USDA Awards $2.55 Million for Efficiency, Renewable Energy Projects

June 25, 2008

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in mid-June that 39 farms and rural businesses in eight states have been selected to receive $2.55 million in loans and grants for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. Much of the funding is going toward more energy efficient grain dryers, which can cut energy use by up to 67%. The projects also include an upgrade to efficient refrigerators and freezers in Iowa, a geothermal heat pump installation in Iowa, and a 10-kilowatt solar power installation in New York. The funds are being provided under USDA's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency program, which was established by the 2002 Farm Bill. The funding recipients are located in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, and their selection was announced in two separate press releases. See the June 11 press release (PDF 17 KB) and recipient list (PDF 15 KB) and the June 18 press release (PDF 40 KB) on the USDA Rural Development Web site. Download Adobe Reader.

The USDA also awarded $19.9 million in grants in late May under its High Energy Cost Grant program. While some of that funding went toward power line projects, about $11 million in grants went toward energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The grants will support energy efficiency retrofits for the homes of low-income families in Alabama and Kentucky, two wind turbine projects and a 1.5-megawatt hydropower facility in Alaska, a landfill gas-to-electricity project in New York, and solar power systems for remote tribal homes in the Navajo Nation, which spans Arizona and New Mexico. In addition, a grant will support effort by Kauai Habitat for Humanity to build sustainable homes in Hawaii that incorporate solar energy, while a separate grant will help provide technical assistance for installing solar energy systems in Hawaii. See the press release (PDF 17 KB) and recipient list (PDF 16 KB) on the USDA Rural Development Web site.