Investments Will Make Rural Communities More Energy Independent and Resilient
DENVER, Colo., Dec. 03, 2021 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the Department is investing $633 million to reduce the impacts of climate change on rural communities. With the enactment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and as part of the broader Build Back Better agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration has made investing in rural communities, creating good-paying jobs and combatting the climate crisis top priorities.
“Rural America is on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen all of our resilience,” Vilsack said. “President Biden has created a roadmap for how we can tackle the climate crisis and expand access to renewable energy infrastructure, all while creating good-paying jobs and saving people money on their energy costs. With the Build Back Better agenda, USDA will be able to fund more and more critical projects like those announced today in the coming months and years.”
USDA Rural Development Colorado State Director Armando Valdez expressed his excitement for the allocation of resources in rural Colorado by stating, “Investing in Colorado’s rural communities is a key focus of the Biden-Harris Administration. Rural Development is the agency putting these resources into action. The investments announced today will strengthen and enhance Colorado’s communities by promoting energy efficiency and increasing renewable energy production leading to rural sustainability. These projects showcase the initiative of entities across our state to provide clean energy infrastructure and reduce their carbon footprint.”
In Colorado, $2,567,234 in grants were awarded through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and the Higher Blends Infrastructure Initiatives Program (HBIIP).
The REAP program provides funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. In total, the energy saved through these projects is equivalent to providing enough electricity to power nearly 1,100 homes. The following entities were awarded REAP grants:
In total, Vilsack highlighted 791 investments that USDA is making in five programs specifically designed to help people and businesses in rural areas. These programs include Community Facilities Disaster Grants, Electric Loan Program, Rural Energy for America Program, Rural Energy Savings Program, and the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal, and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit http://www.rd.usda.gov/co.