The U.S. Department of Agriculture has selected 10 projects for funding 10 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 Agriculture Secretary Tom 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”
The ten grants in nine different states include such alternative energy projects as $80,000 grant to develop on- and off-shore wind projects in Cumberland County, Maine. 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.