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USDA funds biomass conversion projects

Nov. 18, 2011, Halifax, VA - Deputy Agriculture Undersecretary for Rural Development Doug O'Brien announced that USDA is funding a series of projects to convert biomass to energy through USDA's Rural Energy for America program. (REAP).


November 18, 2011
By David Manly


Topics

Nov. 18, 2011, Halifax, VA – Deputy Agriculture Undersecretary for Rural Development Doug O'Brien announced that USDA is funding a series of projects to convert
biomass to energy through USDA's Rural Energy for America program.
(REAP). The announcement was made during an event in Halifax, Va., to
mark USDA Rural Development's participation in construction of a biomass
plant to be operated by the Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative
(NOVEC).

"The Obama Administration is assisting cooperatives, small
businesses, farmers and ranchers, as they work to reduce their energy
costs," said O'Brien. "When energy costs are reduced, American rural
businesses become more competitive, allowing them to expand and create
jobs."

For example, NC-CHP Owner I, LLC of Asheville, N.C., received a $5
million loan for the installation of a combined heat and power system in
Montgomery County. The system will generate steam by using a boiler
system powered by wood chips and will also generate 5.25 million kWh of
electricity per year. Also in Montgomery County, applicant EWP, LLC will
receive a $146,000 grant to install equipment at an existing
hydroelectric plant so it can be reopened. The project has the
potential to generate an estimated 2.8 million kWh per year.

Today's announcement concludes 2011 biomass project funding assistance
for a total of 52 projects with just over $31 million in grant and loan
note guarantees through the Rural Energy for America Program. This
support helped to leverage a total of $154.5 million of biomass project
development in 26 states which will help produce clean, renewable heat
and power for farms and small businesses in rural America. A complete
list of funding recipients announced today follows:

Alaska Alaskan Brewing LLC $448,366 grant Biofuel from waste grain

N.C. EWP LLC $146,281 grant Hydro

N.C. NC-CHP Owner I, LLC $5 million loan Wood to energy

Iowa Iowa Firewood Products $24,232 grant Firewood kiln

Mass. CommonWealth Resource $49,875 grant Biofuel from waste

S.D. Legend Seeds, Inc. $17,035 grant Boiler installation

Tenn. Mountain Wood Products $500,000 grant Wood Pellet Processing

Utah Washakie Renewable Energy $496,750 grant Biofuels pretreatment/ products plant

USDA funding is contingent on the recipient meeting the conditions
of the grant or loan agreement. REAP grants can finance up to 25 percent
of a project's cost, up to $500,000 for renewable energy systems and
$250,000 for energy efficiency improvements.

Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken
historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back
to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From
proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White
House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the
President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner
for rural businesses and entrepreneurs creating job opportunities and
for people who want to live, work, and raise their families in rural
communities. 

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 $155 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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