Washington, D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper welcomed $18.83 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for agriculture producers and rural small businesses across Colorado to lower energy costs, expand access to clean energy, and fight climate change. This was funded in part by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which Bennet and Hickenlooper helped pass last year. The Rural Energy for America Program helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.
“We can't make the transition to a clean energy economy without rural communities playing a vital role,” said Bennet. “This funding is a recognition that rural communities are central to our transition to a clean energy economy. By investing in Colorado’s small businesses and family farms and ranches, we can cut greenhouse gas emissions, drive rural economic growth, and lower energy costs for all Coloradans.”
“Our Inflation Reduction Act is helping provide almost $19 million dollars to Colorado farmers and ranchers to make sure their businesses grow right alongside our clean energy economy,” said Hickenlooper. “From turning manure into renewable energy to using solar power to irrigate crops, America’s agricultural producers are the original climate innovators.”
“Creating opportunity for rural communities means investing in farmers, ranchers, and small businesses,” said USDA Secretary Vilsack. “A key pillar of Bidenomics, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is ensuring our producers and business owners are not only a part of the clean energy economy but are directly benefiting from it. These once-in-a-generation investments in renewable energy, like wind and solar, and energy efficient technologies create new markets and deliver real cost savings for our small and mid-sized agricultural operations and Main Street businesses, building and keeping wealth in rural America.”
The REAP grants will help make the following clean energy investments across Colorado:
- $18,326,265 to WTE-Wolf Creek LLC in Windsor for a dairy manure-to-RNG (Renewable Natural Gas) project;
- $287,643 to the Zapata Seed Company in Hooper for a solar electric system;
- $20,000 to Coolings Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. in Montrose for a solar roof system;
- $20,000 to S&J Development LLC in Montrose for a solar roof system;
- $19,672 to Francis & Sons, Inc. in Alamosa for a solar electric system;
- $58,950 to Blue Sky Farms SLV LLC in Monte Vista solar electric system;
- $48,710 to Hart Farms, Inc. in Monte Vista for a solar electric system;
- $19,560 to Michael Jay Schaefer in Monte Vista for a solar-powered irrigation system;
- $18,000 to Brady Michael Schaefer in Monte Vista for a solar-powered irrigation system;
- $13,400 to Dolores Hospitality Group LTD in Dolores for insulation and a more energy efficient HVAC system; and
- $7,568 to Circle S Ranch in Ridgway for a solar electric system.
Bennet has consistently fought for robust funding for USDA’s rural clean energy programs including the Rural Energy for America Program. In December, Bennet and Hickenlooper welcomed $425,000 in REAP funding for rural small businesses in Colorado following Bennet’s urging that USDA quickly distribute clean energy funds from the IRA to rural communities in innovative, flexible ways.