This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 16, 2006

USDA Awards $9 Million in Grants and Loan Guarantees for Clean Energy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on August 8th that it will award $9 million in grants and loan guarantees for 12 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Iowa, Kansas, and Oregon. The funds will support three renewable energy installations in Iowa: a 2-megawatt wind turbine, a biodiesel production facility, and an anaerobic digester to convert manure into a gaseous fuel. The USDA funds will also support a biomass-fueled combined heat and power system at Rough & Ready Lumber in Cave Junction, Oregon, a project that was coincidentally mentioned in last week's newsletter. Additional grants and loans will go toward more efficient grain dryers at three Iowa facilities and energy efficiency improvements for two businesses in Kansas and one in Oregon. See the USDA press release, the recipients list (PDF 21 KB), the USDA Rural Development Web site, and the story from last week's newsletter. Download Adobe Reader.

The USDA also released an analysis of its renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, prepared by USDA economists. The report notes that the USDA spent $1.4 billion on energy-related programs over the past five years and expects to spend another $272 million this year. More than half a billion dollars have directly subsidized biofuels production, although that program is slated to end this year. The USDA Rural Development program has supported 650 energy projects, including 168 energy efficiency projects, 132 biofuel projects, 130 wind power projects, 92 anaerobic digesters, and a variety of other renewable energy projects. The report examines a variety of policy options for future consideration, including a higher Renewable Fuels Standard, extended renewable energy tax credits, a production subsidy for cellulosic ethanol, and an expanded research program. See the USDA press release and the executive summary (PDF 156 KB) and full text (PDF 235 KB) of the report.