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The USDA has developed a pilot initiative to assist rural residents in installing renewable energy infrastructure

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced today that the Department of Agriculture is going to make up to about $10 million provided to assist people in rural towns to create community renewable energy ventures that will help them save money on energy and contribute to the national effort to minimize pollution which contributes to the climate change. People who reside in historically underinvested and disinvested neighborhoods would benefit from these funds.

The funds will be made available through the USDA’s new Rural Energy Pilot Program, which will help rural Americans rebuild better, stronger, and much more evenly than ever before. USDA is helping the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal to make environmental justice a portion of every agency’s mission in order to address disadvantaged communities’ disproportionate health, economic, environmental and climatic consequences through this program.

“USDA is offering grant support for folks who live in severely underserved rural towns to assist them to lower their household energy expenses and combat global warming at the local level,” Vilsack stated. “As we rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, USDA is focusing resources and investments on meeting our country’s energy needs and combating climate change.” The new program we’re announcing today will test the practicability of community-scale renewable power investments to help rural communities that are particularly energy-constrained. By assisting good-paying jobs, economic opportunities, and a lower cost of living, this aid will help people stay in their hometowns.”

The USDA will provide up to $10 million in form of grants to rural regions that are severely disadvantaged. The funds will be utilized to implement community-scale renewable power technologies and innovations in order to minimize climate pollution and improve climate change resilience. Solar, geothermal, micro-hydroelectric, wind, and biomass/bioenergy are examples of these technologies. Community energy planning, energy efficiency, capacity building, technical assistance, and weatherization can all be done with up to 20% of the funds awarded.

The USDA is awarding priority points to programs that assist communities to rebound from the COVID-19 epidemic, advance equity, and battle climate change as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s major priorities. These bonus points will increase the chances of projects addressing these critical issues in rural America receiving funding.

Rural Development offers loans and grants to assist broaden economic prospects, create jobs, and raise the standard of living for the millions of Americans who are living in the rural regions under the Biden-Harris Administration. In tribal, rural, and high-poverty communities, this assistance supports infrastructure upgrades, economic development, housing, community facilities like schools, public safety, health care, and high-speed internet connection.

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