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USDA RD Invests Over $5 Million in Critical Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change Across Illinois

Jenny Warning
Champaign, IL
Release Date

CHAMPAIGN, IL Dec. 15, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that Rural Development is investing over $5 million in critical infrastructure to combat climate change and expand access to clean energy for people across rural Illinois.

“People in rural America provide the everyday essentials we all depend on,” Torres Small said. “Through the Inflation Reduction Act, farmers and business owners in rural Illinois have partners they can depend on in the Biden-Harris Administration and USDA, as we invest in affordable, clean energy, good-paying jobs and thriving communities.”

Nationwide, Rural Development is making 844 investments in 46 states 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. It reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses lower energy costs.

In Illinois:

  • WCP Financials C&B Project Company LLC will use a $3,505,000 loan to install a 3-MW roof-mounted solar array. The power generated will be sold to Euromarkets Design doing business as Crate & Barrel. The array will generate 3,638,590 kilowatt hours (kWh), which is enough to power 335 homes. This will replace approximately 35 percent of the facility’s needs.
  • In Hebron, Illinois, Philip Walters will use a $75,000 grant to help purchase and install an energy-efficient grain dryer. This project is expected to save more than $52,300 in energy costs annually by replacing 1,113,301 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which is enough energy to power 102 homes.
  • Lacon Rehab and Nursing LLC operates a skilled nursing and sub-acute rehabilitation facility located in Lacon, IL. They are receiving a $150,000 grant to purchase and install a 556 kilowatt (kW) solar array. This project will save the business more than $41,300 per year and will replace 751,710 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is enough energy to power 69 homes.

For a complete list of projects in Illinois from this announcement, be sure to click the link here.

USDA also announced today 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 will be available in Federal Register.

The Rural Energy for America Program investments announced today 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 (IRA) to reduce energy costs for families and create thousands of good-paying jobs for people across rural America. IRA 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 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. 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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