Bennet Secures Clean Energy Provisions in Senate Farm Bill to Boost Rural Economies

Provisions include funding, enhanced eligibility, and research into innovative technologies

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry, and Natural Resources, this week secured a number of clean energy provisions in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. This language will help ensure agriculture and rural communities have the opportunity to benefit from energy innovation and renewable energy technologies.

Bennet worked with his Democratic and Republican colleagues to secure the following energy provisions in the Senate Farm Bill:

  • Clean Energy Funding: provides funding for Farm Bill energy programs at levels consistent with the 2014 Farm Bill; Bennet worked with his bipartisan colleagues to advocate for Farm Bill energy title programs; Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined Bennet in this effort.
  • Advanced Research Authority and Funding: enhances the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AGARDA) Pilot to support transformative innovation in environmental sustainability and resilience to extreme weather; total funding for this program was increased to $50 million per year from $10 million per year.
  • Energy Storage: makes energy storage technologies eligible for USDA Rural Energy for American Program funding and financing; Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) joined Bennet in this effort.
  • Carbon Utilization and Biogas: using language from Bennet’s and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-RI) Carbon Utilization Act of 2018, the provision promotes biogas and carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) technologies in rural communities. Specifically, the provision:
    • provides for Department of Energy technical assistance to participants in the USDA rural electrification loan programs when establishing energy efficiency or renewable energy systems;
    • promotes research into carbon sequestration and utilization at the USDA as part of the Biomass Research and Development Initiative;
    • directs the USDA to make competitive grants to nonprofits or colleges and universities for carbon utilization education, including $1 million per year of mandatory funding; and
    • creates an Interagency Biogas Opportunities Task Force to coordinate policies, programs, and research to accelerate biogas research and investment.
  • Cyber and Grid Security: ensures cybersecurity and grid improvement projects are eligible for USDA Rural Utility Service loans; Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) joined Bennet in this effort.

The clean energy provisions are among 20 Colorado priorities Bennet secured in the Senate Farm Bill. A summary of those priorities is available HERE.