Funding to help businesses and communities access clean energy,
upgrade infrastructure, and safeguard the environment in
Bangor, Brunswick, Freeport, Richmond, and Topsham.
Bangor, Nov. 1, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Maine State Director Rhiannon Hampson today announced that USDA is awarding $7.6M in grants to Maine towns and businesses. The awards are for projects that will save businesses and municipalities money. They also will help safeguard Maine’s environment. USDA is funding projects for 3 businesses and 2 communities through its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and Water and Environmental Program (WEP). This funding is made possible in part by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the nation’s largest-ever investment to combat the climate crisis.
“The projects announced today, individually, are meaningful to each Mainer who will benefit from them,” said Director Hampson. “Together, this slate of diverse investments represents a huge win for all of Maine. This IRA funding supports both municipal and private sector businesses to be climate champions and smart resource managers. The Biden-Harris Administration has re-invested our tax dollars right here at home in our rural communities – allowing us to plan for the future while making the most of today’s opportunities. I applaud the companies and communities who are supporting a cleaner, healthier Maine by partnering with us at USDA Rural Development to bring these dollars home to work.”
In this round of funding, USDA is investing $166,452.00 in renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects in Maine. The Department is awarding the REAP grants to:
- Mua Lobster LLC of Brunswick ($37,584.00) to install a 24.93-kilowatt roof-mounted solar photovoltaic system. The company expects to save almost $7K annually thanks to the project, generating almost 30K kilowatt hours.
- Exchange Block Fed Investor LLC of Bangor ($45,212.00) to install a 16.32-kilowatt roof-mounted solar photovoltaic system. Through this project, the real estate investment business expects to save 830 gallons of gasoline or 17 barrels of oil annually.
- FRG Inc. dba Goodwin's Volvo ($83,656.00) of Topsham to install an 87.36-kilowatt roof-mounted solar photovoltaic system generating almost 78K kilowatt hours annually. The car dealership expects the project will have an environmental impact equal to planting 906 trees, taking seven homes off the grid, or avoiding 22 cross-country flights.
The second type of USDA Rural Development funding announced in Maine today comes via its Water and Environmental Programs (WEP). This program supports rural economic development by providing grant and loan financing for water and waste infrastructure. USDA RD will award funding to two communities:
- The Richmond Utilities District will use a $100K loan to complete a project it began in 2017 to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. Through this project, the district has improved services for its users. It has also helped to protect the local environment from pollution by untreated wastewater. Previously USDA RD awarded the district $7M in grants and the same amount in long-term, low-interest loans. It will use the latest loan to complete work on the wastewater treatment plant and administrative office. Richmond is located on the Kennebec River and Merrymeeting Bay.
- The Freeport Sewer District will use its USDA RD grant of $7.5M and loan of $12.6M to rehabilitate its wastewater treatment plant and collection system. It will upgrade equipment that is nearly 50 years old. These improvements will help the system operate more effectively and efficiently and help alleviate health and sanitary concerns. Freeport is located on the Harraseeket River and Casco Bay.
The WEP grants and loans are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s $55 billion nationwide investment in water and wastewater infrastructure. The administration designated this funding to improve the quality of life for millions of people in rural America by eliminating lead pipes, providing critical access to sanitation, ensuring access to affordable clean drinking water, and reducing drought.
For more information:
USDA Rural Development accepts REAP grant applications quarterly and will hold funding competitions quarterly through Sept. 30, 2024. The next deadline is December 31, 2023. Please contact Katrina Shaw, RBCS Maine State Energy Coordinator (email@example.com or 207-990-9129) with questions about the REAP program.
Maine’s USDA RD Water and Waste Disposal Grant and Loan Program is accepting applications. State and local governments, private nonprofits, and federally recognized tribes are eligible to apply. Interested applicants should visit www.rd.usda.gov/me or call 207-990-9160 to be directed to the nearest area office.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.