[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 48 (Monday, March 12, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 14509-14510]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-5877]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

[Docket No. EESEP0216]


State Energy Program and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block 
Grant (EECBG) Program; Request for Information

AGENCY: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Office of 
the General Counsel, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Request for Information (RFI); request for comment.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE or the Department) is 
interested in continuing to promote the use of financing mechanisms by 
grantees of the State Energy Program (SEP) and Energy Efficiency and 
Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, in support of energy 
efficiency and renewable energy activities. To facilitate this process 
and to allow interested parties to provide suggestions, comments, and 
information, DOE is publishing this request for information. This 
request identifies several areas on which DOE is particularly 
interested in receiving information; however, any input and suggestions 
considered relevant to the topic are welcome.

DATES: Written comments and information are requested by April 11, 
2012.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments using 
the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:[sol][sol]www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Alternatively, 
interested persons may submit comments, identified by docket number 
EESEP0216, by any of the following methods:
     Email: to christine.platt@ee.doe.gov. Include EESEP0216 in 
the subject line of the message.
     Mail: Christine Platt Patrick, U.S. Department of Energy, 
Mailstop EE-2K, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-
0121, Phone: (202) 287-1546. Please submit one signed paper original.
     Hand Delivery/Courier: Christine Platt Patrick, U.S. 
Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20585-0121, Phone: (202) 287-1546. Please submit one signed paper 
original.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
and docket number for this request.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents, or 
comments received, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at 
http:[sol][sol]www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christine Platt Patrick, Policy 
Advisor, U.S Department of Energy, Weatherization and Intergovernmental 
Program, Mailstop EE-2K, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20585-0121, Telephone: (202) 287-1546, Email: 
christine.platt@ee.doe.gov. For legal issues contact Chris Calamita, 
U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, Forrestal 
Building, Mailstop GC-71, 1000 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 
20585, Telephone: (202) 586-1777, Email: 
christopher.calamita@hq.doe.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Authority and Background

    The Office of Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs (OWIP) 
is seeking to promote the use of ``evergreen funds'' among its 
grantees. ``Evergreen funds'' describes generally a use of funds that 
would allow a grantee to rely on an initial amount of funding to 
periodically provide support to eligible projects in an on-going basis, 
for example through a revolving loan fund (RLF) program or a loan loss 
reserve (LLR) program.
    SEP is authorized under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, as 
amended (42 U.S.C. 6321 et seq.) Evergreen funds such as RLFs and LLRs 
are eligible uses of funds under SEP to the extent that the activities 
supported by the loans are eligible activities under the program. The 
implementing regulations for SEP expressly identify RLFs as an eligible 
use of SEP funds (10 CFR 420.18(d)).
    Title V, Subtitle E of the Energy Independence and Security Act, as 
amended (42 U.S.C. 17151-17158) authorizes the Department to administer 
the EECBG program. Evergreen funds such as revolving loan funds (RLF) 
and loan loss reserves (LLR) are eligible uses of funds under the EECBG 
Program to the extent that the activities supported by the loans are 
eligible activities under the program. EECBG grantees must comply with 
statutory law regarding RLFs. 42 U.S.C. 17155(b)(3)(B) mandates a 
limitation on the use of funds for the establishment (i.e., the 
capitalization) of RLFs by formula-eligible units of local governments 
and formula-eligible tribes equal to the greater of 20 percent of the 
grantee's allocation or $250,000. Funds used for administrative costs 
to set up a RLF are not subject to this restriction, but are subject to 
the general limitations established by statute on administrative costs.
    For both SEP and the EECBG Program, grantee arrangements for 
leveraging additional public and private sector funds, including 
rebates, grants, and other incentives, must be arranged to ensure that 
Federal funds go to support eligible activities listed in 42 U.S.C. 
6322(d)(5)(A) for SEP and 42 U.S.C. 17154(3)-(13) for EECBG. The 
leveraging of funds may be accomplished through mechanisms such as 
partnerships with third party lenders, co-lending, third party 
administration of loans, and loan loss reserves.
    The Department would like to continue to promote the use of 
evergreen funds by grantees of the SEP and EECBG programs. The 
Department is issuing this initial request for information to allow 
interested parties an opportunity to provide information that will 
assist DOE in continuing to promote these mechanisms.

Public Participation

A. Submission of Information

    DOE will accept comments in response to this RFI under the timeline 
provided in the DATES section above. Comments submitted to the 
Department through the eRulemaking Portal or by email should be 
provided in WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, PDF, or text file format. 
Those responding should avoid the use of special characters or any form 
of encryption, and wherever possible, comments should include the 
electronic signature of the author. Comments submitted to the 
Department by mail or hand delivery/courier should include one signed 
original paper copy. No telefacsimiles will be accepted.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice will become a matter 
of public record and will be made publicly available.
    The Department encourages interested parties to contact DOE if they 
would like to meet in person to discuss their comments. The 
Department's policy

[[Page 14510]]

governing ex parte communications is posted on the Office of the 
General Counsel's Web site at: http://www.gc.energy.gov/1309.htm.

B. Issues on Which DOE Seeks Information

    For this RFI, DOE requests comments, information, and 
recommendations on the following concepts for the purpose of the 
continued use of evergreen funds by SEP and EECBG grantees. As set 
forth below, we seek comment on DOE's requirements for (1) Types of 
Evergreen Funds; (2) Ending an Evergreen Fund After The End of the 
Grant Period; (3) Monitoring; and (4) Reporting. The sequence of these 
questions does not reflect any specific DOE preference.
(1) Types of Evergreen Funds
    a. Under existing Department rules, evergreen funds such as RLFs 
and LLRs are eligible uses of funds under the SEP and EECBG Programs to 
the extent that the activities supported by the loans are eligible 
activities under the program. DOE would like to continue to promote the 
use of these types of evergreen funds. Which types of evergreen funds 
are being used by grantees and subgrantees in both programs? What are 
the costs and benefits of using these types of evergreen funds?
    b. Currently, the SEP and EECBG regulations allow a grantee to 
elect to use a third party to administer evergreen funds. What recourse 
should be available for a grantee if a third party fails to follow 
through on properly administering the financing mechanism? Should that 
recourse be available if the third party fails just once to properly 
administer a financing mechanism? Should DOE disallow a third party 
with a history of poor performance from acting as a third party 
representative?
(2) Ending an Evergreen Fund After the End of the Grant Period
    Currently, the SEP and EECBG programs allow grantees to end or 
reduce funding for a RLF program, LLR, or other eligible financing 
program at any time as long as any remaining funds are used by the 
grantee for an eligible purpose after submitting and finalizing an 
amendment through the DOE Project Officer. Alternatively, the funds may 
be returned to DOE.
(3) Periodic Reporting
    a. DOE is considering periodic reporting by grantees that operate 
evergreen funds that continue beyond the grant period specified in the 
Recovery Act grant awards. This reporting would be separate from 
reporting requirements for annual appropriated funds in both programs. 
DOE seeks comment on whether DOE periodic reporting according to 
specified conditions and criteria.
    b. With regard to such periodic reporting, the Department seeks 
comment on the following conditions and criteria:
Information Flow
    (i) Should reporting occur more frequently than on an annual basis?
    (ii) DOE requests comment on the types of information that grantees 
can provide on evergreen funds, for example how many loans were issued 
in the period, what types of loans, the dollar amount of loans, what 
projects were completed, what loans were paid back.
    (iii) DOE requests comment on when information on a loan that is 
defaulted upon can be provided to DOE and what other information 
grantees can provide in this situation.
Cost
    (i) DOE requests comments regarding the cost burden placed on 
grantees for the above described reporting. Please provide a detailed 
description of the anticipated costs and supporting information.
(4) Monitoring
    a. DOE is considering periodic monitoring that would be applicable 
to all evergreen funds that continue beyond the grant period specified 
in the Recovery Act grant awards. This requirement would be separate 
from monitoring requirements for annual appropriated funds in both 
programs. DOE seeks comment on whether grantees should conduct periodic 
monitoring according to specified conditions and criteria.
    b. With regard to such periodic monitoring, the Department seeks 
comment on the following conditions and criteria:
Information Flow
    (i) Should monitoring occur on more than an annual basis?
    (ii) DOE requests comment on the types of information that grantees 
can provide on evergreen funds, for example how many loans were issued 
in the period, what types of loans, the dollar amount of loans, what 
projects were completed, what loans were paid back.
    (iii) DOE requests comment on when information on a loan that is 
defaulted upon can be provided to DOE and what other information 
grantees can provide in this situation.
    (iv) Should monitoring be performed by an independent third party, 
in addition to DOE monitoring?
Cost
    (i) DOE requests comments regarding the anticipated cost burden 
placed on grantees for the above described monitoring. Please provide a 
detailed description of the costs and supporting information.
    Docket: For direct access to the docket to read background 
documents, or comments received, visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal 
at http://www.regulations.gov.
    Procedural Requirements: Today's regulatory action has been 
determined not to be a significant regulatory action under section 
3(f)(1) of Executive Order 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review'', 
58 FR 51735 (Oct. 4, 1993).

    Statutory Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6321 et seq. and 42 U.S.C. 
17154(14).

    Issued in Washington, DC, on March 6, 2012.
AnnaMaria Garcia,
Acting Program Manager, Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program 
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
[FR Doc. 2012-5877 Filed 3-9-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P