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U.S. Department of Agriculture: Assistance to High Energy Cost Communities

Deadline: June 24, 2019

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) provides grant assistance for energy facilities, including renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements, serving extremely high energy cost communities. The purpose of this program is to provide financial assistance for a broad range of energy facilities, equipment, and related activities to offset the impact of extremely high home energy costs on eligible communities. The grants help communities provide basic energy needs by financing energy infrastructure supporting rural prosperity and job creation.

Grant funds may not be used to pay utility bills or to purchase fuel. Nor may grant funds be used for education and outreach except for training that is directly related to energy facilities financed in all or part by this program. Upgrades to existing facilities are also eligible. Grant projects under this program must serve an eligible community and not be for the primary benefit of an individual applicant, household, or business.

Priorities include:

  • Projects that assist U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) High Poverty Areas. High Poverty Areas are defined as communities in counties that have a reported poverty rate of 20% or higher (“High Poverty”); or Persistent Poverty by the USDA Economic Research Service “Geography of Poverty” webpage: https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/rural-economy-population/rural-poverty-well-being/#geography; or that are located in a county with at least one census tract with a poverty rate of 20 percent or more using data from the American Community Survey (ACS) that can be accessed through: http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml. See solicitation for more details.
  • Projects that serve small rural communities.
  • Projects that incorporate commercially proven waste heat recovery technology.
  • Projects that result in not less than a 25% increase in energy efficiency for generation assets, this includes re-powering aging diesel plants.
  • Projects that address extraordinary circumstances affecting the eligible high energy cost community such as a disaster, imminent hazard, unserved areas, and other economic hardship.
  • Projects that serve Substantially Underserved Trust Areas. Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) are defined as communities located on “trust lands” (e.g., an Indian Reservation, Hawaiian Homelands, Alaska Regional or Village Corporation lands, or other lands held in trust by or subject to restrictions imposed by the United States) that “lack an adequate level or quality of service.” See solicitation for more details.

Amount: Approximately $10,000,000 is available to make awards ranging from $100,000-$3,000,000.

Eligibility: A legally-organized for-profit or nonprofit organization such as, but not limited to, a corporation, association, partnership (including a limited liability partnership), cooperative, or trust; a sole proprietorship; a State or local government, or any agency or instrumentality of a State or local government, including a municipal utility or public power authority; an Indian tribe, a tribally-owned entity, or and Alaska Native Corporation; an individual or group of individuals applying on behalf of unincorporated community associations, and not for the primary benefit of a single household or business; or any of the above entities located in a U.S. Territory or other area authorized by law to participate in RUS programs.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=313993

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