On December 29, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the final rule for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP is intended to help mainly businesses, as well as some state, local, and tribal governments develop solar, wind, and biomass projects. This new rule will change the requirements for those applying for funding from the grant and loan guarantees for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements in rural areas. There is now a three-tiered application process based on the total project cost for funding that reduces the technical reporting requirements of the previous system. The final rule also modifies scoring criteria for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvement projects, and creates deadline dates for grant and guaranteed loan applications. USDA estimates that this rule will have net cost savings of approximately ten million dollars as a result of decreased costs in program implementation. This final rule becomes effective on February 12, 2015.