Tag Archives: Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC)

Rural Solar Stories: New! Dairyland Power Cooperative

Dairyland Power became a national leader in 2016 when they began implementing a plan to develop up to 25 megawatts (MW) of solar power. This project makes Dairyland a national solar leader with one of the largest solar projects of any rural electric cooperative, nationwide. Click here to read more, watch a 1-minute video and view a series of 13 photos and a Map of Dairyland Power Cooperative Solar Project Sites.



Rural Solar Success Stories is hosted by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). ELPC is a Midwestern legal and policy advocacy group that works for renewable energy in many ways, including as a leading supporter for the energy programs of the Farm Bill.

According to NRECA’s data, 352 cooperatives in 43 states utilize solar as a source of power, including 7 in Nebraska, 10 in Iowa, 37 in Minnesota, 19 in Wisconsin, 1 in South Dakota, 22 in Colorado, and 3 in Kansas. Click here to link to NRECA’s Solar Map. Scroll down and click on any state to learn more about rural cooperatives’ utility-scale and community solar development nationwide.


New website highlights solar advancements made by rural co-ops

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Electric cooperatives that have taken the plunge into solar energy are the stars of a new website aimed at persuading more co-ops to add solar energy to their mix. RuralSolarStories.org, produced by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC),  features the tales of three rural electric cooperatives across the Midwest that have responded to customer interest by investing in solar generation. More stories are on the way. Continue reading.

Photo: Warren McKenna of Farmers Cooperative in Iowa explains the decision to pursue solar power

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Chicago program aims for 1 million “smart” thermostats

By Kari Lyderson, Midwest Energy News 

Kari Lyderson

Kari Lyderson

There will be one million more smart thermostats in the Chicago area in five years if a new public-private program launched today meets its goals.

The increasing spread of these inconspicuous but powerful devices – that “learn” how to predict and respond to residents’ behavior – could lead to serious energy savings, lower bills for consumers and lower emissions from power plants, backers say . . . The northern Illinois initiative is billed as possibly the largest smart thermostat program in the country, and a model for other regions.

Click here to learn more about the initiative.

Congress approved funding for Farm Bill clean energy programs in fiscal year 2015

– email from Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate, Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC)

The 2015 appropriations bill (“Cromnibus”) contained some good news amid some cuts. We are happy to report that farm energy progress will continue in 2015 – with some near-term project funding opportunities:

  • Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) mandatory funding was not cut, and REAP received minor discretionary funding of $1.35 million.
  • Biorefinery Assistance Program mandatory funding was reduced from $50 million to $30 million.
  • Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) mandatory funding was reduced from $25 million to $23 million.

Grants and loan guarantees for energy efficiency and renewable energy of all sorts include $250 million in mandatory funding and $100 million in discretionary funding over the five year period from 2014 to 2018. Click here for a summary of additional Energy Title Programs.

More details on the Farm Bill are available on ELPC’s Farm Energy.Org 

People and small businesses interested in seeking project funding from REAP should start gearing up. The FY2014 mandatory funding of $50 million and FY2015 funding will be released together, making for one of the largest funding solicitations in program history. The USDA is accepting applications now, and ELPC will soon release the next funding notice.

REAP Application Resources and Templates

REAP Nebraska USDA Contact
Debra Yocum, USDA Rural Development
100 Centennial Mall North, Room 152
Federal Building
Lincoln, NE 68508

Farm Energy Success Stories, 2014 Edition
A new report from the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) highlights clean energy projects made possible with grants and loan guarantees from the Farm Bill’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). You can read these stories here.