Initiative supports underutilized renewable energy tech for farmers

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are teaming up to help farmers leverage small-scale renewable energy sources and energy-efficiency projects.

Under the Rural and Agricultural Income & Savings from Renewable Energy (RAISE) initiative, the USDA will help 400 individual farmers deploy small-scale wind projects. The initiative uses $144.5 million from the Underutilized Technology Fund. The fund supports the use of renewable energy technologies, which accounted for less than 20% of the Rural Energy for America Program’s (REAP) Fiscal Year 2021 project pool.

REAP is a USDA program that will offer more than $2 billion through 2031 to help agricultural producers leverage renewable energy systems, such as hydropower, geothermal, biomass-based and other forms of clean energy. As part of the program, the USDA will provide technical assistance to support applicants as they seek REAP funding for underutilized technology projects.

“By strengthening our longstanding partnership with DOE through the RAISE initiative, USDA is ensuring farmers and hardworking Americans everywhere have the opportunity to save money and earn income from small-scale, distributed renewable energy technologies,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

The DOE will provide $2.5 million through the Distributed Wind Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP). The CIP funds distributed wind technology development, testing, certification and commercialization. The program supports U.S. component suppliers and manufacturers of small- and medium-size wind turbines. In addition, it will support the RAISE initiative by focusing on commercializing distributed wind turbines for the agricultural sector.

The DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office will also deliver $1.5 million for research and outreach efforts. These efforts will allow farmers to explore collaborative business models to earn income from distributed wind. This includes partnering with farm associations that could administer distributed wind energy with fee-for-service models.

On March 14, the two agencies will host the first webinar in a series to provide an overview of the programs and how to use them for developing place-based wind projects. The USDA and DOE will also launch a National Distributed Wind Network and Resource Hub to offer curated resources. These resources will include general wind information and models for farmers, rural electric cooperatives, farm associations and small-scale, distributed wind providers.

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Photo by Brent Summerville, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Government Market News Staff

Welcome to Government Market News, your trusted source for in-depth coverage of the U.S. government marketplace. Our dedicated editorial team provides comprehensive insights on contracting opportunities, private-public partnerships, funding programs, and industry trends. As a publication of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., we offer unrivaled expertise to help you navigate this unique marketplace successfully.

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