U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh today announced USDA is investing $121 million in critical infrastructure (PDF, 541 KB) 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.
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. Some examples include:
Rogers Orchards, Inc., an 8th generation family farm in Southington, Connecticut, will use an $11,221 Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grant to install LED lighting. This project will realize $12,196 per year in savings and will replace 63,425 kWh (19 percent) per year, which is enough electricity to power five homes for one year.
BBB Supermarket LLC in Albany, Louisiana, will use a $20,000 Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grant to install a cool roof-coating. This project is expected to save $25,205 per year. It will replace 147,744 kilowatt hours (kWh) (12 percent of the company’s energy use) per year, which is enough energy to power 14 homes for one year.
The Community College System of New Hampshire will use a $91,304 Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Grant to continue a successful renewable energy development assistance program called “NH Rural Renewables.” The program emphasizes solar photovoltaic, wood thermal energy, and energy efficiency technologies. Forty-four rural small businesses and agricultural producers throughout New Hampshire will benefit from the program.
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.