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USDA Invests in Critical Infrastructure in Rural Nebraska

Name
Kate Bolz
City
Lincoln, Nebraska
Release Date
Dec 20, 2022

LINCOLN, Neb., Dec. 20, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Nebraska Kate Bolz today announced USDA is investing over $2 million in critical infrastructure to lower energy costs and expand access to clean energy for people across rural Nebraska. USDA is also making an additional $300 million available nationwide under the Rural Energy for America Program, including $250 million through the Inflation Reduction Act, to spur further investment.

“Nebraska businesses and agricultural producers benefit from savings on their energy bills while our communities benefit from new jobs and stronger energy infrastructure.  These projects are a win-win here in the heartland” explains Bolz.

USDA is making 844 investments through the Rural Energy for America Program. This program helps farmers, ag producers and entrepreneurs purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. Thirty-four projects were funded in Nebraska ranging from Falls City to Gering and backing projects such as solar panels and electric irrigation motors in a wide variety of businesses.

Some examples include:

  • Vantec Nebraska LLC, a manufacturer of plastic injected automotive parts in Falls City, Nebraska, will install a 250 kilowatt (kW) solar array. This project is expected to support 21 percent of the company’s energy use per year.
  • JAJO LLC, a swine finisher in Brunswick, Nebraska, will install a 30.4 kilowatt (kW) solar array. This project is expected support 49 percent of the company's energy use per year.

USDA also announced that it will make $300 million available under the Rural Energy for America Program to expand renewable energy and support energy-efficiency projects for people living in rural America. This funding includes $250 million provided by the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic legislative package known as the Inflation Reduction Act. The deadline to apply for grants is March 31, 2023. Applications for technical assistance grants are due Jan. 31, 2023. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact their local USDA Rural Development State Energy Coordinator well in advance of the application deadlines to discuss their project and ask any questions about the REAP program or the application process. Additional information on the required materials and how to apply for the REAP program are available in the Dec 15, 2022, Federal Register.

Background:
The Rural Energy for America Program investments announced in Nebraska today are part of a larger nationwide announcement made recently by USDA Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and reflect the goals of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act.

In August, Congress passed the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic legislative package known as the Inflation Reduction Act to reduce energy costs for families and create thousands of good-paying jobs for people across rural America. The Inflation Reduction Act represents the largest single investment in rural electrification since the passage of the Rural Electrification Act in 1936.

The Act provides funding to USDA Rural Development to help eligible entities purchase renewable energy and zero-emission systems and make energy-efficiency improvements that will significantly reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. For example, it provides:

  • Up to $1 billion for RUS loans for renewable energy infrastructure; up to $2.025 billion for the RBCS Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), with $303 million set aside for underutilized technologies and technical assistance.
  • Up to $500 million in RBCS grants for infrastructure improvements to blend, store, or distribute biofuels. This includes installing, retrofitting, or upgrading dispensers for ethanol at retail stations as well as home heating oil distribution centers.
  • Up to $9.7 billion for RUS to offer loans, grants, loan modifications and other financial assistance to support the purchase of renewable energy systems, zero-emission systems, and carbon capture systems.

This commitment to cleaner energy will help USDA Rural Development provide resources to reduce climate pollution and ensure that rural people and their communities have access to a clean, secure energy supply to keep people and economies prepared for the future.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, 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.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate, smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov/ne. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

 

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