USDA Offers Renewable Energy Funding

Cindy Zimmerman

USDA is seeking applications to increase the production and use of renewable energy sources under three different USDA Rural Development renewable energy programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill. USDA is now accepting applications for loan guarantees in the Biorefinery Assistance Program, Repowering Assistance Program, and the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels.

USDA is making approximately $463 million available under the Biorefinery Assistance Program which provides loan guarantees to develop and construct commercial-scale biorefineries or to retrofit existing facilities using eligible technology for the development of advanced biofuels. Applications must be received by May 10, 2011. Details on how to apply are available in the March 11, 2011 Federal Register, page 13351.

The Repowering Assistance Program is designed to encourage the use of renewable biomass as a replacement fuel source for fossil fuels used to process heat or power in the operation of eligible biorefineries. Under this notice, USDA is making available approximately $25 million to make payments to eligible biorefineries. The deadline to apply for funding under this program is June 9, 2011. Details on how to apply are available in the March 11, 2011 Federal Register, page 13349.

The Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels works to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels by providing payments to eligible advanced biofuels producers. USDA may fund up to $85 million under a Notice of Contract Proposal (NOCP) for Payments to Eligible Advanced Biofuel Producers in FY 2011. The deadline to apply is May 10, 2011. To be eligible for payments, advanced biofuels must be produced from renewable biomass, excluding corn kernel starch, in a biofuel facility located in a state. Details on how to apply are available in the March 11, 2011 Federal Register, page 13345.

Advanced biofuels are derived from renewable biomass to include cellulose, sugar and starch, crop residue, vegetative waste material, animal waste, food and yard waste, vegetable oil, animal fat, and biogas (including landfill gas and sewage waste treatment gas). This program is an important part of achieving the Obama administration’s goal of out-building and out-innovating our global competitors by increasing biofuels production and use.

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