Projects Will Help People in Socially Vulnerable Communities
COLUMBIA, S.C., August 24, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh today 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.
“Rural America is on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen all of our resilience,” Bronaugh said. “The Biden-Harris Administration has created a roadmap for how we can tackle the climate crisis and expand access to renewable energy infrastructure. The investments we’re announcing today and those that will be made possible by historic funding from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act will strengthen our energy security, create good-paying jobs and save Americans money on their energy costs.”
The funding will help people in 49 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. It reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development helps rural residents, businesses and communities address economic development, infrastructure and social service needs.
“South Carolina funded nine projects totaling over $2.8 million in this round of funding,” said USDA State Director for South Carolina Dr. Saundra Glover. “Reducing climate pollution and increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change through economic support to rural communities is one of our top priorities and we will continue to incorporate these priorities into the work we do across the state and with our partners.”
These investments reflect the goals of President Biden’s 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.
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.
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. For example, in South Carolina:
- Clover Knits, Inc. located in York County, will use $106,875 to install a 229.2 kW roof mounted solar array. Clover Knits Inc. is a small circular fabric manufacturer in Clover, South Carolina. The new system is expected to save $28,592 per year. It will replace 326,835 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is enough energy to power 31 homes.
- Double B Poultry LLC, an Aiken County poultry operation that has been in business since 2015, will use a $79,325 investment to purchase and install a 190.0-kW solar array. This project will realize $19,070 per year in savings and will replace 297,967 kWh per year, which is enough electricity to power 28 homes.
- Woodfields Solar LLC, a newly created entity for the purposes of generating electricity in Greenwood, South Carolina, will use a $2,250,000 Rural Energy for America Program investment to purchase and install a 2.92 MW solar array system. The system is estimated to produce 5,264,637 kWh per year, which is enough electricity to power 485 homes.
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. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
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.
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