JOHANNS ANNOUNCES OVER $21 MILLION IN ENERGY PROJECTS
AMES, Iowa, Feb. 24, 2006 -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced the award of 14 grants and one loan guarantee totaling over $21.6 million to increase energy production or improve electrical service and energy efficiency in communities in five states.
"Increasing domestic energy production, including the development of farm-based energy sources, helps to strengthen the economy of rural America and reduces our dependence on imported oil," said Johanns. "These funds will also help to promote energy efficiency by improving our existing electrical infrastructure."
In Clinton, Iowa, a USDA Rural Development Renewable Energy Systems loan guarantee of $3,220,000 will be used to partially fund construction and operation of a biodiesel production plant with a yearly capacity of 10 million gallons. The plant will use over 7 million bushels of Midwestern grown soybeans a year. Additionally, the plant will use its own by-products to provide much of its energy supply. It is owned by Clinton County Bio Energy, LLC, which includes local farmers and business operators. When completed, the plant will provide at least nine new jobs. It is the first production facility to be located in a new 233 acre industrial park in Clinton.
Pioneer Electric Cooperative in Greenville, Alabama, will receive $855,760 under the High Energy Cost Grant program install energy efficient heating systems and appliances and weatherize the homes of low income customers, cutting energy costs by as much as 40 percent. The Alaska Village Electric Cooperative will receive a grant of $1,156,000 to construct a wind turbine in the fishing community of Hooper Bay, reducing the demand for diesel fuel for electrical generation by 24 percent.
The Sacred Power Corporation will receive $1.9 million to provide hybrid solar power stations to individual homes on the Navajo Reservation in the Cameron, Arizona, area that have no electrical service and currently use gasoline generators. Other grant awards announced today will be used for hydro project repairs and electrical service improvements. The grants are awarded under a Rural Development program intended to upgrade service and reduce energy costs in communities where the cost of power is at least 275 percent of the national average.
USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development has invested over $63 billion since the beginning of the Bush Administration to provide equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. As a result, over 1.1 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.