Portland, OR, Jun 27, 2012 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week announced that USDA Rural Development has selected for funding 450 projects nationwide, including 20 in Oregon, that are focused on helping agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption and costs; use renewable energy technologies in their operation; and/or 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 and USDA are helping agricultural producers and rural small business owners reduce their energy costs and consumption – and by doing so is helping to create jobs, preserve our natural resources, protect the environment, and strengthen the bottom line for businesses." said Vilsack.
For example, Klamath Veterinary Services will receive a $16,695 grant to offset the $66,781 purchase and installation cost for a 9.9 kW solar PV system at the East Ridge Animal Clinic in Klamath Falls, Oregon. The system will generate 22,000 kWh for the electrical grid and generate an estimated $5,370 in revenues for the business each year. With the benefit of additional state and federal incentives and tax credits, the company expects the system to pay for itself in less than six years.
“The long-term cost savings for us will be huge,” said clinic owner-operator Dr. Douglas McInnis.
The associated environmental benefits, however, were the primary reason this small business is adding solar. In addition to renewable energy, McInnis explains, “we are implementing other green measures, such as recycling. It’s the right thing to do.”
In addition, Colahan Enterprises, Inc. was selected to receive $26,234 to help study the feasibility of tapping the region’s geothermal resources to generate electricity at their Paisley, Oregon, ranch. The studies will cost approximately $105,000 and are necessary to identify environmentally and financially sound plans for the development of a proposed 2 MW geothermal electric power facility that would produce clean, renewable energy for residents and businesses in southern Oregon.
"Innovative projects like these are part of the Administration's "all of the above" energy strategy,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker. “Stable energy costs create an environment for sustainable job growth, which is critical for rural Oregon."
REAP offers funds for farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy-efficiency improvements. This federal support leverages other funding sources for businesses. In all, USDA announced nearly $7.4 million in energy grants through the current announcement. Of that, more than $242,000 will support energy projects in Oregon.
This week’s announcement is an example of investments the Obama Administration is making to help create jobs and grow the rural economy. For a complete listing of Rural Energy for America Program grant recipients announced today, please click here.
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, the President is committed to a smarter use of existing Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities. The Council is working to break down silos, find areas for better collaboration and improved flexibility in government programs, and work closely with local governments, non-profits and private companies to leverage federal support.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $170 billion in 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 to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).