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Biden-Harris Administration Partners with Rural Americans to Develop Clean Energy to Lower Energy Costs and Create Jobs as Part of Investing in America Agenda

Projects Funded by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act Strengthen American Farms and Rural Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2024 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is partnering with rural Americans on hundreds of clean energy projects to lower energy bills, expand access to clean energy and create jobs for U.S. farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers. Many of the projects are funded by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest-ever investment in combating the climate crisis. USDA also unveiled the “Rural Energy Resource Guide” to make it easier for rural communities to identify federal funding for clean energy, including programs made possible by President Biden’s historic Inflation Reduction Act.

The projects advance President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to grow the nation’s economy from the middle out and bottom up. They will create jobs and spur economic growth in rural communities through clean energy projects that lower energy costs for agriculture producers and rural small businesses and families.

“The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are committed to expanding access to modern clean energy systems and fueling options that strengthen the nation’s energy independence while creating good-paying jobs and saving rural Americans money,” Secretary Vilsack said. “We are excited to partner with hundreds more family farms and small businesses as well as rural electric cooperatives and local clean energy developers to address the impacts of climate change, grow the economy and keep rural communities throughout the country strong and resilient.”

In all, USDA is providing more than $375 million in funding through the Powering Affordable Clean Energy Program (PACE) and the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Both of these programs are part of the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy and other investment areas flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

Background: PACE

Vilsack announced more than $275 million to rural electric cooperative projects moving forward in the awards process through the Powering Affordable Clean Energy program to expand access to clean energy for communities in Alaska, Arizona, Kentucky and Nebraska.

By using renewable energy from natural sources such as the sun and wind, the projects will make it more affordable for people to heat their homes, run their businesses and power cars, schools, hospitals and more. For example:

  • In Fairbanks, Alaska, Golden Valley Electric Association, Inc. has been selected to receive $100 million to build a 46-megawatt battery energy storage system. This energy storage is essential to provide rural Alaskans with reliable clean energy when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. It is a critical part of the people of Alaska’s efforts to create a transformative clean energy economy that protects their natural environment while providing reliable, affordable energy to their communities.
  • The Alaska Electric and Energy Cooperative Inc. has also been selected to receive $100 million to install a 45-megawatt four-hour battery energy storage system adjacent to its Soldotna Substation. The cooperative is a wholly owned subsidiary of Homer Electric Association Inc., a distribution electric utility serving over 24,330 members across more than 3,000 square miles in Alaska’s western and southern Kenai Peninsula.
  • In Benson, Arizona, Sierra Southwest Cooperative Services Inc. has been selected to receive approximately $55.2 million to finance three battery energy storage system projects totaling 35 megawatts and lasting for four hours in duration.
  • In Estill County, Kentucky, Lock 11 Hydro Partners LLC has been selected to receive approximately $16.6 million to build a new 3-megawatt run-of-river hydroelectric plant at Lock and Dam 11 on the Kentucky River. This project will use modern run-of-river energy practices that limit the environmental impact of hydropower and ensure affordable, clean energy for rural Kentuckians.
  • In Nebraska, Bluestem Energy Solutions LLC has been selected to receive approximately $3.6 million to build a 2-megawatt community solar facility with the City of Madison electric utility.

In May 2023, Congress made $1 billion available through PACE to fund new clean energy projects and energy storage in rural America. The program provides low interest loans with up to 60% loan forgiveness to renewable energy developers, rural electric cooperatives and other rural energy providers for renewable energy storage and projects that use wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal and biomass. Prior to today’s announcement, Secretary Vilsack announced five PACE applications totaling $139 million moving forward at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s PowerXchange annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas in March 2024. Earlier this month, Secretary Vilsack announced two more projects in Colorado totaling more than $81 million.

USDA expects to continue making Powering Affordable Clean Energy awards in the coming months.

Background: REAP

Vilsack announced nearly $100 million in loans and grants through REAP to support 473 projects in 39 states and Puerto Rico.

The REAP program helps agricultural producers and rural small business owners expand their use of wind, solar, geothermal and small hydropower energy and make energy efficiency improvements. These innovations help them increase their income, grow their businesses, address climate change and lower energy costs for American families.

These investments will cut energy costs for family farms and other businesses, increasing their resiliency and allowing them to invest back into their communities by creating new jobs and other opportunities. For example:

  • In Auxvasse, Missouri, Stormy Hollow LLC, will use a $84,274 grant to install energy efficient heating mats and LED Lights. This project is expected to save $25,073 per year. It will replace 358,194 kilowatt hours (kWh) (39.17 percent of the business’s energy use) per year, which is enough energy to power 33 homes.
  • In St. Lawrence County, New York, Wilson Dairy LLC will use a $82,939 grant to purchase and install an energy efficient grain dryer. This project will save $22,905 per year and will replace 434,395 kilowatt hours (kWh) (69 percent energy savings) per year.
  • Mal Enterprises Inc. will use a $500,000 grant to purchase and install lighting sensors, HVAC controls, HVAC & refrigeration cases in three grocery stores in Hamlin, Spur, and Tahoka, Texas. The improvements will reduce 77 percent of the energy used by the three stores and save $32,956 annually.

USDA is making the REAP awards in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming and Puerto Rico.

Since the start of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA has invested more than $2.1 billion through REAP in 7,216 renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that will help rural business owners lower energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen their resiliency of operations.

USDA continues to accept REAP applications and will hold funding competitions quarterly through Sept. 30, 2024. The funding includes a dedicated portion for underutilized renewable energy technologies. For additional information, contact a local energy coordinator.

A complete list of all REAP projects can be found online.

Background: Rural Energy Resource Guide

Today, USDA also unveiled the “Rural Energy Resource Guide” which will make it easier for rural communities to identify federal funding for clean energy, including programs made possible by President Biden’s historic Inflation Reduction Act.

The guide showcases USDA Rural Development programs that are helping individuals and organizations finance renewable energy systems and infrastructure across rural America. Programs featured in the guide offer funding to:

  • Make energy-efficient home repairs.
  • Finance small- or large-scale energy infrastructure.
  • Fund energy efficiency equipment for business and industry.
  • Generate emergency energy in rural areas.
  • Produce clean energy from sources such as biobased materials.

The Rural Energy Resource Guide also includes stories from Rural Development customers on ways USDA programs and services have helped them meet their clean energy needs.

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. Visit the Rural Data Gateway to learn how and where these investments are impacting rural America. To subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery Subscriber Page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit


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