USDA Rural Energy for America Program Guide

GLOSSARY


Commercially-available technology:
The 4280-B regulations define this as "A system that has a proven operating history specific to the proposed application. Such a system is based on established design, and installation procedures and practices. Professional service providers, trades, large construction equipment providers, and labor are familiar with installation procedures and practices. Proprietary and balance of system equipment and spare parts are readily available. Service is readily available to properly maintain and operate the system. An established warranty exists for parts, labor, and performance." The 2009 NOFA specifies that applicants "must provide evidence that professional service providers, trades, large construction equipment providers and labor are readily available domestically and familiar with installation procedures and practices, and spare parts and service are readily available in the U.S. to properly maintain and operate the system. All warranties must be valid in the U.S."

DUNS number application: There are two ways to obtain a DUNS number: (1) Call D&B at 1-800-333-0505, which takes 10 minutes, or (2) Visit the D&B website at https://www.dnb.com/product/eupdate/requestOptions.html, which takes up to 14 business days to complete. If you choose to call D&B, use the following instructions:

  • Enter "3" to register your business and obtain a DUNS number
  • Enter "2" for assistance
  • Enter "1" to create a new listing
  • Enter "1" for Federal Registration. (You do not have to buy the Credit Builder Service that may be mentioned at this point.
  • Provide the following information:
  • Name of business
  • Business address
  • Local phone number
  • Name of CEO/Owner
  • Legal structure of the business (corporation, partnership, proprietorship)
  • Year your business was started
  • Primary line of business
  • Total number of employees (both full-time and part-time)

Energy audit: An energy audit should include (1) a situation report that describes the existing facility or process, energy use, price of energy at the audit’s date, (2) potential improvements and their costs, (3) a technical analysis including estimated energy and cost savings, improvement costs, and a rank of potential improvements based on cost effectiveness, and (3) a narrative summary of the potential improvements including specifications, drawings of the project layout, before-and-after data on consumption using at least one year’s bills, significant changes in future related operations and maintenance costs, and how outcomes will be measured. This template applies to energy audits.

Energy efficiency: The original regulations define "energy efficiency" as Improvements to a facility, building, or process that reduces energy consumption, or reduces energy consumed per square foot.

National Environmental Policy Act: NEPA pertains to federal projects, including federally-funded projects and projects located on federal property. NEPA requires extensive environmental review of proposed projects. For the purposes of REAP, energy efficiency improvements should receive a categorical exclusion from NEPA requirements. USDA officials can get a waiver for projects from NEPA after consulting relevant federal agencies. Almost no projects funded by REAP (including wind power projects) have had to go through NEPA. However, if it is determined that your project is subject to NEPA processes such as Environmental Impact Statements, you (and not USDA) must pay for such processes.

Open and free competition: 7 CFR Part 3015.182 defines this as "All procurement transactions, regardless of whether by sealed bids or by negotiation and without regard to dollar value shall be conducted in a manner that provides maximum open and free competition."

Pre-commercial technology: Defined in the 4280-B regulations as a technology that has "emerged through the research and development process and has technical and economic potential for commercial application, but is not yet commercially available." The 2009 NOFA elaborates that applicants with pre-commercial technology projects "must provide authoritative evidence of the operating history, performance, and reliability past completion of start-up, shake-down, and commissioning. Typically, and in line with financial and operating performance evaluation protocol, the documented operating history, which may be established domestically or outside the U.S., should provide performance data for a minimum of 12 months. The time period will address the economic and technical performance potential of the precommercial technology, as defined in 7 CFR 4280.103. Lastly, in accordance with demonstrating the potential for commercial application, applicants must provide evidence that professional service providers, trades, large construction equipment providers, and labor are potentially available domestically and sufficiently familiar with installation procedures and practices, and spare parts and service are available in the U.S. to properly maintain and operate the system. Any warranties would have to be valid in the U.S." 7 CFR Part 3015.182 defines this as "All procurement transactions, regardless of whether by sealed bids or by negotiation and without regard to dollar value shall be conducted in a manner that provides maximum open and free competition."

Renewable energy systems: Originally defined in the program as projects that "must involve a process that produces and delivers usable energy from a renewable energy source. Renewable energy is derived from wind, solar, biomass or geothermal source; or hydrogen derived from biomass or water using wind, solar, biomass or geothermal energy sources. The 2009 notice of solicitation of applications also includes hydropower projects only with a rated power of 30 megawatts or less. The Agency refers to these hydropower sources as ‘‘small hydropower."

The 2009 notice of solicitation of applications then expanded the definition of "renewable energy" as "[e]nergy derived from: (i) A wind, solar, renewable biomass, ocean (including tidal, wave, current, and thermal), geothermal or hydroelectric source; or (ii) Hydrogen derived from renewable biomass or water using wind, solar, ocean (including tidal, wave, current, and thermal), geothermal or hydroelectric energy sources."

The 2009 notice of solicitation of applications defines "renewable biomass" as (i) Materials, pre-commercial thinnings, or invasive species from National Forest System land and public lands (as defined in section 103 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1702)) that: (A) Are byproducts of preventive treatments that are removed to reduce hazardous fuels; to reduce or contain disease or insect infestation; or to restore ecosystem health; (B) would not otherwise be used for higher-value products; and (C) are harvested in accordance with applicable law and land management plans and the requirements for old growth maintenance, restoration, and management direction of paragraphs (e)(2), (e)(3), and (e)(4) and large-tree retention of paragraph (f) of subsection of section 102 of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6512); or (ii) Any organic matter that is available on a renewable or recurring basis from non-Federal land or land belonging to an Indian or Indian tribe that is held in trust by the United States or subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States, including: (A) Renewable plant material, including feed grains; other agricultural commodities; other plants and trees; and algae; and (B) Waste material, including crop residue; other vegetative waste material (including wood waste and wood residues); animal waste and byproducts (including fats, oils, greases, and manure); and food waste and yard waste."

Rural: REAP regulations define rural as "Any area other than a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town according to the latest decennial census of the United States." To determine your location’s eligibility, go to http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do?pageAction=rbs

SBA Small Business Size Standards: The following link connects you to SBA’s size determination based on revenue and/or number of employees. You need to determine under what North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code number your business falls under. Your accountant might have already figured this out. Otherwise, use your best judgment. http://www.sba.gov/contractingopportunities/officials/size/index.html

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