Loans and grants for more than 500 projects were announced Friday by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The projects will implement renewable energy and energy efficiency for agricultural producers and rural small businesses.
"This funding is an important part of the Obama Administration's plan to help the nation's farmers, agricultural producers and rural small businesses conserve natural resources, create more green jobs and lead us on the path to becoming an energy independent nation," Vilsack said. "These projects are in addition to the more than 900 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects recently announced during the President's Rural Economic Forum."
The Rural Energy for America Program is providing the grants and loan guarantees. REAP funding helps purchase, install, and improve energy systems while leveraging other funding sources for small businesses. The announcement Friday was for more than $27 million in grants and loans.
Some of the projects that are being funded include a cooperative digester system that will process nearly 17,000 tons of manure into methane gas, the installation of 33 ethanol flex-fuel dispensers and 17 biodiesel dispensers, and purchase of solar and geothermal heating and cooling systems that will significantly reduce energy purchased from electric grids.
The Obama Administration has set a goal of making 10,000 new flex-fuel pumps available to America's drivers within the next five years, a five-fold increase from today's level. By building infrastructure to put biofuels produced in America in our fuel tanks, USDA is supporting the clean energy economy we need to ensure our long-term prosperity and help us out-compete the rest of the world. USDA is working to support the research, investment and infrastructure necessary to build a nationwide biofuels industry that creates jobs in every corner of the country.
Funding of each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant or loan agreement. Grants can finance up to 25% of a project's cost, not to exceed $500,000 for renewables, $250,000 for efficiency. For a complete listing of Rural Energy for America Program recipients announced today, click here.