The term “combined heat and power” means the generation of electric energy and heat in a single, integrated system, with an overall thermal efficiency of 60 percent or greater on a higher-heating-value basis.
The term “district energy systems” means systems providing thermal energy from a renewable energy source, thermal energy source, or highly efficient technology to more than 1 building or fixed energy-consuming use from 1 or more thermal-energy production facilities through pipes or other means to provide space heating, space conditioning, hot water, steam, compression, process energy, or other end uses for that energy.
The term “renewable energy source” has the meaning given the term in section 918c of title 7.
Subject to the availability of appropriated funds, the Secretary shall implement a program of information dissemination and technical assistance to institutional entities to assist the institutional entities in identifying, evaluating, designing, and implementing sustainable energy infrastructure projects in energy sustainability.
To the extent that applications have been submitted, grants under subparagraph (A) shall include not less than 2 grants each year to institutions of higher education in each State.
Of the total amount of grants provided to institutions of higher education for a fiscal year under this section, the Secretary shall provide not less than 50 percent of the amount to institutions of higher education that have an endowment of not more than $100,000,000.
If the Secretary determines that cost sharing is appropriate, the amounts of grants provided under this section shall be limited as provided in this subsection.
Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, loans made under this subsection shall be on such terms and conditions as the Secretary may prescribe.
Loans under this subsection shall be at an interest rate that is set by reference to a benchmark interest rate (yield) on marketable Treasury securities with a similar maturity to the direct loans being made.
The minimum interest rate of loans under this subsection shall be at the interest rate of the benchmark financial instrument.
New direct loans may not be obligated under this subsection except to the extent that appropriations of budget authority to cover the costs of the new direct loans are made in advance, as required by section 661c of title 2.
All laborers and mechanics employed by contractors or subcontractors in the performance of construction, repair, or alteration work funded in whole or in part under this section shall be paid wages at rates not less than those prevailing on projects of a character similar in the locality as determined by the Secretary of Labor in accordance with sections 3141 through 3144, 3146, and 3147 of title 40. The Secretary shall not approve any such funding without first obtaining adequate assurance that required labor standards will be maintained upon the construction work.
Not later than 180 days after December 19, 2007, the Secretary shall establish procedures for the solicitation and evaluation of potential projects for grant and loan funding and administration of the grant and loan programs.
There is authorized to be appropriated for the cost of grants authorized in subsections (b), (c), and (d) $250,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2013, of which not more than 5 percent may be used for administrative expenses.