News Release
Release No.STELPRD4009234
ContactDawn Knepp717-237-2286
Erie, PA, Mar 30, 2011 --


    Dawn Knepp, Public Affairs Specialist, (717) 237-2286

USDA Rural Development Seeks Applications for Renewable Energy


Funds Will Help Win the Future by Spurring Investment to Increase the Production and Use of Renewable Energy



ERIE, March 30, 2011—USDA Rural Development State Director Thomas Williams announced today in Erie that Rural Development is seeking applications to increase the production and use of renewable energy sources. Funding is available from three Rural Development renewable energy programs authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).

Rural Development is accepting applications for loan guarantees in the Biorefinery Assistance Program, Repowering Assistance Program, and the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels. Details on how to apply are available in the March 11, 2011 Federal Register, page 13351.

The site of the announcement, Lake Erie Biofuels, LLC d/b/a HERO BX received funding in the amount of $275,742, provided through Rural Development’s Section 9005 Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels. They are Pennsylvania's first large-scale biodiesel production facility and one of the five largest in the nation with annual production capacity of about 45 million gallons. As a supplier of alternative fuel additive methyl ester, HERO BX is a state-of-the-art biodiesel plant.

"The biofuels funding issued to Pennsylvania will be used to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels in rural areas," said Thomas Williams, Pennsylvania State Director for Rural Development. “This program is an important part of achieving the Obama administration's goal of out-building and out-innovating our global competitors by increasing biofuels production and use.”

USDA's Biorefinery Assistance Program provides loan guarantees to develop and construct commercial-scale biorefineries or to retrofit existing facilities using eligible technology for the development of advanced biofuels. Under the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA), USDA is making approximately $463 million in program level available for loan guarantees in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. For FY 2011, there is only one round of competition. Applications must be received by May 10, 2011.

The Repowering Assistance Program is designed to encourage the use of renewable biomass as a replacement fuel source for fossil fuels used to process heat or power in the operation of eligible biorefineries (those biorefineries in existence on June 18, 2008 -- the date the 2008 Farm Bill was enacted). Eligible project costs will be only for project related construction costs for repowering improvements associated with the equipment, installation, engineering, design, site plans, associated professional fees, permits and financing fees. Under this notice, USDA is making available approximately $25 million to make payments to eligible biorefineries. The deadline to apply for funding under this program is June 9, 2011. Details on how to apply are available in the March 11, 2011 Federal Register, page 13349.

The Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels works to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels by providing payments to eligible advanced biofuels producers. USDA may fund up to $85 million under a Notice of Contract Proposal (NOCP) for Payments to Eligible Advanced Biofuel Producers in FY 2011. The deadline to apply is May 10, 2011. To be eligible for payments, advanced biofuels must be produced from renewable biomass, excluding corn kernel starch, in a biofuel facility located in a state. Details on how to apply are available in the March 11, 2011 Federal Register, page 13345.

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 approximately 110 employees located in 11 offices throughout the Pennsylvania. 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. For more information on programs offered by USDA Rural Development, contact the Pennsylvania State Office at (717) 237-2299 or visit its website at