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USDA Pushes Renewable Energy Projects

Agency awards $97 million in guaranteed loans to help businesses in three states.

Businesses in Georgia, Illinois and North Carolina are getting $97 million in guaranteed loans from USDA to create jobs and develop renewable energy systems. Two of the projects are for new biodiesel plants, one is an ethanol facility and the fourth is for a wood-pelleting operation.

The four recipients announced late Tuesday will receive the funds through USDA's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (Section 9006) guaranteed loan program and the Business and Industry guaranteed loan program.

The Section 9006 program provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to install renewable energy projects or make energy efficiency improvements. The B&I program complements the existing private credit structure by guaranteeing loans that will provide lasting community and economic benefits. Here's a look at the projects receiving loans this week.

Clean Burn Fuels LLC, Hoke, County, N.C., will receive $10 million from the Section 9006 program and a $25 million B&I loan guarantee to build a new ethanol plant expected to produce 60 million gallons of ethanol per year.

Blackhawk Biofuels LLC, Freeport, Ill., is approved for a $7.5 million Section 9006 loan and a $20 million B&I loan to build and operate a 30-million-gallon biodiesel facility.

Appling County Pellets, Savannah, Ga., is approved to receive a $10 million Section 9006 loan and a $9.5 million B&I loan to produce up to 130,000 metric tons of wood pellets to be sold in domestic and international markets.

National Trail Biodiesel, Newton, Ill., will receive a $10 million Section 9006 loan and a $5 million B&I loan to build and operate a 30-million-gallon-per-year biodiesel production facility in Jasper County, Ill.

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