Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA has selected for funding 10 projects nationwide to help rural small businesses and agricultural producers reduce energy consumption and implement renewable energy technologies. The funding will be made available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which was authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.
"For the first time in 13 years, imported oil accounts for less than 50% of the oil consumed in America. That is because we are producing more domestically, using more alternative fuels, and using less energy through energy efficiency efforts," said Vilsack. "Through the REAP program, USDA has partnered with more than 13,000 of America's farmers, ranchers and rural businesses to save energy and improve their bottom line by installing renewable energy systems and energy efficiency solutions. USDA will continue to help make America more energy efficient, and in doing so, more competitive by encouraging rural small businesses to continue to build renewable energy systems"
In Cumberland County, Maine the Greater Portland Council of Governments has been selected for an $80,000 grant to develop on- and off-shore wind projects. In Somerset County, the Maine Community College System (Kennebec Valley Community College) has been selected to receive a $100,000 grant to provide four energy audits and renewable energy development assistance for 140 agricultural producers and rural small businesses across the state.
In Weld, Larimer and Boulder Counties, CO., the Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association has been selected for a $50,000 grant to conduct energy audits for farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses in making energy-efficiency improvements to their operations. It is estimated that 140 rural businesses and 60 agricultural producers will be assisted through this project.
REAP loan guarantees and grants can be used for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements; and grants for feasibility studies, renewable energy development assistance and energy audits. Please click here for more information on the REAP program. Funding of each recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions for the grant. The following is a complete list of award recipients announced today.
Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Recipients by State
* Navajo Tribal Utility Authority; $100,000 grant
* Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association, Inc.; $50,000 grant
* Talquin Electric Cooperative, Inc.; $100,000 grant
* University of Georgia; $100,000 grant
* University of Louisville Research Foundation, Inc.; $100,000 grant
* Greater Portland Council of Governments; $80,000 grant
* Maine Community College System; $100,000 grant
* Oregon Department of Energy; $100,000 grant
* Washington State University; $90,000 grant
* Dairyland Power Cooperative; $60,000 grant
Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council -- chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack -- the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses and entrepreneurs and for people who want to live, work and raise their families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.