Notice of Available Funding and Grant Application Deadlines
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces the availability of $17,531,000 in grant funds and solicitation of applications for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 competition.
Household Water Well System Grant Program Announcement of Application Deadlines and Funding
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces the availability of $917,221 in grant funds to be competitively awarded for the Household Water Well System (HWWS) Grant Program for fiscal year 2013 (FY 2013). RUS will make grants to qualified private non-profit organizations to establish lending programs for homeowners to borrow up to $11,000 to construct or repair household water wells for an existing home. The HWWS Grant Program is authorized under 7 USC 1926e. Regulations may be found at 7 CFR part 1776. Of particular note this year, the RUS, in an effort to address the extreme drought conditions in rural areas, will assign administrative discretion points to applications proposing to serve areas with severe, extreme or exceptional drought, as reported by the U.S. Drought Monitor located at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/.
Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines
The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces its Community Connect Grant Program application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. In addition, RUS announces the minimum and maximum amounts for Community Connect grants applicable for the fiscal year. The Community Connect Grant Program regulations can be found at 7 CFR 1739, subpart A.
Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Restart of Healy Power Plant Unit #2
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service (RUS), has issued a Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement (SFEIS) for the restart of Healy Power Plant's Unit 2 in Healy, Alaska. The (SFEIS) supplements a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), completed by the Department of Energy (DOE) in 1993 to evaluate potential impacts to the human environment from DOE's proposal to partially fund construction of Unit 2 of the Healy Power Plant to demonstrate emissions control technologies. In 1994, the DOE published a Record of Decision (ROD) for their FEIS in the Federal Register, Volume 59, Issue 54 (March 21, 1994). In 1997, Healy Unit 2 was constructed as a major modification to the existing Healy Power Plant's Unit 1, using funding from DOE and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA). Healy Unit 1 is a 25 megawatt (MW) coal-fired boiler that has been owned and operated by Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) since 1967. Healy Unit 2 is a 50 MW coal-fired steam generator owned by AIDEA, which underwent test operation for two years as part of DOE's project. Unit 2 has been in warm layup since late 1999. The SFEIS updates information in DOE's FEIS and considers impacts of restarting Unit 2 for commercial operation. The SFEIS is available for a 30-day public review and comment period. Subsequent to the comment period RUS may issue a ROD.
Project Financing Loans
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS or Agency) is considering regulatory reforms to codify statutory changes related to ``project financing'' requirements to advance the agency's rural development mission and improve its ability to finance electric infrastructure projects, including those that use renewable sources of energy. RUS is also considering regulations to clarify the agency's procedures for single asset/project financing arrangements for all RUS eligible projects. This advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeks comments on the parameters necessary to more effectively and prudently use project financing in the RUS electric loan program and will serve several purposes. It will assist the agency to gather information and comments about its ability to make loans for renewable electric generation even where the consumers may be non-rural residents. It will help develop a record on industry standards and public recommendations related to financing arrangements and collateral requirements which could be used to implement a focused Project Financing Program (PFP) for investments in electric generation, transmission, and distribution facilities, including plant necessary for generating electricity from renewable energy sources. It will also help the agency better understand the potential demand for financing utilizing either or both of the aforementioned authorities, collect comments from potential applicants and co-lenders on PFP, terms, and renewable energy financing as well as help inform the public about federal financing options available through the RUS Electric Loan Program. The RUS is also announcing a public meeting for interested parties to express their views on the opportunities and challenges related to the use of the agency's authority for electric generation from renewable energy sources and project financing within the electric utility sector.
Rural Determination and Financing Percentage
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS or Agency) is proposing policies and procedures for determining rural eligibility for all loans and loan guarantee financial assistance. In addition, policies and procedures are proposed for determining the percentage of total project costs the Agency will finance where the project supplies electricity to an electric utility serving an area that is less than 100 percent rural. By codifying these policies and procedures the agency will provide needed flexibility in the methods utilized to determine eligibility and percentage of financing.
Announcement of Grant and Loan Application Deadlines and Funding Levels
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces its Revolving Fund Program (RFP) application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. In addition to announcing the application window, RUS announces the available funding of $923,686 and maximum amounts for RFP competitive grants for the fiscal year. The RFP is authorized under section 306(a)(2)(B) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (Con Act), 7 U.S.C. 1926 (a)(2)(B). Under the RFP, qualified private, non-profit organizations receive RFP grant funds to establish a lending program for eligible entities. Eligible entities for the revolving loan fund will be the same entities eligible, under paragraph 1 or 2 of Section 306(a) of the Con Act, 7 U.S.C. 1926(1) or (2), to obtain a loan, loan guarantee, or grant from the RUS Water, Waste Disposal and Wastewater loan and grant programs.