USDA awards $327 million in REAP funding

By Erin Voegele | October 25, 2016

On Oct. 25, the USDA announced it is investing more than $300 million to help hundreds of small businesses adopt renewable energy sources or implement more efficient energy options. The investment includes $327 million to support 423 businesses through the Rural Energy for America Program and a $68 million loan awarded to the Pedernales Electric Cooperative of Johnson City, Texas, through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program to fund system-wide energy efficiency improvements to assist a rural portion of the co-op’s service territory.

"Cutting our energy waste is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to help families save money on their energy bills while reducing harmful carbon pollution. Over the course of nearly eight years, the Obama Administration has taken strong actions to advance energy efficiency in our homes and businesses," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Through efficiency upgrades and private-sector partnerships, America has been able to cut its carbon emissions, create jobs and save families hundreds of dollars at the pump and on their utility bills every year. The Rural Energy for America Program alone has helped roughly 15,000 rural small businesses, farmers and ranchers improve their bottom lines by installing renewable energy systems and energy efficiency solutions. When businesses lower their energy costs, they are also able to expand their services and contribute to stronger local economies."

Recipients of the REAP funds will use the loans and grants to install renewable energy systems, such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. The funds can also be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; or lighting and refrigeration units.

Bioenergy-related REAP awards made through the current round of funding include:

Gwitchyaa Zhee Utility Co. (Alaska): $250,000 grant to purchase and install a biomass boiler renewable energy system.

WOF SW GGP 1 LLC (Arizona):  $444,000 grant to purchase and install an anaerobic digester renewable energy system.

Desert View LLC (California): $88,111 grant to purchase and install an anaerobic digester renewable energy system.

Lone Oak Energy LLC (California): $438,899 grant to purchase and install an anaerobic digester renewable energy system.

Synergy Solutions Crisp County LP (Georgia): $371,292 grant to purchase and install a biomass boiler renewable energy system.

Wheeler Logging LLC (Georgia): $95,980 grant to purchase and install a wood chipper renewable energy system.

Little Sioux Corn Processors LLC (Iowa): $165,000 grant to make energy efficiency improvements with the retrofitting of an ethanol refinery.

Siouxland Energy Cooperative (Iowa): $165,000 grant to make energy efficiency improvements with the retrofitting of an ethanol refinery.

Lincolnland Agri-Energy LLC (Illinois): $77,984 grant to purchase and install a fermenter for ethanol production.

Bruce Stedman (Maine):  $42,226 grant to purchase and install two biomass boiler renewable energy systems.

Chippewa Valley Ethanol Cooperative LLP (Minnesota): $250,000 grant to make energy efficiency improvements with the evaporator of an ethanol refinery.

Holliday Investments Inc. (Missouri): $42,775 grant to purchase and install a biomass boiler.

Siouxland Ethanol LLC (Nebraska): $500,000 grant to purchase and install the equipment for the retrofiting of an ethanol facility.

Greene Bioenergy LLC (Ohio): $500,000 grant and $1.015 million loan to purchase and install an anaerobic digester renewable energy system.

Natural Bioenergy LLC (Ohio): $309,805 grant to purchase and install an anaerobic digester renewable energy system.

Northwest Bioenergy (Ohio): $166,000 grant to purchase and install a drying and gasification renewable energy system.

Drew E. Remley (Pennsylvania): $231,356 grant to purchase and install an anaerobic digester renewable energy system.

New River Hardwoods Inc. (Tennessee): $125,243 grant to purchase and install a steam biomass renewable energy system.

Kingdom Pellets LLC (Vermont): $2.5 million loan to purchase and install a biomass renewable energy system.

Spaulding Construction Inc. (Vermont): $134,422 grant to purchase and install a wood chipper to produce biomass fuel for electricity generation.

WOF PNW POG 1 LLC (Washington): $500,000 grant to make energy efficiency improvements to an anaerobic digester.

Badger State Ethanol LLC (Wisconsin): $492,327 grant to purchase and install the equipment for the retrofiting of an ethanol facility.

A full list of awards can be downloaded from the USDA website 

Since 2009, 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. In mid-October, the USDA announced it is currently accepting applications for the next rounds of REAP funding.

Applications for energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants are due Jan. 31. Applications for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency grants of $20,000 or less are due Oct. 31 for the first funding cycle and March 31 for the second. Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency grants of greater than $20,000 and all combination grants and guarantees are due March 31. According to the USDA, it will set aside 20 percent of the funds for grants of $20,000 or less. The agency also said applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency grants or for loan-grant combinations that are received after March 31 will be considered in fiscal year 2018, which starts Oct. 1, 2017. Guaranteed loan applications will be reviewed and processed when received, with periodic completions.