USDAs Rural Utilities Service High Energy Cost Grant Program offers financial assistance to provide or improve energy generation, transmission, and distribution facilities serving rural communities with home energy costs exceeding 275 percent of the national average.
Applications must meet
eligibility requirements for applicants, project activities, beneficiary communities to qualify under this program Applicants must demonstrate that the grant project target community qualifies as an extremely high energy cost community under one or more eligibility benchmarks.
These extremely high energy cost benchmarks are set at 275 percent of average per unit costs for home energy or average annual household expenditures by fuel or for total energy and are derived from U. S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration surveys.
Eligibility benchmarks for 2010 are as follows:
$ 0. 264 per kilowatt hour, or $3,010 (average total household costs) per year; Natural gas; $3 0. 30 per thousand cubic feet, or $1,988per year; Fuel oil:
$ 5. 54 per gallon, or $3,921 per year; LPG/propane:
$ 5. 10 per gallon, or $2,255 per year; Total household energy:
$5 1. 62 per million Btus, or $4,860per year.
Eligible purposes include the acquisition, construction, installation, repair, replacement, or improvement of energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities in high energy cost communities.
On-grid and off-grid renewable energy projects, and implementation of energy efficiency, and energy conservation projects are eligible.
An activity that meets the objectives of providing or improving energy service, or reducing the costs of energy services to eligible communities is an acceptable grant purpose.
Examples of eligible project activities include the acquisition, construction, installation, replacement, repair, or improvement of:
(1) Electric generation, transmission, and distribution facilities, equipment, and materials, including associated and supporting activities, land or right of way acquisition, engineering or professional expenses, and permitting costs;(2) Natural gas distribution or storage facilities and associated equipment;(3) Petroleum product storage and handling facilities;(4) Renewable energy facilities and equipment for power generation, or water, space, or process heating (renewable energy sources include solar, wind, hydropower, and biomass technologies); and(5) Backup or emergency power generation or energy storage equipment, included distributed generation installed on consumer premises.
Grant funds may not be used for:
payment of utility bills, fuel purchases, routine maintenance or other routine operating costs, or for the purchase of any equipment, structures, or real estate not directly associated with provision of community energy services, or for the preparation of the grant application.
All timely and complete applications will be reviewed, scored, and ranked by an Agency rating panel according to the published evaluation criteria in the NOFA.
Priority consideration is given to communities experiencing economic hardship and to rural communities based on population.
Grant awards will be selected competitively based on rank order, and panel recommendations.
All awards are subject to the availability of appropriated funds.