USDA has a new energy grant for rural communities

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering up to $10 million to rural communities to develop renewable energy projects that will increase energy efficiency and reduce pollution.

“It’s exciting to get projects at the community level. To have multiple partners come together and create a project that will help this community be more energy independent is exciting,” said Natalie Macsalka-Energy, USDA Rural Development Coordinator.

The new rural energy pilot program will distribute infrastructure funds to rural communities to create new sources of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency.

Communities, non-profit organizations and local governments can apply for this program.

Historically, this was available to small businesses through the ongoing Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), covering 25% renewable energy technologies or energy efficiency upgrades.

This new rural program will help communities affected by energy distress, Covid-19 and low income, and this program can cover up to 80% of the eligible costs of these projects.

“Develop community partnerships to create small-scale, small-scale distributive energy for which funds are available. Like we had 10 million funding, but there could be funding elsewhere, so they would have to create those partnerships with the entity, whether it’s a senior center or a school. Either way, seek out this funding as it becomes available,” Macsalka said.

Candidates can send their application letter before April and the deadline will be decided nationally in July.

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