[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 131 (Monday, July 9, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 40345-40347]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-16663]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy


Proposed Agency Information Collection

AGENCY: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. 
Department of Energy.

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Energy (DOE) is submitting to the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance a proposal for collection of 
information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995. The proposed collection will support a National Evaluation of 
DOE's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funded Energy 
Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program.
    A 60-day notice and request for comments was published in the 
Federal Register on February 15, 2012 (77 FR 8852). No comments were 
received in response to this Notice.
    This subsequent 30-day notice allows public comment on the final 
version of the information collection request. Comments are invited on: 
(a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the 
proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether 
the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the 
agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of 
information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions 
used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the 
collection of information on respondents, including the use of 
automated collection techniques or other forms of information 
technology. Information about the outcomes of the program, including 
energy and cost savings, the net number of jobs created or retained, 
and gross reductions in carbon emissions, is needed for a comprehensive 
evaluation of the program.

DATES: Comments regarding this proposed information collection must

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be received on or before August 8, 2012 If you anticipate difficulty in 
submitting comments within that period, contact the person listed in 
ADDRESSES as soon as possible.

ADDRESSES: Written comments may be sent to Colleen Rizy, Environmental 
Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, MS-
6036, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6036; rizycg@ornl.gov

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
should be directed to: Colleen Rizy, Environmental Sciences Division, 
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, MS-6036, Oak Ridge, TN 
37831-6036; rizycg@ornl.gov.
    The detailed technical evaluation plan for this information 
collection can be found at: http://weatherization.ornl.gov/eecbg.shtml. 
The survey/data collection instrument that composes this information 
collection request can be found at this same Web site.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This information collection request 
contains:
    (1) OMB No: New.
    (2) Information Collection Request Title: National Evaluation of 
the United States Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and 
Conservation Block Grant Program.
    (3) Type of Request: New.
    (4) Purpose: The Department of Energy is conducting an evaluation 
of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG), 
a national program providing over $2.7 billion in grants to 
approximately 2,350 cities, counties, States, territories, and Indian 
Tribes. Grants could be used for energy efficiency and conservation 
efforts, building code support, renewable energy installations, 
distributed energy technologies, transportation activities, recycling 
and waste management efforts, and other activities approved by DOE.
    The EECBG Program, authorized in Title V, Subtitle E of the Energy 
Independence and Security Act and signed into law on December 19, 2007, 
was funded for the first time by the ARRA of 2009. The Funding 
Opportunity Announcement for Formula Grants was issued on June 25, 2009 
and closed on June 25, 2010.
    The scope of the National Evaluation of EECBG involves a 
combination of careful reviews of grant status reports and applications 
(``engineering desk reviews''), conversations with DOE project 
officers, and in-depth interviews with grant managers to assemble 
critical data for answering the three questions of interest:
    1. What is the total magnitude of energy and cost savings, and 
other key outcomes, such as gross carbon emissions reduction and the 
net number of jobs created or retained, achieved in Broad Program Areas 
that cumulatively account for approximately 80 percent of total Formula 
Grant expenditures in the 2009-2011 program years?
    2. What is the magnitude of outcomes achieved by each of the most 
heavily-funded Broad Program Areas within the EECBG portfolio?
    3. What are the key factors influencing the magnitude of EECBG 
outcomes?
    These questions will be answered by evaluating a sample of 350 
grant activity examples from a pool of direct grants and State sub-
grants, all issued as part of the EECBG program.

Scale of the Information Collection

    The DOE formula grants are well-defined and were further 
scrutinized by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)/DOE and its 
contractors for categorization into Broad Program Areas and activities. 
The evaluation team will complete the process of counting and 
categorizing the State sub-grants. From these combined lists of grants, 
sorted by Broad Program Area, sub-area, and activity, and from a set of 
criteria developed by ORNL/DOE and its contractors, a sampling approach 
will be applied to select 350 grants for study. That random sample of 
projects will be taken from the six Broad Program Areas that, in 
combination, account for over 80 percent of total EECBG Formula Grant 
expenditures, which will allow valid inferences to be drawn for each 
Broad Program Area examined.
    Data collection will begin with a combination of careful reviews of 
the DOE program databases, grant status reports and applications 
(``engineering desk reviews''), and conversations with DOE Project 
Officers and Regional and State Coordinators. After this extensive 
preliminary data collection effort, interviews will be conducted with 
individuals responsible for managing the specific grant activities 
selected in the sample (``Grant Activity Managers''). The 60-day notice 
proposed two survey instruments for data collection: 1. Grant Activity-
Level Contact (now titled ``Grant Activity Manager Survey'') and 2. 
Performance Indicators Survey. Since the submittal of the 60-day 
notice, the evaluation team conducted an extensive review of DOE's 
Performance and Accountability for Grants in Energy system 
demonstrating that the majority of information sought in the 
Performance Indicators Survey is already readily available. In order to 
reduce the data collection burden, the Performance Indicators Survey is 
no longer a separate instrument. The limited number of questions that 
cannot be answered through database research and other methods are now 
included in the Grant Activity Manager Survey.

Grant Activity Manager Survey

    Verifies activities performed, measures installed, measure level 
data, and other relevant project information necessary to calculate 
program impacts and other metrics. Also contains a series of questions 
related to grant performance not already available in DOE program 
databases. Approximately 350 interviews will take place to complete the 
survey instrument.
    The survey instrument consists of a core set of questions to be 
posed to all 350 respondents, after which branching occurs into 
separate modules of the survey addressing the specific types of 
projects undertaken. Respondents are only asked those questions 
relevant to their specific activity, skipping any modules or sets of 
questions that do not apply; no respondent will be subject to the 
entire battery of questions.
    This survey will involve 350 respondents and entail a total burden 
of 438 hours. This calculation is based on the assumption that the 
Grant Activity Manager Survey will require an average of 75 minutes, 
depending on the details of the specific activity being evaluated and 
its complexity.
    This evaluation approach will not include any data collection from 
individual service recipients to estimate savings or outcomes. This 
study will use data from the above-mentioned interviews plus additional 
information that can be obtained from program records and secondary 
sources, as well as engineering-based analytical methods, to produce 
energy savings and outcome estimates.
    The above-described data collection instrument will be supplemented 
by additional records research and database review activities provided 
by the Grant Program Managers and Local Grant Activity Managers. These 
general recordkeeping activities will require an estimated 496 hours. 
Combining the burden hours associated with telephone surveys (438 
hours) with the burden hours associated with general records review 
(496 hours) produces a total estimated burden of 934 hours.
    Two key steps are being taken to avoid duplicating the efforts of 
any concurrent evaluations of EECBG activities: (1) Identifying results 
from any EECBG grant evaluation efforts taking place at the State 
level; and (2) coordinating with the Better Buildings

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Program evaluation concerning any data collection already taking place 
during the same time period that addresses EECBG grant activities.
    The sample selection of Broad Program Areas and specific 
programmatic activities within each Broad Program Area is scheduled to 
be completed in May 2012. Data collection and calculation of outcomes 
are scheduled to be completed by October 2012.
    The detailed study design and work plan for the EECBG evaluation 
has been available for public review since January 2012 at http://weatherization.ornl.gov/eecbg.shtml.
    (5) Annual Estimated Number of Respondents: 350.
    (6) Annual Estimated Number of Total Responses: 350.
    (7) Annual Estimated Total Number of Burden Hours (Interview and 
Record Review): 934.

    Statutory Authority: Title V, Subtitle E of the Energy 
Independence and Security Act of 2007, codified at 42 U.S.C. 17151-
17158.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 7, 2012.
David T. Danielson,
Assistant Secretary, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
[FR Doc. 2012-16663 Filed 7-6-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P