Des Moines, IA, Apr 15, 2011 -- Contact: Darin Leach, Public Information Coordinator
Phone: (515) 284-4747 (office); (515) 669-5691 (cell) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
USDA Rural Development Invites Applications for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects
Agricultural Producers in Non-Rural Areas Are Now Eligible,
Funding May Be Used for Flex-Fuel Pumps
DES MOINES, Iowa – April 15, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack yesterday invited agricultural producers and rural small businesses to apply for loans and grants to implement renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.
“Biofuels and other renewable energy sources present an enormous economic opportunity for rural America and the rest of the nation,” Vilsack said. “President Obama and I recognize that we need to win the future by implementing a long-term strategy to meet our country’s current and long-term energy needs. The funding I am announcing will help make America’s farmers, ranchers and rural businesses more energy efficient.”
USDA is providing funding for up to $61 million in guaranteed loans and $42 million in grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Funds are available to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses develop renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements and conduct studies to determine the feasibility of renewable energy systems.
USDA recently issued a rule to clarify that the definition of renewable energy systems in REAP includes flexible fuel pumps, sometimes referred to as “blender pumps.” This clarification is intended to provide fuel station owners with incentives to install flexible fuel pumps that will offer Americans more renewable energy options. The Obama Administration has set a goal of installing 10,000 flexible fuel pumps nationwide within five years.
The rule also clarifies that grants are available for audits of energy improvements and studies to determine the feasibility of renewable energy systems. Agricultural producers in non-rural areas are eligible for REAP assistance. Small businesses must still be located in rural areas. This clarification makes REAP eligibility requirements consistent with those of other USDA energy programs.
“Iowa is already a leader in the country when it comes to biofuels, but we still have a relatively limited number of pumps that put out anything more than E-10,” said Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa. “We have a potential great demand for E-15 and E-85, we just need more facilities that can offer them.”
REAP Applications No Being Accepted … page 2
Since Rural Development’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs were launched in 2003, they have played a key role in helping more than 6,000 local businesses create jobs and make energy efficiency improvements.
USDA Rural Development is an equal opportunity lender with a variety of direct and guaranteed rural credit programs involving single and multi-family housing, community facilities, water and sewer development and business and cooperative programs.
For more information about finance programs through USDA Rural Development, please call (515) 243-284-4663 or visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.
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