REAP funds 19 anaerobic digester projects

By Anna Austin | October 26, 2011

USDA's Rural Energy for American Program will help fund 19 anaerobic digester projects in eight states, the USDA announced Oct. 26.

REAP, which was authorized through the 2008 Farm Bill, has three components: grants for energy audits and developments, feasibility grant programs and a guaranteed loan program. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis and can be up to 25 percent of total eligible project costs, but cannot exceed $500,000 for renewable energy systems, $250,000 for energy efficiency and up to $50,000 for renewable energy feasibility studies.

One specific project highlighted by the USDA is a digester to be constructed on Heller Farms near Alma Center in Jackson County, Wis. It is expected to annually produce 3.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year to power 400 average Wisconsin homes.

Digesters will also be constructed in Pennsylvania, Idaho, Iowa, Florida, Oregon, Ohio and Vermont.

According to the USDA, in 2011 REAP provided nearly $21 million in assistance for anaerobic digesters and leveraged over $110 million in project development. Through its Value-Added Producer Grant program, USDA provides planning grants of up to $100,000 and working capital grants of up to $300,000 to be used for establishment of a digester. Additionally, the Natural Resources Conservation Service offers financial and technical assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives program.

Despite REAP’s success during the past few years, funding for the program in the 2012 Farm Bill remains unclear. While it is likely to be significantly reduced, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently commented that REAP, along with the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, are two of his priorities in the bill.

REAP anaerobic digester funds announced today included grants and loans to the following:

Organic Matters Inc. Bartow, Fla. $201,498 grant

AgPower Jerome LLC Lincoln Co., Idaho $500,000 grant

New Energy Two LLC Middleton, Idaho $500,000 grant

New Energy Three LLC Middleton, Idaho $500,000 grant

Sioux Pharm Inc. Sioux Center, Iowa $263,250 loan, $263,250 grant

Mill Creek Digester LLC West Unity, Ohio $600,000 loan, $499,924 grant

Belmont County Bioenergy LLC Independence, Ohio $750,000 loan, $500,000 grant

Lime Lakes Energy LLC Norton, Ohio $1.5 million loan, $500,000 grant

Wooster Renewable Energy, LLC Wooster, Ohio $750,000 loan, $500,000 grant

Ringler Energy LLC Cardington, Ohio $3,238,750 loan, $500,000 grant

Haviland Energy LLC Paulding Co, Ohio $600,000 loan, $500,000 grant

Farm Power Misty Meadow LLC Tillamook, Ore. $1 million loan, $500,000 grant

Farm Power Tillamook LLC Tillamook, Ore. $2.65 million loan, $100,000 grant

Hard Earned Acres Inc. Shippensburg, Pa. $331,709 grant

Reinford-Frymoyer Farm LLC Mifflintown, Pa $337,224 grant

Arlen Benner Mount Joy, Pa. $500,000 grant

Jay Clifford Sensenig Lancaster Co., Pa. $309,733 grant

Riverview Farm Franklin, Vt. $429,703 loan, $214,851 grant

Heller Farms (Cow Poo LLC) Alma Center, Wis. $1,321,187 loan, $500,000 grant