USDA helps reduce high energy costs in remote rural areas

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Farm Forum

WASHINGTON – On September 16, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack awarded nine grants to help reduce energy costs for residents in remote rural areas where the cost of producing electricity is extremely high.

“These grants will help deliver energy more cost-effectively and will help the environment,” Vilsack said. “Providing this funding is one of many ways that USDA helps grow the rural economy. When businesses and families spend less on fuel and electricity, they have more money to invest in the local economy. This helps create jobs and benefits entire communities.”

USDA is providing $7.9 million through the High Energy Cost Grant program, which is administered by USDA’s Rural Utilities Service. Vilsack also noted that energy conservation, through programs like this, helps improve the environment by reducing carbon emissions and the use of fossil fuels.

High Energy Cost Grants may be used to improve energy generation, transmission or distribution facilities in communities where the average residential cost for home energy exceeds 275 percent of the national average. Grants are available to businesses, non-profit groups, states, local governments and federally recognized Indian tribes.

Funding for each grant is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.

In South Dakota, Sacred Power LLC will receive $1,406,975 to install wind turbines that will provide energy at homes in the St. Francis community within the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. Each household system will include a 1.8 kilowatt Pika T701 wind turbine, and one Pika X3001 inverter to condition the power for the grid.