The Rural Utilities Service: How the USDA is building a clean energy future for rural America

A little-known federal program has billions to dole out for renewables and efficiency projects for underserved populations.

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive


From the best-kept secrets file: There is a little-known $6.25 billion federal fund offering low interest loans and guarantees to utilities looking to build rate-based infrastructure. It gets better: Along with the funding, utilities can work cost-free with knowledgeable staff anxious to get applicants successfully through the process of building the kinds of renewable energy, smart grid, and efficiency projects utility customers are clamoring for . . . There is a catch: While the funding opportunity is available to all types of power providers, the projects have to meet the needs of underserved communities with populations of 20,000 or less. Read more.

“While most of the capacity from RUS projects is currently in wind and biomass, interest in solar is increasing fast, especially among co-ops.” Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Fact Sheet

Photo: Central Iowa Power Cooperative’s utility solar project, the largest in the state.. Credit:  Azimuth Energy