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USDA announces pilot program for renewable energy in rural towns

Up to $10 million is available to help residents of rural towns develop community renewable energy projects that will reduce their energy costs, said the USDA on Wednesday. Funding from the new Rural Energy Pilot Program will be targeted at communities that have been historically underserved by the government.

“USDA is providing grant assistance for people who live in particularly underserved rural towns to help them cut their household energy costs and address climate change at the local level,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The new program we’re announcing today will pilot the viability of community-scale renewable energy investments to mitigate the energy-burdened circumstances of particularly disadvantaged rural communities.”

Solar, wind, geothermal, micro-hydroelectric, and biomass/bioenergy are among the technologies eligible for funds, said the USDA.

“Priority points” will be given to projects that help communities recover from the pandemic, advance equity, and combat climate change.

Applicants must submit a letter of intent to the USDA by April 19.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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