ST. PAUL, Minn., July 13, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director in Minnesota Colleen Landkamer today announced that USDA is making $21 million in technical assistance grants available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses access federal funds for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements.
“This funding is meant to ensure that rural communities get fair financial opportunities to make energy more affordable, create new economic opportunity, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Landkamer said. “The investments made under this funding will not only help producers and small businesses lower energy costs, but also access new markets and strengthen their operations.”
Eligible recipients for these grants include state, Tribal or local governments; colleges and universities; electric cooperatives and utility companies; and for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Recipients may use the funds to:
- Help rural agricultural producers and small business owners apply for REAP funding.
- Provide information on how business owners and agricultural producers can improve the energy efficiency of their operations and use renewable energy technologies and resources.
- Conduct required energy assessments and audits.
- Help agricultural producers and small business owners plan, build or develop renewable energy or energy efficiency projects.
This announcement is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and the Bidenomics strategy to grow the American economy from the middle out and bottom up by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, driving over $500 billion in private-sector manufacturing investments, creating good-paying jobs, and building a clean-energy economy to tackle the climate crisis and make our communities more resilient. REAP is also part of the Justice40 Initiative, which is advancing environmental justice by ensuring that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments reach disadvantaged communities that are marginalized and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment.
USDA will give funding priority to applicants proposing to assist disadvantaged communities, applicants pursuing projects using underutilized technologies and applicants seeking grants under $20,000.
Interested applicants are encouraged to reach out to Minnesota’s Rural Business-Cooperative Programs Director Andrew Gag at Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, see the July 13 Federal Register.
Inflation Reduction Act: Background
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. The Inflation Reduction Act 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.
Contact USDA Rural Development
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.8 million residents living in rural Minnesota. Office locations include a state office in Alexandria, Baxter, Bemidji, Cambridge, Detroit Lakes, Faribault, Marshall, St. Paul, Thief River Falls, Willmar, and Worthington.
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