USDA selected for funding hundreds of projects nationwide that are focused on helping agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption and costs; use renewable energy technologies in their operation; and/or conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. Funding is made available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.
Eight of the 430 announced projects involve small wind turbines, about 2% of the total. The average grant for a small wind project was $18,388, slightly higher than the $16,178 average grant for all projects. Two lodges in Alaska, a dairy in Colorado, a ranch in Nevada, and two properties in the Virgin Islands are among the grant recipients.
Energy Efficiency and Solar Arrays each accounted for approximately 30% of the total number of grants awarded, and an additional 20% were given for Grain Elevator projects.
“The Obama Administration and USDA are helping agricultural producers and rural small business owners reduce their energy costs and consumption – and by doing so is helping to create jobs, preserve our natural resources, protect the environment and strengthen the bottom line for businesses.” said Vilsack. “This is part of the Administration’s “all of the above” energy strategy. Stable energy costs create an environment for sustainable job growth in rural America.”
Today’s announcement includes $412,304 in grant funding to 20 agricultural producers and rural businesses to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems.
REAP offers funds for farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy-efficiency improvements. The expectation is that these federal funds leverage other funding sources for businesses. In all, USDA announced nearly $7.4 million in energy grants today.
For a complete listing of Rural Energy for America Program grant recipients announced today, please click here.