USDA Invites Applications for REAP Loans and Grants

USDA Under Secretary Lisa Mensah recently encouraged small rural businesses to apply for loans and grants to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

“Helping rural small businesses save money on energy costs strengthens their bottom line and helps the United States become more energy independent,” Mensah said. “It also reduces our country’s carbon footprint, leading to a cleaner environment and a more secure energy future.”

The USDA is accepting applications from the Rural Energy for America program for: 1) loans and grants for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements, and 2) grants for energy audits and development assistance. development of renewable energies.

Eligible agricultural producers and small rural businesses can use REAP funds to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. Eligible renewable energy systems include wind, solar, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydro, ocean, geothermal, or hydrogen derived from these renewable resources.

Energy audits and renewable energy development assistance grants are available for state, tribal or local governments; institutions of higher education; rural electric cooperatives and public power entities.

The REAP program was created in the 2002 Farm Bill. Due to the program’s success, Congress reauthorized it in the 2014 Farm Bill with guaranteed funding of at least $50 million per year for the duration of the program. five-year bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on rural America’s historic economic gains over the past seven years while delivering significant reform and billions of dollars in taxpayer savings.

USDA Rural Development recently awarded Superior Pellet Fuels in North Pole, Alaska a $49,670 REAP grant to purchase a power press to produce biomass wood chips. The press can produce nearly 20 tons of wood briquettes per day. It has helped businesses save money on energy costs since it was installed in October 2013. Some businesses were paying as much as $8 a gallon for fuel. This biomass project is a prime example of Alaska’s promise for wood-based biofuel production.

Through the REAP program, the USDA has supported nearly 11,000 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide since the start of the Obama administration. The Department provided over $367 million in grants and $354 million in loan guarantees to agricultural producers and small rural business owners during this period.

For application deadlines and details on how to apply, contact the USDA Energy Coordinator for your state or see Federal Register page 60349 of October 6.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has resulted in historic investments and stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses, and infrastructure have enabled rural America to continue to lead the way in strengthening America’s economy, small towns, and rural communities.

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