USDA Revises Renewable Energy Loan Guarantees
On December 29, 2014, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the final rule for the Rural Energy
for America Program (REAP). REAP is intended to help mainly
businesses, as well as some state, local, and tribal governments develop solar,
wind, and biomass projects. This new rule will change the requirements for
those applying for funding from the grant and loan guarantees for renewable
energy and energy efficiency improvements in rural areas. There is now a
three-tiered application process based on the total project cost for funding
that reduces the technical reporting requirements of the previous system. The
final rule also modifies scoring criteria for renewable energy and energy
efficiency improvement projects, and creates deadline dates for grant and
guaranteed loan applications. USDA estimates that this rule will have net cost
savings of approximately ten million dollars as a result of decreased costs in
program implementation. This final rule becomes effective on February 12, 2015.