U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
EERE Financial Opportunities
USDA Guarantees $97 Million in Loans for Biomass Projects
August 29, 2007
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on August 21st that
four biomass energy and biofuel projects in three states have been
approved for loan guarantees totaling $97 million. The loan guarantees
originate from two separate USDA programs and will support the
construction of new facilities in Georgia, Illinois, and North
Carolina. Specifically, the USDA will guarantee loans of $19.5 million
for a wood pellet plant in Savannah, Georgia, that will produce
130,000 metric tons of wood pellets per year; loans of $27.5 million
and $15 million, respectively, for biodiesel facilities in Freeport,
Illinois, and Jasper County, Illinois, that will each produce
30 million gallons per year of biodiesel; and loans of $35 million for
an ethanol plant in Hoke County, North Carolina, that will produce
60 million gallons of ethanol per year. According to the Renewable
Fuels Association (RFA), the North Carolina ethanol plant will be the
first in that state. See the USDA press release and the RFA's map of
ethanol plants (PDF 231 KB).
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Hawaii is also slated to receive its first ethanol plant, which will
draw on an unconventional feedstock for the United States: sugar.
Kauai sugar producer Gay & Robinson Inc. is teaming up with Pacific
West Energy LLC to produce 12 million gallons of ethanol per year from
sugar juice and molasses. Gay & Robinson sees the plant as essential
to continue its sugar operations and preserve jobs for 230 of its
employees. See the Pacific West Energy press release (PDF 84 KB).
Speaking of the RFA, its education and research arm, the Renewable
Fuels Foundation (RFF), is now offering its first grants. The RFF
seeks to provide funding to U.S. universities and non-profit
organizations for research projects and policy studies related to
ethanol production. The RFF intends to award one grant for $150,000,
spread over two years. See the announcement on the RFF Web site.