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USDA announces two renewable energy programs


February 8, 2012
By USDA

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Feb. 8, 2012, Washington, DC - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of funds for two key programs to encourage the use of renewable biomass and production of advanced biofuels.

Feb. 8, 2012, Washington, DC – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of
funds for two key programs to encourage the use of
renewable biomass and production of advanced biofuels. About $25
million will be made available through each program.

"President Obama has laid out a new era for American energy—an economy
fueled by homegrown and alternative energy sources that will be designed
and produced by American workers," said Vilsack. "These programs
support that vision by helping biorefineries use renewable biomass as a
replacement fuel source for fossil fuels and supporting advanced biofuel
producers as they expand production."

The Repowering Assistance Program provides approximately $25 million in
funding to biorefineries that have been in existence on or before June
18, 2008. The purpose of the program is to provide a financial
incentive to biorefineries to use renewable biomass in place of fossil
fuels used to produce heat or power. By providing this assistance, USDA
is helping these facilities install new systems that use renewable
biomass.

The amount of the payment will be based on (1) the cost effectiveness of
the renewable biomass system; and (2) the percentage reduction in
fossil fuels used by that biorefinery. The maximum amount an individual
biorefinery can receive under the Notice is 50 percent of total
eligible project costs up to a maximum of $10 million.

Eligible costs must be related to construction or repowering
improvements, such as engineering design, equipment installation and
professional fees. The application deadline for this program to receive
funds for Fiscal Year 2012 is June 1, 2012. For additional details,
please see pages 5232 through 5234 of the February 2, 2012, Federal
Register, or go to http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-02-02/pdf/2012-2244.pdf.

USDA also announced the availability of up to $25 million to make
payments to advanced biofuels producers who expect to produce eligible
advanced biofuels at any time during Fiscal Year 2012. To be eligible
for these funds, an advanced biofuels producers must have enrolled in
the program by October 31, 2011, even if the producer has an existing
contract with the Agency.

Payments will be made to producers of advanced biofuels derived from
renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. These include
cellulose, sugar and starch, crop residue, vegetative waste material,
animal waste, food and yard waste, vegetable oil, animal fat, and
biogas.

Contract payments will be made quarterly. For additional details, please
see pages 5229 through 5232 of the February 2, 2012, Federal Register,
or go to http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-02-02/pdf/2012-2240.pdf.

Both of the programs referenced in the Federal Register are important
parts of achieving the Obama Administration goal to increase biofuels
production and use.

The Obama Administration is working to promote domestic production of
renewable energy to create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil,
reduce emissions, and build a stronger rural economy. Today, Americans
import just over half of our transportation fuels – down from 60 percent
when President Obama took office – but we can do more to meet the
President's goal of reducing our net fuel imports by one-third by 2025.
At Secretary Vilsack's direction, USDA is working to develop the
national biofuels industry by producing energy from non-food sources in
every region of the country. We are conducting and encouraging research
into innovative new energy technologies and processes, helping
companies build biorefineries – including the first ever
commercial-scale cellulosic biofuel facilities – and supporting farmers,
ranchers, and businesses taking risks to pursue new opportunities in
biofuels. Along with Federal partners, we're establishing an aviation
biofuels economy, and have expedited rules and efforts to promote
production and commercialization of biofuels.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and
manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility
programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural
Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in
affordable loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to
improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses,
residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural
America.


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