Bennet: Improvements in Energy Efficiency Can Help Colorado’s Rural Small Businesses, Agriculture Producers Reduce Costs, Save Money

Department of Agriculture Can Help Fund Energy Efficiency Review

June 24, 2010

Washington, DC – Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, is encouraging local governments, rural electric co-ops and other eligible entities across Colorado to apply for resources through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help agriculture producers and small business owners in Colorado’s rural communities conduct energy audits and provide renewable energy development assistance.  

“There is a lot of potential cost savings in energy efficiency for small businesses, farmers, ranchers and rural communities,” Bennet said. “Taking advantage of these energy audits is just one way Colorado’s rural communities can help lead the way toward a clean energy economy. I encourage all eligible groups in Colorado to submit applications for funding to ensure that our small businesses and agriculture producers can take advantage of this program to save money, grow their businesses and continue to create jobs.”

The USDA is making $2.4 million available for energy audits in fiscal year 2010.  The funds are provided through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the Farm Bill).

The Farm Bill allows agricultural producers or rural small businesses to recover up to three-quarters of the cost of an energy audit.  Audit resources are not provided directly to an eligible producer but are allocated instead to an intermediary. The intermediary works with the audit recipient.  Eligible intermediaries for energy audit grants include state, tribal, or local government entities; land-grant colleges and universities and other institutions of higher education, including 1994 Land Grant Colleges (Tribal Colleges), 1890 Land Grant Colleges and Historically Black Universities; rural electric cooperatives; and public power entities.   

Rural Development is accepting applications for this program until July 26, 2010. For more information on how to apply, please see the May 27, 2010 Federal Register. To learn more about USDA’s REAP and other renewable energy programs, please visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ReapEaReda.html .

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