http://www.cleanenergy.org/2015/08/25/rural-energy-for-america-program-reap/

SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

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Georgia's DTE Energy makes biodiesel using waste grease and solar electricity.

Grants and loan guarantees are currently available through U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The funding is available to farmers and small rural businesses for renewable energy and energy efficiency equipment, energy technical assistance, energy audits, and feasibility studies. More information and other deadlines are available here.

The Fall 2015 REAP funding round is now open. Applications will be due November 2, 2015.

The deadlines for the 2016 REAP funding opportunities have also been announced. Deadlines for Fiscal Year 2016 are as follows: October 30, 2015 – Restricted application deadline (Grant requests ≤ $20,000); and April 30, 2016 – Unrestricted application deadline (all size applications).

The Farm Bill’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) is also accepting applications. BCAP provides funding for projects that develop agricultural products, including advanced and cellulosic biofuels and biobased products. Eligible feedstocks include purpose-grown feedstocks such as switchgrass and miscanthus. The program will distribute $22.5 million for 2016. Applications for this program are due November 6, 2015.

The USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is a federal cost-share grant program that helps farmers and small rural businesses invest in equipment that saves energy or generates new renewable energy.

SACE Staff Contacts: Anne Blair

OVERVIEW OF THE PROGRAM
Beginning with the 2002 Farm Bill, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has administered this program to help farmers and small rural businesses purchase renewable energy and energy efficiency equipment. The program, called the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) offers grants to eligible entities as well and loan guarantees for large eligible projects to leverage private sector financing. Since 2003, USDA has awarded more than 7,000 projects in all 50 states, with the majority of awards going to energy efficiency projects. Each year, funding for the program is usually announced in late winter with application deadlines coming about two months later.

REAP has been a great success, helping rural enterprises improve their bottom line while cleaning the air and boosting energy independence. REAP has:

• helped citizens control energy costs from their operations

• preserved & created jobs locally

• reduced fossil fuel consumption

• reduced air pollution

Saving energy saves money while cleaning the air.

Farms and rural businesses consume a lot of energy and many are ripe for energy efficiency improvements. Diesel fuel, electricity, and propane costs are often a major concern for farmers and small rural businesses. More importantly, farms and rural businesses are often well situated to capture renewable energy, like solar, bioenergy, or wind. Both energy efficiency and renewable energy improve the bottom line and boost the rural economy while helping the environment.

WHAT DOES REAP DO?
REAP helps mitigate risk and improves our energy security. Agriculture is a risky business and REAP helps mitigate the risk of high energy prices. Energy is often the only place remaining where farmers and rural businesses can cuts costs. These projects increase farmers’ resilience to energy price hikes – a major source of risk – while cutting the amount of fossil energy we import. While saving energy, saving money, and cleaning the air, REAP projects help move us towards greater energy security.

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy strongly supports the program because it:

• Increases America’s energy security with homegrown energy.

• Benefits the public with improved environmental quality by reducing or eliminating water, air and land pollution.

• Improves local economies through new jobs for system development, installation, operation and maintenance.

• Provides the financial leveraging power to help rural small businesses and agricultural producers afford these commercially-proven technologies.

• Helps agricultural producers diversify and increase farm income with renewable energy sales.

• Improves producer margins by cutting energy consumption – and bills – with modern energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

• Expands the clean energy economy by growing the market for clean technologies.

Incentives like REAP can make the difference between a farmer doing nothing versus making a capital investment that will yield positive paybacks for both the enterprise and the environment. The 25% cost share grants in this program encourages a careful look at energy expenses. Your state may have additional incentives to encourage installation of equipment for renewable energy or energy efficiency. Visit the DSIRE database for information on more state-level incentives.

FUNDING AVAILABILITY
Every year the amount of available funds differs. For more details, please refer to the USDA website.

RELATED SACE CONTENT

More information on this program and other Farm Bill programs is available through our partners at the Environmental Law and Policy Center. elpc-logo.gif

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

• To learn more, click here to email Anne Blair.

• For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, visit here.

• For application templates and other useful resources, visit here.

• To apply, contact your state’s USDA Energy Coordinator from the following list…

Florida Angela Prioleau 352-338-3412 angela.prioleau@fl.usda.gov

Georgia J. Craig Scroggs 770-267-1413 ext. 113 craig.scroggs@ga.usda.gov

North Carolina David Thigpen 919-873-2065 david.thigpen@nc.usda.gov

South Carolina Shannon Legree 803-765-5881 Shannon.Legree@sc.usda.gov

Tennessee Will Dodson 615-783-1350 will.dodson@tn.usda.gov