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Over $20M in New Renewable Energy Grants Awarded in Maine

Leigh Hallett
Release Date

USDA REAP Grants Help Rural Business Owners and Farmers Lower Energy Costs, Generate Income, and Expand Operations

Bangor, Aug. 30, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Maine State Director Rhiannon Hampson today announced that USDA is awarding 46 loans and grants to Maine agriculture producers and rural small businesses. Recipients will use the funds to access renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements. The projects will lower energy costs for the businesses, increasing their resilience and potential for growth. This investment is made possible in part by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis.

“Today we’re celebrating over 20 million dollars being brought home to Maine through the Inflation Reduction Act, but what does that dollar figure look like at work in our communities? It looks like 17 Maine farm and agricultural businesses being a part of the climate solution, 5 working waterfront businesses reducing overhead costs while maintaining one of our critical heritage industries, and 18 small businesses across rural Maine making the transition to renewable energy and game-changing efficiency upgrades,” State Director Hampson said. “Twenty million dollars sounds like an abstract number but, in reality, it is 46 more Maine companies making tangible their commitment to our shared future with their own investments and the support of the Biden-Harris Administration’s groundbreaking IRA.”

The grants and loans in Maine represent approximately 8% of the funds USDA is investing nationwide. They are part of 1,335 renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects in 47 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. The Department is awarding the loans and grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), including from the funding made possible by the landmark Inflation Reduction Act.

The Maine investments will impact a range of farms and business. For example:

  • Grandy Organics in Hiram will use a $171,219 grant to install energy efficient HVAC, stoves, and a dishwasher at this rural organic cereal manufacturer. This project is expected to offset 56.1 barrels of oil usage and save $16,465 annually.
  • Lakin Foley LLC (dba East Forty Farm Creamery) in Waldoboro will use a $19,540 grant to install a wood-fired gasification boiler, reducing the business’s reliance on the electrical grid to heat the buildings and conserving water. The new boiler is expected to save 26,609 kilowatt hours annually, with an estimated annual cost savings of $7,116.
  • Leonard Road Thorndike Solar LLC in Thorndike will use a $1 million grant to install a 1.58-megawatt solar array expected to offset over 950,700 pounds of coal usage, reducing carbon emissions by 859 metric tons annually. This project will also help the business generate nearly $358,000 annually.

The full list of Maine REAP grant awards announced today is available here: ME REAP Grant Awards 8/30/2023

Since December 2022, USDA has made up to $1.3 billion available in REAP funding through the Inflation Reduction Act. Eligible applicants include rural small business owners and agricultural producers. The funding announced today advances President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, driving over $500 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States.

USDA is making awards in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming, Guam and Puerto Rico.

The Department expects to make additional awards in the coming months. 

The next deadline for REAP applications is September 30, 2023 followed by December 30, 2023. USDA continues to accept applications and will hold funding competitions quarterly through Sept. 30, 2024. The funding includes $144.5 million for underutilized renewable energy technologies. For additional information on application deadlines and submission details, see the REAP Program Fact Sheet.

Background: Inflation Reduction Act

As a core pillar of Bidenomics and the President’s Investing in America agenda, the Inflation Reduction Act makes the largest investment in climate action in history and is lowering energy costs, bringing opportunity to communities across America and tackling the climate crisis through investments in agriculture, forest restoration, and rural communities.

The Biden-Harris Administration championed the Inflation Reduction Act to help provide new funding and unprecedented incentives to expand clean energy, transform rural power production, create jobs and spur economic growth. It is the largest single investment in rural electrification since the Rural Electrification Act of 1936. Through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Administration is delivering on its promise to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across America.

It provides funding to USDA Rural Development to help eligible organizations invest in renewable energy infrastructure and zero-emission systems and make energy-efficiency improvements that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will boost the long-term resiliency, reliability and affordability of rural electric systems. It will help families save money on utility bills, and it will expand rural opportunities in the clean-energy economy.

For more information on the Inflation Reduction Act, visit: https://www.rd.usda.gov/inflation-reduction-act.To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, visit www.rd.usda.gov or contact the nearest USDA Rural Development state office.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

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