USDA Invests Nearly $962,000 to Support 40 Nebraska Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects

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USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul announces the awarding of nearly $962,000 in grants for 40 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that are supported through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

"Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects supports rural and local energy sources.  Energy creates jobs, reduces greenhouse gas pollution and aligns us for a more secure energy future,” said Moul.

The projected energy savings from the announced projects is equivalent to the amount required to power 345 homes.  Siouxland Ethanol, LLC will produce enough energy to fuel 6,775 vehicles.  Funding for the projects is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the grant agreement.

The recipients, and their counties, are:

- Thoar, LLC - $10,399 - Replace lighting, doors, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, add insulation, infiltration improvements

-Sharon Wilkinson - $6,150 - Diesel to electric motor conversion
-Elsie Coy - $14,455 - Propane to electric irrigation conversion
-Schindler Grain & Livestock, LLC - $6,726 - Diesel to electric motor conversion

-Jay Harnagel - $19,460 - Install a 25 kW solar array for grain drying
-B & C Siding & Construction, Inc. - $19,750 - Install a 25kW solar array
-Kent Schroeder - $2,957 - Replace inefficient windows
-Mike Adams - $3,534 - Install a 0.38 kW solar stock well system 
-Adam's Corner Market - $14,138 - Replace freezers and two rooftop air conditioning units

-Gary Powell - $12,170 - Install 24.4 kW solar array
-Gregory Brummond - $9,927 - Install 10 kW solar array 

-Cedar View Country Club, Inc. - $4,722 - Windows and insulated siding

-Ru_De's Mart, Inc. - $10,940 - Freezer replacement

-Kimball Farms, Inc. - $19,923 - Install a 25 kW solar array for ag buildings and grain dryer
-John Blakeman - $18,600 - Install 25 kW solar array
-Rodney Eugene Ross - $18,600 - Install 25 kW solar array 
-D L Partnership, LTD - $16,601 – Electric irrigation motor conversion, underground pipe, and well 

-Siouxland Ethanol, LLC - $500,000 - Install additional fermenter and cooling tower and upgrade existing beer masher unit

-Nicholas Haack - $7,683 - Convert irrigation system from gravity to pivot, add underground pipe and wire and remove tree

-Eustis Body Shop, Inc. - $4,317 - Direct use geothermal heat pump

-Rocking Diamond A Ranch, LLC - $3,115 - Diesel to electric irrigation motor conversion

-Raun Farm, Inc. - $16,702 - Install 10kW solar array

-Robert Green - $3,854 - Diesel to electric irrigation motor conversion
-Ryan Ruzicka - $10,924 - Diesel to electric irrigation motor conversion
-The Blfd Closet, LLC - $8,268 - HVAC replacement and adding of insulation

-DL Partnership, LTD - $2,854 - Six 110 W solar panels with submersible water pumps
-Edwin Hahn - $3,575 - Diesel to electric irrigation motor conversion
-Stapleton Cooperative Market and Deli - $24,853 - Coolers, freezers and furnace
-Donald Holmstedt - $11,520 - Install 10 kW solar panel array

-Merlyn Bender - $8,209 - Install waste heat recovery system

-Osler Heritage, LLC - $10,114 - Natural gas to electric irrigation motor and pump conversion

Scotts Bluff 
-Sarchet Ventures LLC-$17,900 - Install 24.96 kW solar array

-Robert Riessland - $15,897 - Diesel to electric irrigation motor conversion, abandon and replace well
-Bruce Slocum dba Litchfield Pack - $19,477 - Insulate coolers, replace condensers, and replace lighting 

-Jade Wolfgang dba Wolfgang Grocery & Spirits - $10,651 - Replace coolers, HVAC, and lighting 

-John S. Goertzen - $20,000 - Grain dryer replacement
-KLD, Inc. - $10,969 - Grain dryer replacement
-Harmony Nursery - $17,794 - Install a 25 kWh solar array 
-Ron & Jerry's, Inc. - $5,750 - Install a 6.5 kW solar array
-JTG Farms, Inc. - $18,250 - Grain dryer replacement

Eligible agricultural producers and rural small businesses may use REAP funds to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems, including solar, wind, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydroelectric, ocean energy, hydrogen, and geothermal.

Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency grants of $20,000 or less (25% of total eligible project costs) are due by Oct. 31, 2016, for the first funding cycle and March 31, 2017, for the second funding cycle.  Grant requests for this round have a simplified, streamlined process and can be as low as $2,500 for renewable energy projects and $1,500 for energy efficiency projects. The next funding deadline will be March 31, 2017 for projects of any size with maximum grants limited to $500,000 for renewable energy projects and $250,000 for energy efficiency projects (25% of total eligible project costs).  Any eligible applications not funded during the October 31, 2017 funding cycle will be reconsidered.  Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency guaranteed loans (up to 75% of total eligible project costs) are accepted at any time and compete on a monthly basis. The minimum guaranteed loan amount to a borrower is $5,000 and the maximum amount is $25 million. See page 71689 of the October 18 Federal Register for more information.

Congress created the REAP program in the 2002 Farm Bill and reauthorized it in the 2014 Farm Bill with guaranteed funding of at least $50 million annually for the duration of the five-year bill.

From 2009 to date, REAP has helped finance more than 11,600 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that have reduced energy costs for roughly 15,000 rural businesses. During this period, USDA has provided more than $380 million in grants and almost $688 million in loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small business owners. When operational, these projects will generate or save almost 9 million megawatt hours – enough to power more than 730,000 homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more 5 million metric tons in carbon dioxide each year. That is the equivalent of removing 1.5 million cars from our roads.

Since 2009, USDA Rural Development (@USDARD ) has invested nearly $13 billion to start or expand nearly 112,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 9,200 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. USDA also has invested $31.3 billion in 963 electric projects that have financed more than 185,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents. For more information, visit

To read more about USDA’s investments in renewable energy and the bio-based economy, visit USDA's entry on, Powering America with a More Sustainable Energy Future.

Last Modified: 10/26/2016