May 28, 2010
On Thursday, the USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service announced the availability of $2.4 million dollars in competitive grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses as part of the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
State, tribal, and local governments, universities, rural electric cooperatives, and public power entities are eligible to apply. Applications are due by 4:30 p.m., local time on July 26, 2010. Applications may be submitted electronically at Grants.gov or to your Rural Development State Office. To obtain application materials, or for questions about the application, contact your Rural Development Energy Coordinator — the full list of contacts is available in the Federal Register notice, here.
REAP is composed of several types of grants and guaranteed loan programs. The notice of funds referenced above is the second of three stages of implementation. The first notice in late April announced $87 million in grants and loan guarantees for projects to develop and/or construct renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. The application process for these grants will remain open until June 30, 2010.
The final piece to be implemented will be grants for the study of renewable energy feasibility. The Federal Register notice also notes that the Agency intends to publish a proposed rule on REAP that will revise the current program to include these renewable energy feasibility study grants, and add a new section on the energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants.