Renewable Energy In 26 States Gets $22.8 Million From Usda
The selection of 167 recipients from 26 states to receive $22.8 million in competitive grants has been announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The funds will used by rural small businesses, farmers and ranchers to develop renewable energy systems and promote energy efficiency improvements.
The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements program was created as part of the 2002 Farm Bill to assist farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses develop renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements to their operations. In 2003, $21.7 million was invested through the program to develop or improve wind power, anaerobic digester, solar, ethanol and other bioenergy related systems or energy efficiency improvements in 24 states.
A large percent of the 94 renewable energy applications selected this year will support anaerobic digesters and small and large wind power type ventures. A predominate number of the 73 energy efficiency grants will go to agricultural producers who will use the funds for buildings.Funding of selected applicants will be contingent upon meeting the conditions of the grant agreements.
The design and implementation of the grant program was accomplished through consultation with several federal departments and agencies, most notably the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. “The sharing of technical and human resources has greatly enhanced the submission of qualified applications and selection of this year’s recipients,” said Acting Under Secretary for Rural Development Gilbert Gonzalez.
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure.