Washington, Jan 21, 2011 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA Rural Development is funding 68 study grants nationwide to determine the feasibility of renewable energy projects. Three Nebraska applicants are among those funded.
The grants cover all five regions identified by the Secretary in his October speech to the National Press Club. The regions include the Northeast, Central/East, Southeast (including Hawaii), West and Pacific Northwest (including Alaska). In all, studies will be funded in 27 states and the Western Pacific. Funding is made available through the Rural Energy for America Program under the 2008 Farm Bill.
"The Obama Administration is committed to helping our nation become more energy independent by helping rural businesses build renewable energy systems," said Vilsack. "The projects announced will provide rural small businesses and agricultural producers the opportunity to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy system installations. These investments will not only help our farmers and small businesses reduce energy costs, but also help find renewable alternatives to generate energy."
For example, in Lyons, Nebraska, Burt County Wind West, LLC was selected to receive a $12,502 feasibility study grant to determine the viability of a potential wind farm located in Burt County, Nebraska.
In Dodge, Nebraska, Daniel Kluthe operates an anaerobic digester that converts hog manure to electricity that is sold into the grid. Kluthe has been selected to receive a $41,000 feasibility study grant to test the technical feasibility of a pre-commercially available scrubber which will scrub the methane gas and eliminate impurities. This gas can then be directly used by the ag producer to heat on-site hog barns.
In Oakland, Nebraska, Midwest Veterinary Services, Inc. was selected to receive a $25,000 feasibility study grant to determine the feasibility of converting, via anaerobic digestion, local sources of organic swine waste into methane. Co-digestion opportunities will also be analyzed. The methane will be used to run a generator that will produce electricity to be used on-site or stored.
REAP loan guarantees and grants can be used for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies and energy audits. More information on the REAP program, which was authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill, is at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ReapGrants.html.
Funding of each recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions for the grant. For a complete list of award recipients, please click here.
For more information in Nebraska, contact Deb Yocum at 402-437-5554 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Through its Rural Development mission area, USDA administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of 6,100 employees located in the nation's capital and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers, and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of nearly $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.