has two types of funding assistance: (1) Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Assistance, and (2) Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants. A. General. Applications for REAP can be submitted on an ongoing basis. E:\FR\FM\29DEN1.SGM 29DEN1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 78030 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Notices This Notice announces the deadline dates to submit applications for the REAP funds provided by the Agricultural Act of 2014, Pub. L. 113– 79, on February 7, 2014, (2014 Farm Bill) for fiscal year 2014, and fiscal year 2015, for: grants, guaranteed loans, and combined grants and guaranteed loans to purchase and install renewable energy systems, and make energy efficiency improvements; and for grants to conduct energy audits, and renewable energy development assistance. The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance provides grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements to their operations. Eligible renewable energy systems for REAP provide energy from: wind, solar, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydro-electric, ocean, geothermal, or hydrogen derived from these renewable resources. The Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grant is available to a unit of State, Tribal, or local government; instrumentality of a State, Tribal, or local government; institution of higher education; rural electric cooperative; a public power entity; or a council, as define in 16 U.S.C. 3451. The recipient of grant funds, (grantee), will establish a program to assist agricultural producers and rural small businesses with evaluating the energy efficiency and the potential to incorporate renewable energy technologies into their operations. The administrative requirements applicable to each type of funding available under REAP are described in 7 CFR, part 4280, subpart B. The provisions specified in 7 CFR 4280.101 through 4280.111 apply to each funding type described in this Notice. B. Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement Project Grants. In addition to the other provisions of this Notice, the requirements specified in 7 CFR 4280.112 through 4280.124 apply to renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement project grants. C. Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement Project Guaranteed Loans. In addition to the other provisions of this Notice the requirements specified in 7 CFR 4280.125 through 4280.152, apply to guaranteed loans for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement projects. For fiscal year 2015, the guarantee fee amount is 1 percent of the guaranteed portion of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:09 Dec 24, 2014 Jkt 235001 loan and the annual renewal fee is 0.250 percent (one-quarter of 1 percent) of the guaranteed portion of the loan. D. Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement Project Combined Grant and Guaranteed Loan Requests. In addition to the other provisions of this Notice, the requirements specified in 7 CFR 4280.165 apply to a combined grant and guaranteed loan for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement projects. E. Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants. In addition to the other provisions of this Notice, the requirements specified in 7 CFR 4280.186 through 4280.196 apply to energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants. II. Federal Award Information A. Statutory Authority. This program is authorized under 7 U.S.C. 8107. B. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number. 10.868. C. Funds Available. This Notice is announcing deadline dates for applications to be submitted for the REAP funds provided by the 2014 Farm Bill for fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2015. This Notice is being published prior to the Congressional enactment of a full-year appropriation for fiscal year 2015. The Agency will continue to process applications received under this announcement and should REAP receive appropriated funds, these funds will be announced on the following Web site: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ BCP_Reap.html and subject to the same provisions in this Notice. (1) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grantonly funds. For renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement projects only, there will be an allocation of grant funds to each Rural Development State Office. The state allocations will include an allocation for grants of $20,000 or less funds and an allocation of grant funds that can be used to fund renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants of either $20,000 or less or grants of more than $20,000, as well as the grant portion of a combination grant and guaranteed loan. The funds for grants of $20,000 or less can only be used to fund grants requesting $20,000 or less. (a) To ensure that small projects have a fair opportunity to compete for the funding and are consistent with the priorities set forth in the statute, the Agency will set-aside 20 percent of the fiscal year 2015 funds until June 30, 2015, to fund grants of $20,000 or less. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (b) Grant funds available for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement in fiscal year 2015, regardless of the amount of funding requested, will consist of both fiscal years 2014 and 2015 funds. (2) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement loan guarantee funds. Rural Development’s National Office will maintain a reserve of grant and guaranteed loan funds. The amount of loan guarantee program level available will consist of both fiscal years 2014 and 2015 funds. (3) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan and grant combination funds. The amount of funds available for guaranteed loan and grant combination applications are outlined in paragraphs II.C(1)(b) and C(2). (4) Energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grant funds. The amount of funds available for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance in fiscal year 2015 will be 4 percent of fiscal year 2015 mandatory funds. Obligations of these funds will take place through March 31, 2015. Any unobligated balances will be moved to the renewable energy subsidy account as of April 1, 2015. These funds may be utilized in any of the renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement national competitions. D. Approximate Number of Awards. The estimated number of awards is 2,000, but will depend on amount of funds made available and on the number of eligible applicants participating in this program. E. Type of Instrument. Grant, guaranteed loan, and grant/guaranteed loan combinations. III. Eligibility Information A. Eligible Applicants. To be eligible for the grant portion of the program, an applicant must meet the requirements specified in 7 CFR 4280.109, 7 CFR 4280.110, and 7 CFR 4280.112, or 7 CFR 4280.186, as applicable. B. Eligible Lenders and Borrowers. To be eligible for the guaranteed portion of the program, lenders and borrowers must meet the eligibility requirements in 7 CFR 4280.125 and 7 CFR 4280.127, as applicable. C. Eligible Projects. To be eligible for this program, a project must meet the eligibility requirements specified in 7 CFR 4280.113, 7 CFR 4280.128, and 7 CFR 4280.187, as applicable. D. Cost Sharing or Matching. The 2014 Farm Bill, formally Public Law 113–79, mandates the maximum percentages of funding that REAP can E:\FR\FM\29DEN1.SGM 29DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Notices provide. Within the maximum funding amounts specified in this Notice: (1) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement funding approved for guaranteed loan-only requests and for combination guaranteed loan and grant requests will not exceed 75 percent of eligible project costs, with any grant portion not to exceed 25 percent of total eligible project costs, whether the grant is part of a combination request or is a grantonly. (2) Under the energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants, a grantee that conducts energy audits must require that, as a condition of providing the energy audit, the agricultural producer or rural small business pay at least 25 percent of the cost of the energy audit. E. Other. The definitions applicable to this Notice are published at 7 CFR 4280.103. Ineligible project costs can be found in 7 CFR 4280.114(d), 7 CFR 4280.129(f), and 7 CFR 4280.188(c), as applicable. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES IV. Application and Submission Information A. Address to Request Application. Application materials may be obtained by contacting one of Rural Development’s Energy Coordinators, as identified via the following link: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ Energy_CoordinatorList.html. In addition, for grant applications, applicants may obtain electronic grant applications for REAP from http:// www.Grants.gov. When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site. To use Grants.gov, all applicants must have a DUNS number (unless the applicant is an individual), which can be obtained at no cost via a toll-free request line at 1 (866) 705–5711 or online at http://fedgov.dnb.com/ webform. USDA Rural Development strongly recommends that applicants do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process through Grants.gov. B. Application Submittal. (1) Grant applications. All grant applications may be submitted either as hard copy to the appropriate Rural Development Energy Coordinator or electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Web site. When submitting an application as hard copy, applicants must submit one original. (a) All renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement applications are to be submitted to the USDA Rural Development Energy VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:09 Dec 24, 2014 Jkt 235001 Coordinator in the State in which the applicant’s proposed project is located. (b) All energy audit and renewable energy development assistance applications are to be submitted to the USDA Rural Development Energy Coordinator in the State in which the applicant is headquartered. A list of USDA Rural Development Energy Coordinators is available via the following link: http:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_Energy_ CoordinatorList.html. (c) For grant-only applicants submitting their electronic applications to the Agency via the Grants.gov Web site may download a copy of the application package to complete it off line and then upload and submit the application via the Grants.gov site, including all information typically included in the application, and all necessary assurances and certifications. After electronically submitting an application through the Web site, the applicant will receive an automated acknowledgement from Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (2) Guaranteed loan applications. Guaranteed loan-only applications (i.e., those that are not part of a guaranteed loan/grant combination request) must be submitted as hard copy. (3) Guaranteed loan and grant combination applications. Applications for guaranteed loans/grants (combination applications) must be submitted as hard copy. C. Content and Form of Application Submission. Applicants seeking to participate in this program must submit applications in accordance with this Notice and 7 CFR part 4280, subpart B. Applicants must submit complete applications containing all parts necessary for the Agency to determine applicant and project eligibility, to score the application, and to conduct the technical evaluation, as applicable, in order to be considered. (1) Competition. The application dates published in Section IV.E. of this Notice, establishes the dates by which complete applications must be received, in order to compete for the funds available. (2) Grant applications. Information required for an application to be considered complete can be found in 7 CFR part 4280, subpart B. (a) Grant applications for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects with total project costs of $80,000 or less must provide information required by 7 CFR 4280.119. (b) Grant applications for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects with total projects PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 78031 costs of $200,000 or less, but more than $80,000, must provide information required by 7 CFR 4280.118. (c) Grant applications for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects with total projects costs of greater than $200,000 must provide information required by 7 CFR 4280.117. (d) Guaranteed loan applications for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects must provide information required by 7 CFR 4280.137. (e) Combined grant and guaranteed loan applications for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects must provide information required by 7 CFR 4280.165(c). (f) Applications for energy audits or renewable energy development assistance grants must provide information required by 7 CFR 4280.190. (3) Race, ethnicity, and gender. The Agency is requesting that each applicant provide race, ethnicity, and gender information about the applicant. The information will allow the Agency to evaluate its outreach efforts to underserved and under-represented populations. Applicants are encouraged to furnish this information with their application, but are not required to do so. An applicant’s eligibility or the likelihood of receiving an award will not be impacted by furnishing or not furnishing this information. (4) Hybrid projects. If the application is for a hybrid project, as defined in 7 CFR 4280.103, technical reports, as required under 7 CFR 4280.110(h)(1), must be prepared for each technology that comprises the hybrid project. (5) Multiple facilities. Applicants may submit a single application that proposes to apply the same renewable energy system (including the same hybrid project) or energy efficiency improvement across multiple facilities. For example, a rural small business owner owns five retail stores and wishes to install solar panels on each store. The rural small business owner may submit a single application for installing the solar panels on the five stores. However, if this same owner wishes to install solar panels on three of the five stores and wind turbines for the other two stores, the owner can only submit an application for either the solar panels or for the wind turbines in the same fiscal year. (6) Fiscal year 2014 Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement Applications. If an application for a project was submitted for the first time for fiscal year 2014 E:\FR\FM\29DEN1.SGM 29DEN1 78032 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Notices funding and that initial application was determined eligible, but was not funded, the Agency will consider that initial fiscal year 2014 application for funding in fiscal year 2015. The applicants that qualify under this paragraph will be allowed to provide additional information to document the environmental benefits scoring criterion without creating a new complete application date. If an applicant submitted the initial application on or prior to June 14, 2013, the applicant must submit a new application meeting the requirements of this Notice in order to be considered for fiscal year 2015 funds for that project and a new submission date of record will be established. D. System for Award Management (SAM) and Dun and Bradstreet Universal Number System (DUNS) Number. Unless exempt under 2 CFR 25.110, all applicants must: (1) Be registered in the SAM prior to submitting an application or plan; (2) Maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by the Agency; and (3) Provide its DUNS number in each application or plan it submits to the Agency. (4) At the time the Agency is ready to make an award, if the applicant has not complied with paragraph IV.A(1) through A(3), the Agency may determine the applicant is not eligible to receive the award. E. Submission Dates and Times. Grant applications, guaranteed loan-only applications, and combined grant and guaranteed loan applications for financial assistance under this subpart may be submitted at any time on an ongoing basis. When an application window closes, the next application window opens on the following day. This Notice establishes the deadline dates for the applications to be received in order to be considered for funding provided by the 2014 Farm Bill for fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2015. An application received after these dates will be considered with other applications received in the next application window. In order to be considered for funds under this Notice, complete applications must be received by the appropriate USDA Rural Development State Office or via grants.gov. The deadline for applications to be received to be considered for funding in fiscal year 2015 are outlined in the following paragraphs and also summarized in a table at the end of paragraph IV.E: (1) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications. The Agency is establishing two application deadline dates to facilitate the use of fiscal years 2014 and 2015 grant funds. Combination grant and guaranteed loan applications will compete for grant funds based on their grant score. The two dates that complete applications must be received by the Agency in order to compete for available funds are: (a) For applicants requesting $20,000 or less that wish to have their application compete for the ‘‘Grants of $20,000 or less set aside,’’ complete applications must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. local time on April 30, 2015. (b) For applicants requesting grant funds of either $20,000 or less, or grant funds over $20,000 (unrestricted), complete applications must be received no later than: (i) 4:30 p.m. local time on April 30, 2015, or (ii) 4:30 p.m. local time on June 30, 2015. (2) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan-only applications. Applications will be reviewed and processed when received with monthly competitions on the first business day of each month for those applications ready to be funded, however the first monthly competition will not take place until eight guaranteed loan only applications are received and ready to be competed. (3) Energy audits and renewable energy development assistance grant applications. Complete applications must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. local time on February 12, 2015. Application Application window opening dates Application window closing dates Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Grants ($20,000 or less not competing for set aside funds, Over $20,000 and Combinations). Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Grants ($20,000 or less not competing for set aside funds, Over $20,000 and Combinations). Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Grants ($20,000 or less competing for set aside funds). Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans .............. July 8, 2014 ................ April 30, 2015. May 1, 2015 ................ June 30, 2015.* July 8, 2014 ................ April 30, 2015. August 1, 2014 ............ Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants ..................................... December 29, 2014 .... Continuous application cycle. February 12, 2015.* tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES * Applications received after this date will be considered for the next cycle. F. Intergovernmental Review. REAP is not subject to Executive Order 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs. G. Funding Limitations. The following funding limitations apply to applications submitted under this Notice. (1) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement projects. (a) Applicants may apply for only one renewable energy system project and one energy efficiency improvement project in fiscal year 2015. (b) For renewable energy system grants, the minimum grant is $2,500 and VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:09 Dec 24, 2014 Jkt 235001 the maximum is $500,000. For energy efficiency improvement grants, the minimum grant is $1,500 and the maximum grant is $250,000. (c) For renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement loan guarantees, the minimum guaranteed loan amount is $5,000 and the maximum amount of a guaranteed loan to be provided to a borrower is $25 million. (d) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan and grant combination applications. Paragraphs IV.G(1)(b) and PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (c) contain the applicable maximum amounts and minimum amounts for grants and guaranteed loans. (2) Energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants. (a) Applicants may only submit one energy audit grant application and one renewable energy development assistance grant application for fiscal year 2015 funds. (b) The maximum aggregate amount of energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants awarded to any one recipient under this Notice cannot exceed $100,000 for fiscal year 2015. E:\FR\FM\29DEN1.SGM 29DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES (c) Public Law 113–79, commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill, mandates that the recipient of a grant that conducts an energy audit for an agricultural producer or a rural small business must require the agricultural producer or rural small business to pay at least 25 percent of the cost of the energy audit, which shall be retained by the eligible entity for the cost of the audit. (3) Maximum grant assistance to an entity. For the purposes of this Notice, the maximum amount of grant assistance to an entity will not exceed $750,000 for fiscal year 2015 based on the total amount of renewable energy system, energy efficiency improvement, energy audit, and renewable energy development assistance grants awarded to an entity under REAP. H. Other Submission Requirements and Information. (1) Environmental information. For the Agency to consider an application, the application must include all environmental review documents with supporting documentation in accordance with 7 CFR part 1940, subpart G. Applications for financial assistance for planning or management purposes are typically categorically excluded from the environmental review process by 7 CFR 1940.310(e)(1). Any required environmental review must be completed prior to obligation of funds or the approval of the application. (2) Original signatures. USDA Rural Development may request that the applicant provide original signatures on forms submitted through Grants.gov at a later date. (3) Transparency Act Reporting. All recipients of Federal financial assistance are required to report information about first-tier sub awards and executive compensation in accordance with 2 CFR part 170. So long as an entity applicant does not have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b), the applicant must have the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the reporting requirements should the applicant receive funding. See 2 CFR 170.200(b). V. Application Review Information A. Evaluation Criteria. All complete applications will be scored in accordance with 7 CFR 4280.120, 4280.135, and 4280.192. Applications for projects in rural areas with the lowest incomes where, according to the American Community Survey data by census, tracts show that at least 20 percent of the population is living in poverty will qualify for administrative points applicable under 7 CFR 4280.120(g). This emphasis will support Rural Development’s goal of providing VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:09 Dec 24, 2014 Jkt 235001 20 percent of its funding by 2016 to these areas of need. (1) Combined grant and guaranteed loan applications will be scored in accordance with 7 CFR 4280.120. (2) For hybrid applications, each technical report will be evaluated based on its own merit. B. Review and Selection Process. Grant-only applications, guaranteed loan-only applications, and combined grant and guaranteed loan applications for financial assistance may be submitted at any time. In order to be considered for funds, complete applications must be received by the appropriate USDA Rural Development State Office or via grants.gov, as identified in Section IV. E., of this Notice. (1) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants. Due to the competitive nature of this program, applications are competed based on submittal date. The submittal date is the date the Agency receives a complete application. The complete application date is the date the Agency receives the last piece of information that allows the Agency to determine eligibility and to score, rank, and compete the application for funding. (a) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants of $20,000 or less State funds. Funds will be allocated to the States. Applications must be submitted by April 30, 2015 in order to be considered for these set aside funds. All State allocated unused funds for grants of $20,000 or less will be pooled to the National Office. (b) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants of $20,000 or less national funds. All unfunded eligible applications for grants of $20,000 or less received by April 30, 2015, will be competed against other applications for grants of $20,000 or less from other States at a final national competition. Obligations of these funds will take place prior to June 30, 2015. (c) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant funds that can be awarded to any renewable energy system or energy efficiency improvement application, regardless of the amount of the funding request, will be allocated to the States. The State will award 50 percent of these funds for those complete applications the Agency receives by April 30, 2015, and 50 percent of the funds for those complete applications the Agency receives by June 30, 2015. All unused funds for grant funds will be pooled to the National Office. (d) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement national PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 78033 grant funds. All unfunded eligible applications for grants, which include grants of $20,000 or less, received by April 30, 2015, that are not funded by State allocations can be submitted to the National Office to compete against grant applications from other States at a final national competition. (2) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan funds. The National Office will maintain a reserve for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan funds. Applications will be reviewed and processed when received. Those applications that meet the Agency’s underwriting requirements, are credit worthy, and score a minimum of 50 points, will compete in national competitions for guaranteed loan funds on the first business day of each month. All unfunded eligible guaranteed loanonly applications received, that do not score at least 50 points will be competed against other guaranteed loan-only applications from other States at a final national competition, if the guaranteed loan reserves have not been completely depleted, on September 1, 2015. If funds remain after the final guaranteed loanonly national competition, the Agency may elect to utilize budget authority to fund additional grant-only. (3) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement combined grant and guaranteed loan applications will compete with grantonly applications for grant funds allocated to their State referenced in paragraph V.B(1)(c). If the application is ranked high enough to receive State allocated grant funds, the State will request guaranteed loan portion of any combined grant and guaranteed loan applications from the National Office guaranteed loan reserve, and no further competition will be required. (4) Energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grant funds will be maintained in a reserve at the National Office. The two highest scoring applications from each State, based on the scoring criteria established under § 4280.192, will compete for funding at a national competition. If funds remain after the energy audit and renewable energy development assistance national competition, the Agency may elect to transfer budget authority. The budget authority will be utilized to fund additional renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants from the National Office reserve after pooling. (5) If a State allocation is not sufficient to fund the total amount of a grant or combination application, the applicant must be notified that they may E:\FR\FM\29DEN1.SGM 29DEN1 78034 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES accept the remaining funds or submit the total request for National Office reserve funds available after pooling. If the applicant agrees to lower its grant request, the applicant must certify that the purposes of the project will be met and provide the remaining total funds needed to complete the project. If one or more grant or combination applications have the same score and remaining funds in the State allocation are insufficient to fully award all, the remaining funds must be divided proportionally between the applications. The applicant must be notified they may accept the proportional amount of funds or submit their total request for National Office reserve. If the applicant agrees to lower its grant request, the applicant must certify that the purposes of the project will be met and provide the remaining total funds needed to complete the project. At its discretion, the Agency may also elect to allow the remaining funds to be carried over to the next fiscal year rather than selecting a lower scoring application(s) or distributing funds on a pro-rata basis. C. Award Considerations. All awards will be on a discretionary basis. In determining the amount of a renewable energy system or energy efficiency improvement grant or loan guarantee, the Agency will consider the six criteria specified in 7 CFR 4280.114(e) or 7 CFR 4280.129(g), as applicable. D. Anticipated Announcement and Federal Award Dates. All awards should be completed by September 30, 2015. VI. Federal Award Administration Information A. Federal Award Notices. The Agency will award and administer renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants, guaranteed loans in accordance with 7 CFR 4280.122, and 7 CFR 4280.139, as applicable. The Agency will award and administer the energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants in accordance with 7 CFR 4280.195. Notification requirements of 7 CFR 4280.111, apply to this Notice. B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements. (1) Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination. The Agency will ensure that equal opportunity and nondiscrimination requirements are met in accordance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. 1691 et seq. and 7 CFR part 15d, Nondiscrimination in Programs and Activities Conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Agency will not discriminate VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:09 Dec 24, 2014 Jkt 235001 against applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or age (provided that the applicant has the capacity to contract); because all or part of the applicant’s income derives from any public assistance program; or because the applicant has in good faith exercised any right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq. (2) Civil Rights Compliance. Recipients of grants must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq., and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794. This may include collection and maintenance of data on the race, sex, and national origin of the recipient’s membership/ownership and employees. These data must be available to conduct compliance reviews in accordance with 7 CFR 1901.204. (3) Environmental Analysis. 7 CFR part 1940, subpart G or successor regulation outlines environmental procedures and requirements for this subpart. Prospective applicants are advised to contact the Agency to determine environmental requirements as soon as practicable after they decide to pursue any form of financial assistance directly or indirectly available through the Agency. (4) Appeals. A person may seek a review of an Agency decision or appeal to the National Appeals Division in accordance with 7 CFR 4280.105. C. Reporting. Reporting requirements will be in accordance with the Grant Agreement, 7 CFR 4280.123(j), 7 CFR 4280.143, 7 CFR 4280.196, as applicable. VII. Other Information A. Paperwork Reduction Act In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the information collection requirements associated with renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants and guaranteed loans, as covered in this Notice, has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB Control Number 0570–0050. The information collection requirements associated with energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants have also been approved by OMB under OMB Control Number 0570–0059. B. Nondiscrimination Statement The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because of all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720– 2600 (voice and TDD). If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/ complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632–9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250– 9410, by fax (202) 690–7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities and you wish to file a program complaint please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8339 or (800) 845– 6136 (in Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.’’ The full ‘‘Non-Discrimination Statement’’ is found at: http:// www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/ usdahome?navtype=FT&navid=Non_ Discrimination. Dated: December 18, 2014. Lillian E. Salerno, Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service. [FR Doc. 2014–30184 Filed 12–24–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–XY–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A–523–808] Certain Steel Nails From the Sultanate of Oman: Affirmative Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Postponement of Final Determination Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce. SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce (‘‘Department’’) preliminarily determines that certain steel nails AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\29DEN1.SGM 29DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 248 (Monday, December 29, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 78029-78034]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-30184]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Business-Cooperative Service


Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Rural Energy for 
America Program for Fiscal Year 2015

AGENCY: Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (Agency) announces the 
acceptance of applications under the Rural Energy for America Program 
(REAP) which is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small 
businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the 
Nation's critical energy needs. REAP has two types of funding 
assistance: Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements 
Assistance, and Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development 
Assistance Grants.
    The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement 
Assistance provides grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural 
producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable 
energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements to their 
operations. Eligible renewable energy systems for REAP provide energy 
from: Wind, solar, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), 
small hydro-electric, ocean, geothermal, or hydrogen derived from these 
renewable resources.
    The Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grant 
is available to a unit of State, Tribal, or local government; 
instrumentality of a State, Tribal, or local government; institution of 
higher education; rural electric cooperative; a public power entity; or 
a council, as defined in 16 U.S.C. 3451. The recipient of grant funds, 
(grantee), will establish a program to assist agricultural producers 
and rural small businesses with evaluating the energy efficiency and 
the potential to incorporated renewable energy technologies into their 
operations.

DATES: Grant applications, guaranteed loan-only applications, and 
combined grant and guaranteed loan applications for financial 
assistance under this subpart may be submitted at any time on an 
ongoing basis. Section IV. E., of this Notice establishes the deadline 
dates for the applications to be received in order to be considered for 
funding provided by Public Law 113-79, commonly referred to as the 2014 
Farm Bill Act, for fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2015. In summary:
    (1) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant 
applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications. 
There will be two application deadline dates to facilitate the use of 
fiscal years 2014 and 2015 grant funds. These dates apply to both 
fiscal year 2014 and 2015 grant funds.
    (a) For applicants requesting $20,000 or less that wish to have 
their application compete for the ``Grants of $20,000 or less set 
aside,'' complete applications must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. 
local time on April 30, 2015.
    (b) For applicants requesting grant funds of either $20,000 or 
less, or grant funds over $20,000 (unrestricted), complete applications 
must be received no later than:
    (i) 4:30 p.m. local time on April 30, 2015, or
    (ii) 4:30 p.m. local time on June 30, 2015.
    (2) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
guaranteed loan-only applications. Applications will be reviewed and 
processed when received with monthly competitions on the first business 
day of each month for those applications ready to be funded, however 
the first monthly competition will not take place until eight 
guaranteed loan only applications are received and ready to be 
competed.
    (3) Energy audits and renewable energy development assistance grant 
applications. Complete applications must be received no later than 4:30 
p.m. local time on February 12, 2015.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Application                Application window opening dates      Application window closing dates
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Renewable Energy Systems and Energy   July 8, 2014........................  April 30, 2015.
 Efficiency Improvement Grants (Over
 $20,000 and Combinations).
Renewable Energy Systems and Energy   May 1, 2015.........................  June 30, 2015.*
 Efficiency Improvement Grants
 ($20,000 or less not competing for
 set aside funds, Over $20,000 and
 Combinations).
Renewable Energy Systems and Energy   July 8, 2014........................  April 30, 2015.
 Efficiency Improvement Grants
 ($20,000 or less competing for set
 aside funds).
Renewable Energy Systems and Energy   August 1, 2014......................  Continuous application cycle.
 Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed
 Loans.
Energy Audit and Renewable Energy     December 29, 2014...................  February 12, 2015.*
 Development Assistance Grants.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Applications received after this date will be considered for the next cycle.


ADDRESSES: This solicitation is for agricultural producers and rural 
small businesses, as well as units of State, Tribal, or local 
government; instrumentalities of a State, Tribal, or local government; 
institutions of higher education; rural electric cooperatives; a public 
power entities; and Councils, as defined in 16 U.S.C. 3451, who serve 
agricultural producers and rural small businesses.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The applicable USDA Rural Development 
Energy Coordinator for your respective State, as identified via the 
following link: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_Energy_CoordinatorList.html.
    For information about this Notice, please contact Mr. Kelley 
Oehler, Branch Chief, USDA Rural Development, Energy Division, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250. Telephone: (202) 720-
6819. Email: kelley.oehler@wdc.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Program Description

    The REAP is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small 
businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the 
Nation's critical energy needs. REAP has two types of funding 
assistance: (1) Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency 
Improvements Assistance, and (2) Energy Audit and Renewable Energy 
Development Assistance Grants.
    A. General. Applications for REAP can be submitted on an ongoing 
basis.

[[Page 78030]]

This Notice announces the deadline dates to submit applications for the 
REAP funds provided by the Agricultural Act of 2014, Pub. L. 113-79, on 
February 7, 2014, (2014 Farm Bill) for fiscal year 2014, and fiscal 
year 2015, for: grants, guaranteed loans, and combined grants and 
guaranteed loans to purchase and install renewable energy systems, and 
make energy efficiency improvements; and for grants to conduct energy 
audits, and renewable energy development assistance.
    The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement 
Assistance provides grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural 
producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable 
energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements to their 
operations. Eligible renewable energy systems for REAP provide energy 
from: wind, solar, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), 
small hydro-electric, ocean, geothermal, or hydrogen derived from these 
renewable resources.
    The Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grant 
is available to a unit of State, Tribal, or local government; 
instrumentality of a State, Tribal, or local government; institution of 
higher education; rural electric cooperative; a public power entity; or 
a council, as define in 16 U.S.C. 3451. The recipient of grant funds, 
(grantee), will establish a program to assist agricultural producers 
and rural small businesses with evaluating the energy efficiency and 
the potential to incorporate renewable energy technologies into their 
operations.
    The administrative requirements applicable to each type of funding 
available under REAP are described in 7 CFR, part 4280, subpart B. The 
provisions specified in 7 CFR 4280.101 through 4280.111 apply to each 
funding type described in this Notice.
    B. Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement 
Project Grants. In addition to the other provisions of this Notice, the 
requirements specified in 7 CFR 4280.112 through 4280.124 apply to 
renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement project 
grants.
    C. Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement 
Project Guaranteed Loans. In addition to the other provisions of this 
Notice the requirements specified in 7 CFR 4280.125 through 4280.152, 
apply to guaranteed loans for renewable energy system and energy 
efficiency improvement projects. For fiscal year 2015, the guarantee 
fee amount is 1 percent of the guaranteed portion of the loan and the 
annual renewal fee is 0.250 percent (one-quarter of 1 percent) of the 
guaranteed portion of the loan.
    D. Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement 
Project Combined Grant and Guaranteed Loan Requests. In addition to the 
other provisions of this Notice, the requirements specified in 7 CFR 
4280.165 apply to a combined grant and guaranteed loan for renewable 
energy system and energy efficiency improvement projects.
    E. Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants. 
In addition to the other provisions of this Notice, the requirements 
specified in 7 CFR 4280.186 through 4280.196 apply to energy audit and 
renewable energy development assistance grants.

II. Federal Award Information

    A. Statutory Authority. This program is authorized under 7 U.S.C. 
8107.
    B. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number. 10.868.
    C. Funds Available. This Notice is announcing deadline dates for 
applications to be submitted for the REAP funds provided by the 2014 
Farm Bill for fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2015. This Notice is 
being published prior to the Congressional enactment of a full-year 
appropriation for fiscal year 2015. The Agency will continue to process 
applications received under this announcement and should REAP receive 
appropriated funds, these funds will be announced on the following Web 
site: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_Reap.html and subject to the same 
provisions in this Notice.
    (1) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
grant-only funds. For renewable energy system and energy efficiency 
improvement projects only, there will be an allocation of grant funds 
to each Rural Development State Office. The state allocations will 
include an allocation for grants of $20,000 or less funds and an 
allocation of grant funds that can be used to fund renewable energy 
system and energy efficiency improvement grants of either $20,000 or 
less or grants of more than $20,000, as well as the grant portion of a 
combination grant and guaranteed loan. The funds for grants of $20,000 
or less can only be used to fund grants requesting $20,000 or less.
    (a) To ensure that small projects have a fair opportunity to 
compete for the funding and are consistent with the priorities set 
forth in the statute, the Agency will set-aside 20 percent of the 
fiscal year 2015 funds until June 30, 2015, to fund grants of $20,000 
or less.
    (b) Grant funds available for renewable energy system and energy 
efficiency improvement in fiscal year 2015, regardless of the amount of 
funding requested, will consist of both fiscal years 2014 and 2015 
funds.
    (2) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement loan 
guarantee funds. Rural Development's National Office will maintain a 
reserve of grant and guaranteed loan funds. The amount of loan 
guarantee program level available will consist of both fiscal years 
2014 and 2015 funds.
    (3) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
guaranteed loan and grant combination funds. The amount of funds 
available for guaranteed loan and grant combination applications are 
outlined in paragraphs II.C(1)(b) and C(2).
    (4) Energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grant 
funds. The amount of funds available for energy audits and renewable 
energy development assistance in fiscal year 2015 will be 4 percent of 
fiscal year 2015 mandatory funds. Obligations of these funds will take 
place through March 31, 2015. Any unobligated balances will be moved to 
the renewable energy subsidy account as of April 1, 2015. These funds 
may be utilized in any of the renewable energy system and energy 
efficiency improvement national competitions.
    D. Approximate Number of Awards. The estimated number of awards is 
2,000, but will depend on amount of funds made available and on the 
number of eligible applicants participating in this program.
    E. Type of Instrument. Grant, guaranteed loan, and grant/guaranteed 
loan combinations.

III. Eligibility Information

    A. Eligible Applicants. To be eligible for the grant portion of the 
program, an applicant must meet the requirements specified in 7 CFR 
4280.109, 7 CFR 4280.110, and 7 CFR 4280.112, or 7 CFR 4280.186, as 
applicable.
    B. Eligible Lenders and Borrowers. To be eligible for the 
guaranteed portion of the program, lenders and borrowers must meet the 
eligibility requirements in 7 CFR 4280.125 and 7 CFR 4280.127, as 
applicable.
    C. Eligible Projects. To be eligible for this program, a project 
must meet the eligibility requirements specified in 7 CFR 4280.113, 7 
CFR 4280.128, and 7 CFR 4280.187, as applicable.
    D. Cost Sharing or Matching. The 2014 Farm Bill, formally Public 
Law 113-79, mandates the maximum percentages of funding that REAP can

[[Page 78031]]

provide. Within the maximum funding amounts specified in this Notice:
    (1) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
funding approved for guaranteed loan-only requests and for combination 
guaranteed loan and grant requests will not exceed 75 percent of 
eligible project costs, with any grant portion not to exceed 25 percent 
of total eligible project costs, whether the grant is part of a 
combination request or is a grant-only.
    (2) Under the energy audit and renewable energy development 
assistance grants, a grantee that conducts energy audits must require 
that, as a condition of providing the energy audit, the agricultural 
producer or rural small business pay at least 25 percent of the cost of 
the energy audit.
    E. Other. The definitions applicable to this Notice are published 
at 7 CFR 4280.103. Ineligible project costs can be found in 7 CFR 
4280.114(d), 7 CFR 4280.129(f), and 7 CFR 4280.188(c), as applicable.

IV. Application and Submission Information

    A. Address to Request Application. Application materials may be 
obtained by contacting one of Rural Development's Energy Coordinators, 
as identified via the following link: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_Energy_CoordinatorList.html.
    In addition, for grant applications, applicants may obtain 
electronic grant applications for REAP from http://www.Grants.gov. When 
you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about 
submitting an application electronically through the site. To use 
Grants.gov, all applicants must have a DUNS number (unless the 
applicant is an individual), which can be obtained at no cost via a 
toll-free request line at 1 (866) 705-5711 or online at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. USDA Rural Development strongly recommends that 
applicants do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the 
application process through Grants.gov.
    B. Application Submittal.
    (1) Grant applications. All grant applications may be submitted 
either as hard copy to the appropriate Rural Development Energy 
Coordinator or electronically using the Government-wide Grants.gov Web 
site. When submitting an application as hard copy, applicants must 
submit one original.
    (a) All renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
applications are to be submitted to the USDA Rural Development Energy 
Coordinator in the State in which the applicant's proposed project is 
located.
    (b) All energy audit and renewable energy development assistance 
applications are to be submitted to the USDA Rural Development Energy 
Coordinator in the State in which the applicant is headquartered. A 
list of USDA Rural Development Energy Coordinators is available via the 
following link: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_Energy_CoordinatorList.html.
    (c) For grant-only applicants submitting their electronic 
applications to the Agency via the Grants.gov Web site may download a 
copy of the application package to complete it off line and then upload 
and submit the application via the Grants.gov site, including all 
information typically included in the application, and all necessary 
assurances and certifications. After electronically submitting an 
application through the Web site, the applicant will receive an 
automated acknowledgement from Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov 
tracking number.
    (2) Guaranteed loan applications. Guaranteed loan-only applications 
(i.e., those that are not part of a guaranteed loan/grant combination 
request) must be submitted as hard copy.
    (3) Guaranteed loan and grant combination applications. 
Applications for guaranteed loans/grants (combination applications) 
must be submitted as hard copy.
    C. Content and Form of Application Submission. Applicants seeking 
to participate in this program must submit applications in accordance 
with this Notice and 7 CFR part 4280, subpart B. Applicants must submit 
complete applications containing all parts necessary for the Agency to 
determine applicant and project eligibility, to score the application, 
and to conduct the technical evaluation, as applicable, in order to be 
considered.
    (1) Competition. The application dates published in Section IV.E. 
of this Notice, establishes the dates by which complete applications 
must be received, in order to compete for the funds available.
    (2) Grant applications. Information required for an application to 
be considered complete can be found in 7 CFR part 4280, subpart B.
    (a) Grant applications for renewable energy systems and energy 
efficiency improvement projects with total project costs of $80,000 or 
less must provide information required by 7 CFR 4280.119.
    (b) Grant applications for renewable energy systems and energy 
efficiency improvement projects with total projects costs of $200,000 
or less, but more than $80,000, must provide information required by 7 
CFR 4280.118.
    (c) Grant applications for renewable energy systems and energy 
efficiency improvement projects with total projects costs of greater 
than $200,000 must provide information required by 7 CFR 4280.117.
    (d) Guaranteed loan applications for renewable energy systems and 
energy efficiency improvement projects must provide information 
required by 7 CFR 4280.137.
    (e) Combined grant and guaranteed loan applications for renewable 
energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects must provide 
information required by 7 CFR 4280.165(c).
    (f) Applications for energy audits or renewable energy development 
assistance grants must provide information required by 7 CFR 4280.190.
    (3) Race, ethnicity, and gender. The Agency is requesting that each 
applicant provide race, ethnicity, and gender information about the 
applicant. The information will allow the Agency to evaluate its 
outreach efforts to under-served and under-represented populations. 
Applicants are encouraged to furnish this information with their 
application, but are not required to do so. An applicant's eligibility 
or the likelihood of receiving an award will not be impacted by 
furnishing or not furnishing this information.
    (4) Hybrid projects. If the application is for a hybrid project, as 
defined in 7 CFR 4280.103, technical reports, as required under 7 CFR 
4280.110(h)(1), must be prepared for each technology that comprises the 
hybrid project.
    (5) Multiple facilities. Applicants may submit a single application 
that proposes to apply the same renewable energy system (including the 
same hybrid project) or energy efficiency improvement across multiple 
facilities. For example, a rural small business owner owns five retail 
stores and wishes to install solar panels on each store. The rural 
small business owner may submit a single application for installing the 
solar panels on the five stores. However, if this same owner wishes to 
install solar panels on three of the five stores and wind turbines for 
the other two stores, the owner can only submit an application for 
either the solar panels or for the wind turbines in the same fiscal 
year.
    (6) Fiscal year 2014 Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency 
Improvement Applications. If an application for a project was submitted 
for the first time for fiscal year 2014

[[Page 78032]]

funding and that initial application was determined eligible, but was 
not funded, the Agency will consider that initial fiscal year 2014 
application for funding in fiscal year 2015. The applicants that 
qualify under this paragraph will be allowed to provide additional 
information to document the environmental benefits scoring criterion 
without creating a new complete application date. If an applicant 
submitted the initial application on or prior to June 14, 2013, the 
applicant must submit a new application meeting the requirements of 
this Notice in order to be considered for fiscal year 2015 funds for 
that project and a new submission date of record will be established.
    D. System for Award Management (SAM) and Dun and Bradstreet 
Universal Number System (DUNS) Number. Unless exempt under 2 CFR 
25.110, all applicants must:
    (1) Be registered in the SAM prior to submitting an application or 
plan;
    (2) Maintain an active SAM registration with current information at 
all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application 
or plan under consideration by the Agency; and
    (3) Provide its DUNS number in each application or plan it submits 
to the Agency.
    (4) At the time the Agency is ready to make an award, if the 
applicant has not complied with paragraph IV.A(1) through A(3), the 
Agency may determine the applicant is not eligible to receive the 
award.
    E. Submission Dates and Times. Grant applications, guaranteed loan-
only applications, and combined grant and guaranteed loan applications 
for financial assistance under this subpart may be submitted at any 
time on an ongoing basis. When an application window closes, the next 
application window opens on the following day. This Notice establishes 
the deadline dates for the applications to be received in order to be 
considered for funding provided by the 2014 Farm Bill for fiscal year 
2014 and fiscal year 2015. An application received after these dates 
will be considered with other applications received in the next 
application window. In order to be considered for funds under this 
Notice, complete applications must be received by the appropriate USDA 
Rural Development State Office or via grants.gov. The deadline for 
applications to be received to be considered for funding in fiscal year 
2015 are outlined in the following paragraphs and also summarized in a 
table at the end of paragraph IV.E:
    (1) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant 
applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications. 
The Agency is establishing two application deadline dates to facilitate 
the use of fiscal years 2014 and 2015 grant funds. Combination grant 
and guaranteed loan applications will compete for grant funds based on 
their grant score. The two dates that complete applications must be 
received by the Agency in order to compete for available funds are:
    (a) For applicants requesting $20,000 or less that wish to have 
their application compete for the ``Grants of $20,000 or less set 
aside,'' complete applications must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. 
local time on April 30, 2015.
    (b) For applicants requesting grant funds of either $20,000 or 
less, or grant funds over $20,000 (unrestricted), complete applications 
must be received no later than:
    (i) 4:30 p.m. local time on April 30, 2015, or
    (ii) 4:30 p.m. local time on June 30, 2015.
    (2) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
guaranteed loan-only applications. Applications will be reviewed and 
processed when received with monthly competitions on the first business 
day of each month for those applications ready to be funded, however 
the first monthly competition will not take place until eight 
guaranteed loan only applications are received and ready to be 
competed.
    (3) Energy audits and renewable energy development assistance grant 
applications. Complete applications must be received no later than 4:30 
p.m. local time on February 12, 2015.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Application                Application window opening dates      Application window closing dates
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Renewable Energy Systems and Energy   July 8, 2014........................  April 30, 2015.
 Efficiency Improvement Grants
 ($20,000 or less not competing for
 set aside funds, Over $20,000 and
 Combinations).
Renewable Energy Systems and Energy   May 1, 2015.........................  June 30, 2015.*
 Efficiency Improvement Grants
 ($20,000 or less not competing for
 set aside funds, Over $20,000 and
 Combinations).
Renewable Energy Systems and Energy   July 8, 2014........................  April 30, 2015.
 Efficiency Improvement Grants
 ($20,000 or less competing for set
 aside funds).
Renewable Energy Systems and Energy   August 1, 2014......................  Continuous application cycle.
 Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed
 Loans.
Energy Audit and Renewable Energy     December 29, 2014...................  February 12, 2015.*
 Development Assistance Grants.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Applications received after this date will be considered for the next cycle.

    F. Intergovernmental Review. REAP is not subject to Executive Order 
12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.
    G. Funding Limitations. The following funding limitations apply to 
applications submitted under this Notice.
    (1) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
projects.
    (a) Applicants may apply for only one renewable energy system 
project and one energy efficiency improvement project in fiscal year 
2015.
    (b) For renewable energy system grants, the minimum grant is $2,500 
and the maximum is $500,000. For energy efficiency improvement grants, 
the minimum grant is $1,500 and the maximum grant is $250,000.
    (c) For renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
loan guarantees, the minimum guaranteed loan amount is $5,000 and the 
maximum amount of a guaranteed loan to be provided to a borrower is $25 
million.
    (d) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
guaranteed loan and grant combination applications. Paragraphs 
IV.G(1)(b) and (c) contain the applicable maximum amounts and minimum 
amounts for grants and guaranteed loans.
    (2) Energy audit and renewable energy development assistance 
grants.
    (a) Applicants may only submit one energy audit grant application 
and one renewable energy development assistance grant application for 
fiscal year 2015 funds.
    (b) The maximum aggregate amount of energy audit and renewable 
energy development assistance grants awarded to any one recipient under 
this Notice cannot exceed $100,000 for fiscal year 2015.

[[Page 78033]]

    (c) Public Law 113-79, commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill, 
mandates that the recipient of a grant that conducts an energy audit 
for an agricultural producer or a rural small business must require the 
agricultural producer or rural small business to pay at least 25 
percent of the cost of the energy audit, which shall be retained by the 
eligible entity for the cost of the audit.
    (3) Maximum grant assistance to an entity. For the purposes of this 
Notice, the maximum amount of grant assistance to an entity will not 
exceed $750,000 for fiscal year 2015 based on the total amount of 
renewable energy system, energy efficiency improvement, energy audit, 
and renewable energy development assistance grants awarded to an entity 
under REAP.
    H. Other Submission Requirements and Information.
    (1) Environmental information. For the Agency to consider an 
application, the application must include all environmental review 
documents with supporting documentation in accordance with 7 CFR part 
1940, subpart G. Applications for financial assistance for planning or 
management purposes are typically categorically excluded from the 
environmental review process by 7 CFR 1940.310(e)(1). Any required 
environmental review must be completed prior to obligation of funds or 
the approval of the application.
    (2) Original signatures. USDA Rural Development may request that 
the applicant provide original signatures on forms submitted through 
Grants.gov at a later date.
    (3) Transparency Act Reporting. All recipients of Federal financial 
assistance are required to report information about first-tier sub 
awards and executive compensation in accordance with 2 CFR part 170. So 
long as an entity applicant does not have an exception under 2 CFR 
170.110(b), the applicant must have the necessary processes and systems 
in place to comply with the reporting requirements should the applicant 
receive funding. See 2 CFR 170.200(b).

V. Application Review Information

    A. Evaluation Criteria. All complete applications will be scored in 
accordance with 7 CFR 4280.120, 4280.135, and 4280.192. Applications 
for projects in rural areas with the lowest incomes where, according to 
the American Community Survey data by census, tracts show that at least 
20 percent of the population is living in poverty will qualify for 
administrative points applicable under 7 CFR 4280.120(g). This emphasis 
will support Rural Development's goal of providing 20 percent of its 
funding by 2016 to these areas of need.
    (1) Combined grant and guaranteed loan applications will be scored 
in accordance with 7 CFR 4280.120.
    (2) For hybrid applications, each technical report will be 
evaluated based on its own merit.
    B. Review and Selection Process. Grant-only applications, 
guaranteed loan-only applications, and combined grant and guaranteed 
loan applications for financial assistance may be submitted at any 
time. In order to be considered for funds, complete applications must 
be received by the appropriate USDA Rural Development State Office or 
via grants.gov, as identified in Section IV. E., of this Notice.
    (1) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
grants. Due to the competitive nature of this program, applications are 
competed based on submittal date. The submittal date is the date the 
Agency receives a complete application. The complete application date 
is the date the Agency receives the last piece of information that 
allows the Agency to determine eligibility and to score, rank, and 
compete the application for funding.
    (a) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
grants of $20,000 or less State funds. Funds will be allocated to the 
States. Applications must be submitted by April 30, 2015 in order to be 
considered for these set aside funds. All State allocated unused funds 
for grants of $20,000 or less will be pooled to the National Office.
    (b) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
grants of $20,000 or less national funds. All unfunded eligible 
applications for grants of $20,000 or less received by April 30, 2015, 
will be competed against other applications for grants of $20,000 or 
less from other States at a final national competition. Obligations of 
these funds will take place prior to June 30, 2015.
    (c) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant 
funds that can be awarded to any renewable energy system or energy 
efficiency improvement application, regardless of the amount of the 
funding request, will be allocated to the States. The State will award 
50 percent of these funds for those complete applications the Agency 
receives by April 30, 2015, and 50 percent of the funds for those 
complete applications the Agency receives by June 30, 2015. All unused 
funds for grant funds will be pooled to the National Office.
    (d) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
national grant funds. All unfunded eligible applications for grants, 
which include grants of $20,000 or less, received by April 30, 2015, 
that are not funded by State allocations can be submitted to the 
National Office to compete against grant applications from other States 
at a final national competition.
    (2) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
guaranteed loan funds. The National Office will maintain a reserve for 
renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed 
loan funds. Applications will be reviewed and processed when received. 
Those applications that meet the Agency's underwriting requirements, 
are credit worthy, and score a minimum of 50 points, will compete in 
national competitions for guaranteed loan funds on the first business 
day of each month. All unfunded eligible guaranteed loan-only 
applications received, that do not score at least 50 points will be 
competed against other guaranteed loan-only applications from other 
States at a final national competition, if the guaranteed loan reserves 
have not been completely depleted, on September 1, 2015. If funds 
remain after the final guaranteed loan-only national competition, the 
Agency may elect to utilize budget authority to fund additional grant-
only.
    (3) Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement 
combined grant and guaranteed loan applications will compete with 
grant-only applications for grant funds allocated to their State 
referenced in paragraph V.B(1)(c). If the application is ranked high 
enough to receive State allocated grant funds, the State will request 
guaranteed loan portion of any combined grant and guaranteed loan 
applications from the National Office guaranteed loan reserve, and no 
further competition will be required.
    (4) Energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grant 
funds will be maintained in a reserve at the National Office. The two 
highest scoring applications from each State, based on the scoring 
criteria established under Sec.  4280.192, will compete for funding at 
a national competition. If funds remain after the energy audit and 
renewable energy development assistance national competition, the 
Agency may elect to transfer budget authority. The budget authority 
will be utilized to fund additional renewable energy system and energy 
efficiency improvement grants from the National Office reserve after 
pooling.
    (5) If a State allocation is not sufficient to fund the total 
amount of a grant or combination application, the applicant must be 
notified that they may

[[Page 78034]]

accept the remaining funds or submit the total request for National 
Office reserve funds available after pooling. If the applicant agrees 
to lower its grant request, the applicant must certify that the 
purposes of the project will be met and provide the remaining total 
funds needed to complete the project.
    If one or more grant or combination applications have the same 
score and remaining funds in the State allocation are insufficient to 
fully award all, the remaining funds must be divided proportionally 
between the applications. The applicant must be notified they may 
accept the proportional amount of funds or submit their total request 
for National Office reserve. If the applicant agrees to lower its grant 
request, the applicant must certify that the purposes of the project 
will be met and provide the remaining total funds needed to complete 
the project.
    At its discretion, the Agency may also elect to allow the remaining 
funds to be carried over to the next fiscal year rather than selecting 
a lower scoring application(s) or distributing funds on a pro-rata 
basis.
    C. Award Considerations. All awards will be on a discretionary 
basis. In determining the amount of a renewable energy system or energy 
efficiency improvement grant or loan guarantee, the Agency will 
consider the six criteria specified in 7 CFR 4280.114(e) or 7 CFR 
4280.129(g), as applicable.
    D. Anticipated Announcement and Federal Award Dates. All awards 
should be completed by September 30, 2015.

VI. Federal Award Administration Information

    A. Federal Award Notices. The Agency will award and administer 
renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants, 
guaranteed loans in accordance with 7 CFR 4280.122, and 7 CFR 4280.139, 
as applicable. The Agency will award and administer the energy audit 
and renewable energy development assistance grants in accordance with 7 
CFR 4280.195. Notification requirements of 7 CFR 4280.111, apply to 
this Notice.
    B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements.
    (1) Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination. The Agency will ensure 
that equal opportunity and nondiscrimination requirements are met in 
accordance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. 1691 et 
seq. and 7 CFR part 15d, Nondiscrimination in Programs and Activities 
Conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Agency will not 
discriminate against applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, 
national origin, sex, marital status, or age (provided that the 
applicant has the capacity to contract); because all or part of the 
applicant's income derives from any public assistance program; or 
because the applicant has in good faith exercised any right under the 
Consumer Credit Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.
    (2) Civil Rights Compliance. Recipients of grants must comply with 
the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., 
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq., and 
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794. This may 
include collection and maintenance of data on the race, sex, and 
national origin of the recipient's membership/ownership and employees. 
These data must be available to conduct compliance reviews in 
accordance with 7 CFR 1901.204.
    (3) Environmental Analysis. 7 CFR part 1940, subpart G or successor 
regulation outlines environmental procedures and requirements for this 
subpart. Prospective applicants are advised to contact the Agency to 
determine environmental requirements as soon as practicable after they 
decide to pursue any form of financial assistance directly or 
indirectly available through the Agency.
    (4) Appeals. A person may seek a review of an Agency decision or 
appeal to the National Appeals Division in accordance with 7 CFR 
4280.105.
    C. Reporting. Reporting requirements will be in accordance with the 
Grant Agreement, 7 CFR 4280.123(j), 7 CFR 4280.143, 7 CFR 4280.196, as 
applicable.

VII. Other Information

A. Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the 
information collection requirements associated with renewable energy 
system and energy efficiency improvement grants and guaranteed loans, 
as covered in this Notice, has been approved by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB Control Number 0570-0050. The 
information collection requirements associated with energy audit and 
renewable energy development assistance grants have also been approved 
by OMB under OMB Control Number 0570-0059.

B. Nondiscrimination Statement

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination 
in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, 
national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital 
status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, 
genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because of all or 
part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance 
program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with 
disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program 
information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact 
USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
    If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of 
discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint 
Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-
9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of 
the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint 
form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at 
program.intake@usda.gov. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or 
have speech disabilities and you wish to file a program complaint 
please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 
or (800) 845-6136 (in Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider 
and employer.'' The full ``Non-Discrimination Statement'' is found at: 
http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navtype=FT&navid=Non_Discrimination.

    Dated: December 18, 2014.
Lillian E. Salerno,
Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-30184 Filed 12-24-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-XY-P