Portland, Mar 30, 2012 -- A $100,000 USDA Rural Development grant to the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) will help as many as 50 small businesses and agricultural producers reduce energy consumption and implement renewable energy technologies in rural Oregon. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the funding as one of 10 projects selected nationwide. The financial support will be made available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill.
The REAP grant, along with $26,800 in state funding, will allow ODOE to provide rural business owners, farmer and ranchers across the state key information and education about options for implementing energy efficiency measures and developing renewable energy systems. In addition, the grant will cover the costs of consultations and energy audits, as well as provide development assistance for qualifying participants interested in developing energy projects.
“Through partnership efforts like this, as well as our ongoing support for the installation of renewable energy generation systems, USDA is continuing to make America more energy efficient and energy independent,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker.
“With this funding and working with our partners, the State of Oregon will be able to bring more energy efficiency and renewable energy to rural small businesses,” said ODOE Director Bob Repine. “This geographically diverse effort will provide sustainable growth opportunities for agricultural producers by helping reduce their energy expenses.”
REAP loan guarantees and grants can be used for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. Grants may also be used for feasibility studies, renewable energy development assistance and energy audits. Please click here for more information on the REAP program in Oregon.
A complete list of energy audits and renewable energy development grants nationwide is available on the USDA Rural Development website. Funding for each recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions for the grant.
"For the first time in 13 years, imported oil accounts for less than 50% of the oil consumed in America. That is because we are producing more domestically, using more alternative fuels, and using less energy through energy efficiency efforts," said Vilsack. "Through the REAP program, USDA has partnered with more than 13,000 of America's farmers, ranchers and rural businesses to save energy and improve their bottom line by installing renewable energy systems and energy efficiency solutions.”
Since taking office, President Obama's 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 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 $165 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.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).