Temple, Texas, Nov 10, 2011 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA has selected five projects in Texas for funding that are focused on helping rural agricultural producers conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. Funding is made available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.
"The Obama Administration is committed to making America more energy efficient, and in doing so, more competitive by encouraging rural businesses build renewable energy systems," said Tonsager. "The projects announced today will provide rural small businesses and agricultural producers the opportunity to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy system installations. Eligible intermediaries, such as universities, will receive funds to conduct energy audits which will lead to energy savings and initiatives that will reduce energy consumption for years to come.”
“We are pleased to provide grants for projects that will help rural Texans save resources and conserve energy,” said USDA Rural Development Texas State Director Paco Valentin. “As we continue to find ways to make America more energy independent, this program will be an outlet for rural businesses and agricultural producers allowing them to make their operations more energy efficient.”
Today's announcement is in concert with an agreement signed by Secretary Vilsack in December, 2009. During climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Secretary signed a historic agreement to help U.S. dairy producers cut greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement between USDA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy calls for the parties to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farms by 25 percent by 2020.
With today’s announcement, USDA nationwide is awarding more than $2.4 million in energy audits grants, Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants; and more than $1.2 million to support feasibility study projects. REAP loan guarantees and grants can be used for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies, renewable energy development assistance and energy audits. More information on the REAP program can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ReapGrants.html Funding of each recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions for the grant.
Texas Feasibility Study Recipients include Gulf Coast Wind LLC, Hall Brothers Partnership, Midwest Renewable Energy Inc., Mr. E. Green, Inc., and Wind Miner, LLC. Combined they will receive $167,348 which will be used to assist landowners study proposed 40-115 megawatt renewable energy projects of 212 wind turbines. The studies will cover wind assessment, interconnection, environmental impact, permitting requirements, economic, market, technical, financial, and management.
Since taking office, the Obama administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses and entrepreneurs creating job opportunities and for people who want to live, work, and raise their families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $155 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. 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.