USDA announces $21M in available renewable energy, efficiency grants for rural Kansans

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Grants totaling $21 million are available for rural Kansans through the Rural Energy for America Program to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses access federal funds for
renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements, according to a press release Thursday from the USDA’s Rural Development state office in Topeka.

“These new grants can assist rural Kansas businesses navigate renewable energy systems and make their energy more affordable while boosting their independence,” U.S. Department of Agriculture Kansas Rural Development Director Christy Davis said. “These technical assistance grants will help provide hands-on support to farmers, ranchers and rural small business owners for systems, like wind and solar, and energy efficiency measures.”

The Rural Energy for America Program — or REAP — was authorized by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill.

The program recently saw a funding increase of $2 billion via the passage of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act when the U.S. House of Representatives had a Democratic majority.

No Republicans voted for the Inflation Reduction Act in the House — including Congressman Ron Estes of south central Kansas. Still, it passed 220-213.

In the U.S. Senate, Kansas Senators Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall also joined their GOP colleagues en masse against the Inflation Reduction Act. It passed via a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris 51-50 before it was signed into law by President Joe Biden last August.

Eligible recipients for these grants include state, Tribal or local governments; colleges and universities; electric cooperatives and utility companies; and for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

Recipients may use the funds to:

  • Help rural agricultural producers and small business owners apply for REAP
    funding.
  • Provide information on how business owners and agricultural producers can
    improve the energy efficiency of their operations and use renewable energy
    technologies and resources.
  • Conduct required energy assessments and audits.
  • Help agricultural producers and small business owners plan, build or develop
    renewable energy or energy efficiency projects.

USDA will give funding priority to applicants proposing to assist disadvantaged communities, applicants pursuing projects using underused technologies and applicants seeking grants under $20,000.

To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

USDA 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.

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