7 USC 8109 - Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative

(a) Definitions 
In this section:
(1) Eligible rural community 
The term eligible rural community means a community located in a rural area (as defined in section 1991 (a)(13)(A) of this title).
(2) Initiative 
The term Initiative means the Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative established under this section.
(3) Integrated renewable energy system 
The term integrated renewable energy system means a community-wide energy system that

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(A) reduces conventional energy use; and
(B) increases the use of energy from renewable sources.
(b) Establishment 
The Secretary shall establish a Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative to provide financial assistance for the purpose of enabling eligible rural communities to substantially increase the energy self-sufficiency of the eligible rural communities.
(c) Grant assistance 

(1) In general 
The Secretary shall make grants available under the Initiative to eligible rural communities to carry out an activity described in paragraph (2).
(2) Use of grant funds 
An eligible rural community may use a grant
(A) to conduct an energy assessment that assesses the total energy use of all energy users in the eligible rural community;
(B) to formulate and analyze ideas for reducing energy usage by the eligible rural community from conventional sources; and
(C) to develop and install an integrated renewable energy system.
(3) Grant selection 

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(A) Application 
To be considered for a grant, an eligible rural community shall submit an application to the Secretary that describes the ways in which the community would use the grant to carry out an activity described in paragraph (2).
(B) Preference 
The Secretary shall give preference to those applications that propose to carry out an activity in coordination with
(i) institutions of higher education or nonprofit foundations of institutions of higher education;
(ii) Federal, State, or local government agencies;
(iii) public or private power generation entities; or
(iv) government entities with responsibility for water or natural resources.
(4) Report 
An eligible rural community receiving a grant under the Initiative shall submit to the Secretary a report on the project of the eligible rural community.
(5) Cost-sharing 
The amount of a grant under the Initiative shall not exceed 50 percent of the cost of the activities described in the application.
(d) Authorization of appropriations 
There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2012.