American Power Act Amps Up Rural Energy for America Program

For the first time, the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) was included in major federal energy legislation. On May 12, 2010, John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) included REAP in the American Power Act, a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill. Previously, REAP has only been in Farm Bills.

As described in the short summary of the American Power Act:

Additionally, the bill supports the Rural Energy for America Program, which has already reduced costs and created thousands of new clean energy jobs across rural America.

To help spur the development and deployment of clean energy technologies economy wide, the American Power Act will include REAP at a level nearly three times the FY2010 funding of $99.34 million. The American Power Act seeks to jumpstart our transition to a clean energy economy, creating jobs and investment nation-wide and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.  The bill would also provide direct support to energy consumers and incentivize energy efficiency and renewable energy development.

Though the REAP program was included in the official bill summaries, it was inadvertently omitted from the discussion draft and will be included in later revisions.

This Congress has pledged to pass either a climate or a clean energy bill. REAP serves the goals of either type of bill:

  • REAP cuts carbon pollution with energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment through rural economic development.
  • REAP helps energy independence and energy security by reducing energy waste with energy efficiency and increasing distributed – and resilient – energy systems.