Tag Archives: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

For Ohio farmers, wind turbine revenue helps take the sting out of a ‘bad’ year

By Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network

Wind energy advocates say this year’s disappointing growing season in Ohio is a prime example why state lawmakers should be trying to make it easier, not harder, for farmers to put wind turbines on their properties. Unusually wet weather made it a bad year for many Ohio farmers, but those with wind turbines on their land had a welcome and predictable source of additional income to make up for some of the losses. About a sixth of Ohio’s farm acreage couldn’t be planted, according to data released this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. Read more here. 

USDA Resource: Prevented or Delayed Planting

Photo: Wind turbines in Blue Creek Township, Ohio. Credit: Nyttend / Wikimedia Commons

Also Written By Kathiann Kowalski

ADDITIONAL. RECOMMENDED READING

TRIBAL UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR

NM Native American Tribe Plans Solar Farm to Provide Renewable Energy Source, Inside Sources
A New Mexico Native American tribe plans to build a 50-megawatt solar farm, which includes a 20-megawatt battery storage unit, making it the first tribally owned, utility-scale solar project in the nation, according to a new report. The Jicarilla Apache tribe’s solar power project would transmit a large portion of its electricity to Albuquerque through the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), according to an Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) report.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

Solar power is coming to five schools in Newport News, Williamsburg Yorktown Daily
The city’s public school system has partnered with Sun Tribe Solar to add solar power panels at five schools. Installation starts in 2020. See the full pdf presentation here.

PACE FINANCING 

A $60,000 solar project, with no money down. Program helps Colorado businesses finance renewable energy projects, Colorado Sun. The Colorado legislature passed a bill authorizing the program in 2013. More than 35 states, plus the District of Columbia, have C-PACE enabling legislation, and more than $1 billion in projects have been financed so far. The program’s administrative costs are paid via a 2.5% fee (not to exceed $50,000 per project) added to each C-PACE project, which is typically included in the total financed amount. Program and projects are solely financed through private capital.

TRANSMISSION NEWS

  • SPP Board Directs Construction of 44 Transmission Projects, Transmission & Distribution World These upgrades will facilitate reliable delivery of lower-cost generation.
  • A penny for your powerlines, PV Magazine
    Research by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests that overall costs of transmission needed to integrate variable renewables is between 0.1-1¢/kWh, on top of the 2.9-4.6¢/kWh utility scale wind and solar power costs.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS 

8 Countries (Besides the US) With Solar Under $25 Per Megawatt-Hour, Greentech Media
Around the world, solar power price records just keep on coming.

OPINION

How utilities wield bad science to stunt clean energy, Utility Dive. Contributed article by Greer Ryan, the Renewable Energy and Research Specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity, and Emma Searson, the Go Solar Campaign Director at Environment America.

This is especially true of distributed solar — small-scale solar installations on homes and businesses. These systems help everyone, not just those with solar panels on their roofs, by delivering reliable, pollution-free energy to our communities. They also bring enormous benefits to wildlife and wild places. For example, solar panels paired with native plant restoration can provide habitat for threatened pollinators. But because of utilities’ actions, distributed solar is being held back from its full potential. To fully realize the advantages of using the sun’s energy to power our communities, we need to fundamentally change the way we value energy sources.

USDA Invests in Rural Electric Infrastructure Improvements in 13 States

USDA News Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy today announced that USDA is investing $251 million (PDF, 120 KB) to upgrade rural electric systems in 13 states. The funding includes $38.2 million to finance smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security.

USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program for 12 projects that will serve rural areas in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The funding will help build and improve 1,971 miles of line to improve electric reliability in rural areas.

Read the entire news release here.

USDA Invests in Energy Efficiency Improvements to Help Farmers, Rural Businesses and Ag Producers Lower Energy Costs

USDA News Release

Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Bette Brand today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding grants for projects in all states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to reduce energy costs for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions. Under today’s announcement, USDA is investing $9.3 million through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across the nation. Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. USDA will make additional funding announcements in the REAP program in coming weeks. Read more here.

Previously Posted
USDA Has More Than $400 Million Still Available for Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Loan Guarantees, News Release

USDA Has More Than $400 Million Still Available for Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Loan Guarantees

USDA News Release

Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley encourages farmers, rural small businesses and agricultural producers to apply for financing in a key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program that provides grants and loan guarantees to help lower their energy costs. Read more here.

LINKS TO ADDITIONAL PROGRAM INFORMATION

LINKS TO INCENTIVES & MORE 

Federal Investment Tax Credit: 30% to December 31, 2019.

SEIA Infographic 

LES Solar Incentive
Additionally, LES customers may qualify for a one-time capacity payment of up to $1,000 per kilowatt of peak demand reduced. The total amount customers can receive is determined by the system size and primary direction the system is facing, for example:

  • Southern facing fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $375.
  • Western facing or single or dual axis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.

    Source: 
    Customer-owned Renewable Generation

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

More Farm Energy Resources

ALSO IN THE NEWS

USDA Partners to Improve Electric Infrastructure for More Than 347,000 Rural Americans Across 13 States

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $398.5 million to improve rural electric service in 13 states. “Reliable and affordable electricity is undeniably a necessity in today’s world,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in keeping our rural communities connected to this essential infrastructure.” USDA is making the investments through the Electric Infrastructure Loan Program. Read the entire news release here.

ADDITIONAL FUNDING NEWS

DOE provides $148M in funding for separate energy storage research efforts, Utility Dive
Department of Energy News Releases
Department of Energy Announces New Projects to Extend Grid Energy Storage
Department of Energy Announces $120 Million for Battery Innovation Hub

AGGREGATED RENEWABLE ENERGY PURCHASING NEWS

MORE NEWS & AN EDITORIAL


6 Charts Showing the Renewables Threat to Natural Gas, Greentech Media


Photo Credit: NextEra Energy

 

FEATURED WEBSITE

PBS provides FREE, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans and more for teachers, parents and students. Entering the term “solar energy” into the search box provided on the website currently results in 2392 resources.

USDA Invests $345.5 Million in Rural Electric Infrastructure to Improve Service for More Than 1 Million Residential and Commercial Consumers in 14 States

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $345.5 million in 20 infrastructure projects to improve rural electric service in 14 states. “Delivering reliable and affordable electricity to power rural America will help lay the groundwork for increased rural prosperity and economic opportunity,” Secretary Perdue said. “USDA is partnering with rural electric utilities and cooperatives so they can continue to invest in infrastructure improvements to provide electric power to those who live and work in rural areas.” Read the entire news release here.

Electric Infrastructure Loan Program finances generation, transmission and distribution projects; system improvements; and energy-conservation programs in rural areas.

Who may apply for this program?

Most retail or power supply providers serving qualified rural areas, including:

  • State and local governmental entities
  • Federally-recognized Tribes
  • Nonprofits including cooperatives and limited dividend or mutual associations
  • For-profit businesses (must be a corporation or limited liability company)

Nation’s Largest Solar Bee Farm in Ore. Creating Buzz

Public News Service

The Eagle Point solar farm outside Medford is the largest “solar apiary” in the country, incorporating designs that benefit pollinators. It’s home to 48 bee colonies interspersed among solar panels, which are generating enough energy to power more than 2,100 homes annually. Rob Davis, who directs the Center for Pollinators and Energy for the nonprofit Fresh Energy, connected North Carolina-based Pine Gate Renewables with a beekeeper in southern Oregon.
Read the entire news release here.

Photo by Pine Gate Renewables: A solar farm near Medford, Ore., also is home to 48 thriving bee colonies.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
USDA, NIFA Announce Investments in Pollinator Health Research, USDA Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 28, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 14 grants totaling approximately $10 million for research to help sustain healthy populations of pollinators, which are crucial to the nation’s food security and environmental health. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“One-third of all U.S. crop production requires pollination by animals – primarily honey bees, but also wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, beetles and bats,” said Acting NIFA Director Tom Shanower. “Recent declines in both managed and wild pollinators are of paramount importance to our nation’s food security and the vitality of natural resources.”

Rural Energy for America Program Grants & Loans

Several members of Nebraskans for Solar’s ListServe have inquired about the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants and loans. Please check out the following resources:

  • REAP FACT SHEET
    What does this program do?
    Provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.
    Who may apply?
    Agricultural producers with at least 50% of gross income coming from agricultural operations, and
    Small businesses in eligible rural areas.
    Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Fact Sheet

QUESTIONS? CONTACT THE NEBRASKA RURAL DEVELOPMENT ENERGY COORDINATOR
Jeff Carpenter, USDA Rural Development 100 Centennial Mall North, Suite 308
Lincoln, NE 68508
402) 437-5554
jeff.carpenter@ne.usda.gov
http://www.rd.usda.gov/ne

  • ENERGY AUDIT GRANTS
    The Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) at UNL conducts energy audits to meet USDA Rural Development grant and/or guaranteed loan application requirements. Energy audits can be conducted at any time by Nebraska MEP staff but must be completed in advance of USDA application submission deadlines. MEP focuses on areas where local electric utility providers do not offer free audits. Nebraska MEP, which received an Energy Audit Program grant from USDA Rural Development, will pay 75% of the cost of an audit. Applicants will be required to pay 25% of the cost.

MEP CONTACT
Matthew Jorgensen
Project Specialist
Nebraska MEP
(308) 293-5884
mjorgensen@unl.edu

Celebrate National Pollinator Week June 19-25 With Free Fresh Energy Webinar

Ten years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.

The Pollinator Partnership is proud to announce that June 19-25, 2017 has been designated National Pollinator Week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Watch Solar and Pollinators, a Fresh Energy Webinar this Thursday, June 22nd from 12 to 1 p.m.

RECOMMENDED READING

Powering America with a More Sustainable Energy Future

USDA Results Interview With Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

medium

USDA has been working closely with farmers and ranchers to make critical investments in renewable fuels, from manufacturing facilities to storage tanks and dispensing pumps, and bio-based products, including research breakthroughs and enhanced product visibility. Even in rural businesses or on the farm, USDA has supported significant deployments of solar and wind power systems, anaerobic digesters, and energy efficiency solutions. These USDA investments have created remarkable momentum in rural economic growth. Read more.

Photo: Some of the solar panels at Seldom Rest Farm located north of Myerstown, Pennsylvania. The farm was awarded a $152,000 grant (25% of the cost) to install the
1000-kilowatt solar array to power their farm, a neighboring farm and homes on the local electrical grid. Flickr image.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST