The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced 58 grants to help farmers and rural businesses to reduce energy costs. The grants, awarded in 17 states and Puerto Rico, are provided through the Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP. Congress allocated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in 2019.
Tuesday’s announcement includes $1 million in renewable energy projects. USDA will make additional funding announcements in the coming weeks. Joel Baxley, acting assistant to the secretary for rural development, says lowering energy costs “helps businesses improve their bottom line and create jobs” in rural America.
Recipients can use REAP funding for energy audits and renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. They also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems, including insulation, lighting and refrigeration.
Grants announced Tuesday include $100,000 for the University of Oregon to help rural agritourism operations and small businesses implement renewable energy systems. More examples of funded projects are available online at www.rd.usda.gov.