USDA Offers $22.8 Million for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

March 30, 2005

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on March 28th the availability of $22.8 million to support new renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements by agricultural producers and rural small businesses. The funds will support the use of renewable energy technologies such as biomass (including anaerobic digesters), geothermal, hydrogen, solar, and wind energy.

The new funds will be made available in two stages. One half, or $11.4 million, is available immediately for competitive grants of up to $500,000 for renewable energy projects and up to $250,000 for energy efficiency projects. The grant request may not exceed 25 percent of the eligible project cost, and applications must be submitted by June 27th. The remaining $11.4 million will be set aside for guaranteed loans for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects through a process to be announced later this year. See the USDA press release.

Section 9006 of the 2002 Farm Bill established the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program to encourage agricultural producers and rural small businesses to increase their energy efficiency and use more renewable energy. To date, the USDA has invested $45 million in 32 states through this program. For complete information about the program, including the official Federal Register notice about the latest funds, see the USDA Web site.