USDA invests $471,000 in renewable energy in Kansas

Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 11:02 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The USDA is investing over $471,000 in renewable energy in rural Kansas to help small businesses and agricultural producers lower energy costs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director for Kansas Lynne Hinrichsen says the USDA is investing $471,792 in renewable energy projects for Kansas farms, agricultural producers and rural based businesses and institutions.

“Kansas is a leader in renewable energy production and that industry creates jobs and opportunities in all areas of the state,” said Hinrichsen. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA continues to be a strong partner to rural Kansas in building stronger and healthier communities through renewable energy, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

The USDA said it is investing in 14 rural small businesses and ag producers with the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Grants and Guaranteed Loans. It said the investments can be used for renewable energy systems like wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower. It said REAP funds are also able to be sued for energy audits and to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems, insulation, lighting and refrigeration.

According to the department, those interested should contact their Kansas area office for more information on additional funding, application processes and eligibility details. It said interested parties can also visit their website to learn more about the REAP Guaranteed Loan Program and how it will be streamlined under the OneRD Guarantee Loan Inititative which will begin on Oct. 1.

According to the USDA, grantees are as follows:

  • Lyons - Kansas Ethanol, LLC: A $250,000 grant will be used to purchase and install equipment for combined heat and power and ethanol dehydration. The project is estimated to generate 67,113 kWh per year, which is enough energy to power six homes.
  • Pittsburg - Denver Lawson, a turkey producer: A $36,500 grant will be used to purchase and install solar equipment. The project is estimated to produce 134,066 kWh (61%) per year, which is enough energy to power 12 homes.
  • Newton - Horn’s Auto Repair, 4x4, and Welding LLC:  A $5,559 grant will be used to purchase and install a 9kW roof-mounted solar array. This project will replace 13,654 kWh (105 percent) per year, which is enough electricity to power one home.
  • Harper - Millaturn Machine LLC: A $19,875 will be used to purchase and install a 15 kW wind turbine. The turbine is estimated to replace 62,923 kWh (104%) per year, which is enough electricity to power five homes.
  • Additional projects will also be funded in:
    • Andale
    • Bel Aire
    • Derby
    • Linwood
    • Newton
    • Osborne
    • Rose Hill
    • Uniontown
    • Wichita

The USDA said in April of 2017, President Donald Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to highlight legislative, regulatory and policy changes needed to improve agriculture prosperity in rural communities. It said in January of 2018, Secretary of the USDA, Sonny Perdue, presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump which included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities existing for rural Amercia. It said supporting g the rural workforce was a cornerstone recommendation of the Task Force.

The report may be viewed in its entirety here.

USDA Rural Development said it provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural area. For more information, click here.

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