VernonReporter

Multiple Vernon County producers and businesses awarded USDA Rural Energy for America grants

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Wisconsin State Director Julie Lassa announced on April 5 that USDA is investing $2.2 million toward 23 renewable energy projects in Wisconsin to lower energy costs, generate new income and create jobs for U.S. farmers, agricultural producers and rural small businesses.

“The Rural Energy for America Program benefits these farms and businesses by saving them money on energy costs and makes them more resilient,” said Lassa. “This program is an example of how the Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are committed to ensuring that these rural businesses are directly benefiting from both a clean energy economy and a strong U.S. supply chain.”

USDA Wisconsin Rural Development Director Julie Lassa

Through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), USDA provides grants and loans to help ag producers and rural small business owners expand their use of wind, solar and other forms of clean energy and make energy efficiency improvements. These innovations help them increase their income, grow their businesses, address climate change and lower energy costs.

These investments will cut energy costs for farmers and ag producers that can instead be used to create jobs and new revenue streams for people in their communities.

Rural Energy for America Program grants announced in Wisconsin include the following from the Vernon County area:

  • EcoEgg LLC in Coon Valley will use a $98,400 REAP grant to install a small solar electric array. The project is expected to save the business $10,402 in electrical costs per year. It will replace 140,690 kilowatt hours (100 percent of the business’ energy use) per year, which is enough energy to power 12 homes.
  • Darin Mininger, a farmer in Coon Valley, will use a $65,016 REAP grant to install a small solar electric array. This project is expected to save the farm nearly $8,000 per year in electrical costs and replace 102,400 kilowatt hours (100 percent of the farm’s energy use) per year, which is enough energy to power nine homes.
  • Goede Acres LLC, a dairy farm in Genoa, will use a $31,576 REAP grant to install a 25-kilowatt roof mount solar electric array. This project is expected to save the farm $3,843 in electrical costs per year and replace 34,042 kilowatt hours (76 percent of the farm’s energy use) per year, which is enough energy to power three homes.
  • George’s Auto Repair in Westby will use a $20,084 REAP grant to install a solar electric array. This project is expected to save the business $1,860 per year in electrical costs and replace nearly 16,000 kilowatt hours (100 percent of the business’ energy use) per year, which is enough to power one home.
  • Chad Sime in Gays Mills will use a $18,648 REAP grant to install a small solar electric array. This project is expected to save $2,424 in electrical costs per year. It will replace 20,505 kilowatt hours (24 percent of the business’ energy use) per year, which is enough energy to power two homes.

Since FY 2021, USDA has announced in Wisconsin more than $14.5 million through REAP in 140 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. The funding includes a dedicated portion for underutilized renewable energy technologies. For additional information on application deadlines and submission details, see page 19239 of the March 31 Federal Register.

The announcement is part of a recent national announcement by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Nebraska which included $124 million in renewable energy and fertilizer production projects in 44 states.

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