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USDA Invests Almost $72K in Critical Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change in Montana's Rural Communities

Name
Sue Kerver
City
Bozeman
Release Date
Aug 24, 2022

BOZEMAN, Mont., Aug. 24, 2022 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD) Montana State Director Kathleen Williams today announced USDA RD Montana is investing $71,554 for eight projects through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants program to combat climate change and help people living in socially vulnerable communities throughout the state.

“As increasingly volatile weather continues to affect Montana and the West, we all need to do what we can to reduce the impacts of climate change,” Williams said. “Each of these projects represents Montana businesses and entrepreneurs stepping up to both save energy and reduce costs – a win-win. We at Rural Development are pleased and honored to support their efforts.”

This announcement is part of a nationwide press release where USDA Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh announced USDA is investing $121 million in critical infrastructure to combat climate change across rural America. The investments include $111 million for 289 projects to help people living in socially vulnerable communities. 

Bronaugh highlighted a total of 415 investments that USDA is making through three programs specifically designed to help people and businesses in rural areas. These programs are Community Facilities Disaster Grants, Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants, and Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Grants.

In Montana, as part of today's announcement:

  • JMS Trucking, Inc., a freight shipping company in Lewistown which has been in operation since 2010, will use a $8,507 REAP award to purchase and install a 15.30 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system. The solar system will generate 18,237 kilowatt hours of energy, replacing 100 percent of their energy consumption. This energy is enough to provide power to one house annually. 

  • Polebridge Penny LLC, a sought-after tiny house rental in the remote, off-grid community of Polebridge, will use a $10,846 REAP award to make energy-efficient improvements to their operations. Project funds will be used to install a 4.8 kilowatt-hours (kWh) solar array on their business. This project is expected to provide 5,732 kWh of clean, renewable energy and decrease Polebridge Penny's reliance on propane, wood and natural gas in their remote North Fork Road location.

  • House of Yum LLC, a bakery and café that has been in business for over six years in Columbia Falls, will use a $7,569 REAP award to develop a renewable energy system and make energy-efficiency improvements to their operations. Project funds will be used to install an 8.4 kilowatt-hours (kWh) solar array, which is expected to provide 8,865 kWh, or 14 percent of the annual electrical consumption at their location.

  • Brandon Hay Furniture LLC, a woodworking shop in Belgrade, will use a $6,266 REAP award to make energy-efficiency improvements to their operations.  Project funds will be used to purchase and install a 7.9 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system, and a heating and cooling system, which is expected to realize $1,313 per year in savings.  This project should save 10,943 kW annually, which is enough electricity to power one home.

  • Reilly Ranch LLC, an agriculture producer in Judith Basin, will use a $5,174 REAP award to offset the purchase and installation costs of an 8.36 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system. The system will replace 8,235 kilowatt hours of energy and save the producer $988 annually.  This energy is enough to provide power to one house annually. 

  • Goodkind Gulch LLC, a rental office space building in historic downtown Helena, will use a $14,570 REAP award to make energy-efficient improvements to their operations. Project funds will be used to purchase and install a 20.91 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system, which is expected to realize $2,029 per year in savings. This solar project should save 25,364 kW annually, which is enough electricity to power two homes.

  • Stone Temple Fitness & Spa LLC, a full service, boutique gym and day spa in White Sulphur Springs, will use a $14,175 REAP award to develop a renewable energy system and make energy-efficiency improvements to their operations.  Project funds will be used to purchase and install a 19.58 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system, which is expected to realize $2,657 per year in savings.  This solar project should save 22,750 kW annually, which is enough electricity to power two homes.

  • First & Last Chance 406 LLC, a family-owned convenience stored in Wibaux, will use a $4,447 REAP award to complete energy efficiency upgrades to their storefront. Project funds will be used to purchase and install new energy efficient windows and doors as well as complete a LED lighting upgrade, which is expected to save $1,230 per year in electricity and gas consumption. 

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants application period is currently open and closes October 31, 2022.

Click here to see an example of how a previous awardee in Deer Lodge, Mont. used the REAP program to offset costs for upgrading old lighting and make other energy efficiency improvements to the family-run business.   

To learn more about business investment resources for Montana's rural areas, contact Montana's Business and Cooperative Programs Director, Lad Barney, at (406) 309-3350 or lad.barney@usda.gov

Background:

These investments reflect the goals of the Inflation Reduction Act, which addresses immediate economic needs and includes the largest ever federal investment in clean energy for the future. For example, the Act includes $14 billion in funding for USDA programs that support the expansion of biofuels and help rural businesses and electric cooperatives transition to renewable energy and zero-emission systems.

The investments will help state and local government entities, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Tribes construct, renovate or purchase and install equipment for essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. They also will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems as well as make energy efficiency improvements. The investments will also help with energy audits, renewable energy technical assistance, and renewable energy site assessments.

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/mt. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

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