Simplified application for renewable energy funds expected to help agricultural business
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing changes to their application process for accessing renewable energy funding. The suggestions are expected to make it easier for agricultural producers and rural small businesses to get renewable energy and energy efficiency funds through the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
REAP has provided funding for more than 6,000 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, energy audits, feasibility audits and renewable energy development assistance projects since 2008.
The changes are expected to reduce paperwork, especially for projects under $80,000. It will also authorize funding for refurbished and retrofitted renewable energy systems, implement a uniform system for scoring applications, reduce certain reporting requirements and establish a quarterly application period for applicants seeking guaranteed loans.
“These changes are intended to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses throughout America,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “They will streamline and simplify the application process and give businesses more time to do what they do best: innovate, create jobs and serve their rural communities.”
The USDA says the proposal is part of President Obama’s Rural America plan. The USDA is accepting comments on the suggestions through June 11, 2013.
For details on how to submit comments, or for additional information, see Page 22044 of the April 12 Federal Register, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-04-12/pdf/2013-07273.pdf.