|USDA ANNOUNCES RENEWABLE ENERGY GRANTS, 25 MINNESOTA FARMERS AND SMALL BUSINESSES SELECTED|
|ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug 17, 2011
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USDA Announces Grants to Boost Renewable Energy Production, 25 Projects in Minnesota Selected to Receive Almost $300,000
ST. PAUL, Minn. Aug. 17 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced that 25 farmers and rural small businesses in Minnesota have been selected to receive almost $300,000 in grants to install renewable energy systems or flex fuel pumps, and make energy efficiency improvements. The funds come from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
“This funding reduces our dependence of foreign sources of energy and boosts the rural economy,” Landkamer said. “These grants will save farmers and small business owners tens of thousands of dollars annually and is an important part of the Obama Administration’s plan to conserve natural resources, create jobs, and lead our country to energy independence.”
Since its creation in the 2008 Farm Bill, the REAP program has helped over 300 Minnesota farmers and small businesses cut energy costs by installing renewable energy systems or making energy efficiency improvements. Examples of projects include small wind turbines, grain dyers, solar panels, heating and cooling systems, lighting, insulation, refrigeration and siding.
New to the REAP program in 2011 is the ability to finance the purchase and installation of flex fuel pumps at convenience stores, co-ops and C-stores. The Glencoe Co-op Association in Glencoe, Viking Petroleum in Frost and Severson Oil in Winona were the first three projects in Minnesota to use REAP funds to install flex fuel pumps.
Over 900 projects totaling more than $11.6 million were announced nationally. A complete list of projects can be viewed here.
Funding of each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. Grants can finance up to 25 percent of a project's cost, not to exceed $500,000 for renewables, $250,000 for efficiency.
USDA Rural Development has over 40 programs to improve housing, infrastructure, community facilities, businesses and job creation in rural areas. Rural Development has invested about $3 billion throughout Minnesota since 2009.
To learn more about Rural Development programs, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn. To learn more about the REAP program, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn/RBS/Section%209006%20Renewable%20Energy%20Program.htm.