The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding more funds to help rural businesses reduce energy costs in every U.S. state including the Virgin Islands, the Western Pacific and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The USDA is providing $102 million in loan guarantees and $71 million in grants for 1,114 projects financed through the Rural Energy for American Program (REAP), and the funding is for energy efficiency improvements and/or renewable energy systems.
“More rural business owners and ag producers are incorporating energy-saving measures into their business plans,” said Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These actions improve an operation’s bottom line and help reduce its carbon footprint. This funding will help incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency technology and reduce energy costs. But beyond the local benefits seen by a company saving energy costs and the global benefits of reducing carbon emissions, this funding will also create American jobs by supporting energy production and efficiency installations that are made in rural America.”
Among the projects, nearly $6 million is being awarded for 17 anaerobic digesters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington. In total, these projects are expected to generate and/or save 906 million kilowatt hours (KWh) of energy – enough to power more than 83,675 homes for a year and cut carbon pollution by an estimated 455,000 metric tons. That is the equivalent of taking more than 131,500 cars off the road for a year.