USDA Awards Grants, Loans for Renewable Energy

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer recently announced that 639 individuals and businesses in 43 states and the Virgin Islands have been selected to receive $35 million in grants and loan guarantees for renewable energy systems or to improve energy efficiency in farm and business operations.

"America is a world leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency," Schafer said. "These projects are good for business, good for the economy, good for jobs, and they help secure more self-sufficient energy resources for our country."

The grants and loan guarantees are being awarded through USDA Rural Development's Section 9006 Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements program. The program provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to support renewable energy projects across a wide range of technologies encompassing biomass (including anaerobic digesters), geothermal, hydrogen, solar, and wind energy. It also provides support for energy efficiency improvements, helping recipients reduce energy consumption and improve operations. Of the $35 million announced today, $27.5 million are grants and $7.4 million are guaranteed loans.

The funding will support a variety of energy-production and energy-saving efforts. For example, Chad Brandt of Oakes, N.D.; has been selected to receive a $67,374 combination grant and loan to replace his existing grain dryer with a new, more energy-efficient model that is expected to lower energy costs by more than 20 percent.

In Monona, Iowa, D.J. Keehner Farms, Inc. has been selected to receive a $11,561 grant to replace a propane heating system with a more energy-efficient geothermal heating system, which is expected to reduce energy costs by 78 percent.

A & L Lawson Partnership, in Carencro, La., has been selected for a $14,980 grant to purchase and install energy-efficient electric motors to replace and power a diesel irrigation well. The project is expected to reduce energy consumption by 48 percent.

Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the conditions of the award agreement.

For a complete list of recipients, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rd/newsroom/2008/08-27-2008-0996rl.pdf.

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