USDA to invest over $78K in Kansas renewable energy projects

FILE(Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune)
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 3:25 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest over $78,000 in renewable energy projects in Kansas.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Department will invest $464 million to build or improve renewable energy infrastructure and to help rural communities, agricultural producers and businesses lower energy costs in 48 states, including Kansas, as well as Puerto Rico.

“USDA continues to prioritize climate-smart infrastructure to help rural America build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before,” Vilsack said. “We recognize that lowering energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers helps to expand economic development and employment opportunities for people in America’s rural towns and communities. The investments we are announcing today demonstrate how the Biden-Harris Administration has put rural communities at the heart of climate action and climate-smart solutions.”

According to the USDA, it will finance $129 million of these investments through the Rural Energy for America Program. The program provides funds to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses buy and install renewable energy systems and make improvements to energy efficiency. The climate-smart investments will help conserve and make more than 379 million kilowatt-hours in rural America, which is enough electricity to power over 35,600 homes annually.

The Department said it will also finance $335 million of these investments through the Electric Loan Program. The loans will help build or improve over 1,400 miles of line to strengthen reliability in rural areas. The loans include $102 million for investments in smart grid technology, which uses digital communications to find and react to local changes in electricity usage.

According to the Department, the investments will go to improvements in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming and Puerto Rico.

The USDA said investments in Kansas are as follows:

  • Kansas Maid Corporation - $20,000 to help purchase and install solar equipment. The project is estimated to power 11 homes.
  • Merle Schmidt - $11,497 to help purchase and install a 15 kilowatt Bergey Wind Turbine. The project is estimated to power 100% of Schmidt’s home.
  • R&E Goering Farms LLC - $18,944 to help complete irrigation pump upgrades in Moundridge. The project is estimated to power three homes.
  • Caldwell Pharmacy Inc - $8,316 to help purchase and install solar equipment. The project is estimated to power over 80% of the pharmacy’s energy usage.
  • Swisher Properties LLC - $20,000 to help purchase and install a 30.78-kilowatt rooftop mounted solar array. The project is estimated to power four homes.

For more information about these and other resources for rural areas, click HERE.

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