USDA: renewable energy infrastructure investments will help rural communities
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the USDA will invest $464 million to build or improve renewable energy infrastructure.
He says it’s a continuation of the department’s investment in climate-smart infrastructure.
“Climate-smart infrastructure can lower energy costs for rural small businesses and farming operations,” he says. “It can also spur economic development which can support jobs and provides the opportunity for lower electric rates which makes it easier to attract new businesses.”
He says $129 million will be available through the Rural Energy for America Program.
“Under the program, low-cost loans and grants will fund renewable energy projects and energy efficiency projects on the farm,” he says. “…The combination of these renewable energy projects and energy efficiency projects will essentially save the equivalent of 379 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is enough to essentially fuel and take care of the needs of 35,000 homes.”
The remaining $335 million will be available through the Electric Loan Program. The department says it will help build or improve more than 1,400 miles of line to strengthen reliability in rural areas. There will also be investments in smart grid technology.
The USDA has announced investments in Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and more.
Illinois-based Prairie State Solar LLC is an investment recipient. The company will use a $95 million loan to construct a 99-megawatt solar photovoltaic farm on 621 acres in Perry County. Prairie State has a 27-year power purchase agreement with the Wabash Valley Power Association Inc. to sell and deliver the electricity produced. Wabash is an electric generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Indianapolis. It provides wholesale power to 23 distribution cooperatives in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.
In Iowa, Grundy County Rural Electric Cooperative will use a $19,200 rural development investment to help purchase and install LED lighting throughout the REC service area. This project will save $12,954 per year and reduce energy use by 228,519 kilowatt hours (69 percent) per year, which is enough electricity to power 21 homes.
In Arkansas, Singleton Farms Partnership will use a $15,840 rural development investment to install a 32-kilowatt solar array. Singleton Farms Partnership is a family-owned soybean and corn farming operation in Watson, Ark. This project is expected to save $4,320 per year and replace 43,982 kilowatts (99 percent of the company’s energy use) annually.
In Missouri, Henke Family Hog Farms LLC will use a $8,755 rural development investment to help install a 23.4-kilowatt solar array for this agricultural producer’s swine facility in Princeton, Missouri. This project is expected to save $3,235 per year. It will replace 33,960 kilowatt hours (100 percent of the agricultural producer’s energy use) per year.
In Indiana, J&D Family Farms LLC will use a $9,073 rural development investment to help purchase and install a 30-kilowatt solar array. This project will save $6,130 per year and replace 40,400 kilowatt hours (96 percent) per year.
In Kansas, R & E Goering Farms LLC will use a $18,944 rural development investment to help complete irrigation pump upgrades in Moundridge. The project is estimated to save 42,851 kilowatt hours per year, reducing energy consumption by 40.53 percent, which is enough to power three homes
In Michigan, Seeds & Spores Family Farm LLC will use a $13,666 rural development investment to help purchase and install a 24.96 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system. This project will save $4,143 per year and replace 31,579 kilowatt hours (93 percent) per year.
In Minnesota, J & J Hanson Farms Inc will use a $18,086 rural development investment to purchase and install a grain dryer. J & J Hanson Farms, Inc., is a family-owned farming operation Near Atwater, Minnesota. This project will save the farm $12,982 per year and will replace 277,626 kilowatt hours (55.62 percent) per year, which is enough electricity to power 25 homes
In Nebraska, Webster Well Inc will use a $2,628 rural development investment to help Webster Well Inc., a well and irrigation installer in North Bend, install an eight kilowatt solar array. This project is expected to generate $897 per year. It will generate 12,590 kilowatt hours (36 percent of the company’s energy use) per year, which is enough energy to power one home.
In Ohio, Honeyrun Farm Williamsport OH LLC will use a $14,095 rural development investment to help this honey producer of varietal and herbal infused honey, bee pollen, soap and candles, install a 25.2 kilowatt roof mounted solar array. The solar array will produce an expected 30,631 kilowatt hours of renewable electricity and will offset 87 percent of the business’s historical electrical consumption or the equivalent of four households.
In Tennessee, Wildlight Farms LLC will use a $4,197 rural development investment to help purchase and install a 10.5 kilowatt solar array. This project will replace 12,940 kilowatt hours (100 percent) per year and realize $1,229 of savings per year.
In Wisconsin, Fitchburg Farms LLC will use a $4,166 rural development investment to help purchase and install energy efficient greenhouse components. This project will save $6,769 per year and replace 246,495 kilowatt hours, 37 percent of the business’s energy use per year, which is enough energy to power 22 homes.
Speaking to reporters today, Vilsack said the investments will help rural communities, ag producers, and businesses lower energy costs in 48 states and Puerto Rico.