WASHINGTON, DC, March
28, 2005 (ENS): Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today
announced the availability of $22.8 million to support investments
in renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements by
agricultural producers and rural small businesses.
Johanns said, "Renewable energy is an exciting growth frontier
for American agriculture." He said renewables strengthen national
security and the rural economy.
The funds announced today will be available to support technologies
that include biomass, geothermal, hydrogen, solar, and wind energy,
as well as energy efficiency improvements.
Section 9006 of the 2002 Farm Bill established the Renewable Energy
Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements loan and grant program
to encourage agricultural producers and small rural businesses to
create renewable and energy efficient systems. To date, the Bush
administration has invested through this program nearly $45 million
in 32 states.
The $22.8 million announced today will be made available in two
stages. One-half, $11.4 million, is available immediately for competitive
grants. Renewable energy grant applications must be for a minimum
of $2,500 and a maximum of $500,000.
Energy efficiency grant applications may range from $2,500 to $250,000.
The grant request may not exceed 25 percent of the eligible project
Applications must be submitted to the appropriate Rural Development
State Office postmarked no later than June 13, 2005. Detailed information
about application and program requirements will be included in today's
issue of the Federal Register.
The remaining $11.4 million announced today will be set aside through
August 31, 2005 for renewable energy and energy efficiency guaranteed
loans. Final details on how to apply for these funds will be published
in the Federal Register later this year.