The deadline is at the end of this week to get applications in for the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program — or REAP.
The combination grant and loan application deadline is Friday and for guaranteed loans, it’s June 29th.
Maxine Moul is the Nebraska director for USDA Rural Development.
“We wanted to make sure our Main Street businesses and our farmers and ranchers are aware of this opportunity to get primarily loans for energy efficiency installations for their businesses,” Moul says. “We hope this will help them improve their energy consumption and have more dollars in their bottom line.”
Moul says the energy improvements are as varied as the state’s businesses.
“New roofs with insulation, we’ve seen new front-store windows that improve the streetscape in a community,” Moul says. “We’ve seen grocery stores put in energy-efficient air conditioning and refrigerator units.”
She says farmers, too, are being innovative in saving energy, applying for new wind turbines, anaerobic digesters or outfitting grain driers with more energy efficient motors.
Moul says Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota have traditionally ranked among the top recipients of grants or loans through the Rural Energy for America program.
She says the Nebraska Public Power District has been a good partner in the program for people who are studying energy improvements.
“They have been providing energy audits to businesses and farmers and ranchers that will help those people pull together the information that’s needed for their application,” she says.
Based on 2009 figures, it’s estimated eight-percent of U-S energy consumption came from renewable sources, like biomass, hydropower, wind, geothermal and solar.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice