Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced that USDA is seeking applications for grants to offset high energy costs in rural areas. In Nevada the Moapa Tribe used a HEC grant to offset the cost of converting from diesel power to a combination of solar, high efficiency diesel, and battery power on their reservation outside Las Vegas.
USDA is making the funding available through the High Energy Cost Grant program. This program helps state and local governments and nonprofit agencies acquire, construct, extend, upgrade or otherwise improve energy generation, transmission or distribution facilities. Grants may also be used for programs to install on-grid and off-grid renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements.
Eligible projects must be in communities where the average residential home energy expenditure is at least 275 percent of the national average. USDA expects to award up to $10 million for Fiscal Year 2019.
Electronic applications must be submitted to grants.gov by June 24, 2019.
USDA encourages applications that will support recommendations made in the report to the President from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to help improve life in rural America. Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results to help rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Key strategies include:
Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America
Developing the Rural Economy
Harnessing Technological Innovation
Supporting a Rural Workforce
Improving Quality of Life