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Senate Ag Committee Approves Mandatory Funding of Core Energy Programs

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012



ELPC Commends Senate Agriculture Committee Support of Homegrown Energy

WASHINGTON – The Senate Agriculture Committee took an important step to support America’s farmers, renewable homegrown energy, rural development and national security by funding core energy programs through a Farm Bill amendment passed today.

“We commend Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and the bipartisan group of 11 Senators who supported a bipartisan amendment supporting mandatory funding for programs that reduce dependence on polluting fossil fuels and help farmers cut energy costs and produce innovative renewable energy for America,” said Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate with the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

“The state of the economy and our continuing energy challenges underscore the need for programs like the REAP (Rural Energy for America Program) and  BCAP (Biomass Crop Assistance Program) which generate rural development and provide a safety net to farmers,” Olsen said.

“We thank the energy title supporters, Senators Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) for their support of an Energy Title amendment that provides mandatory funding of these core energy programs,” Olsen added.


The Environmental Law & Policy Center is the Midwest’s leading environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Renewable Energy Feasibility Awards

Monday, March 7th, 2011

(March, 2011) USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced grants were awarded to 68 American farmers and rural small businesses to conduct renewable energy feasibility studies under REAP – the Rural Energy for America Program.

“The Obama Administration is committed to helping our nation become more energy independent by helping rural businesses build renewable energy systems,” said Secretary Vilsack. The grants provide assistance for rural small businesses and agricultural producers to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy system installations.

Feasibility studies help farmers and rural small businesses identify ways to cut energy costs and get new clean energy projects in the pipeline. The REAP Feasibility Studies Program pays up to 25% of the costs of the study.

The 68 feasibility study grants totaled $1.6 million and fund studies in 27 states and territories. A number of larger-scale geothermal power projects in the American West were funded, including one for 500 kw and one for 10 MW. Direct geothermal electric technologies have long planning times, where this support makes a big difference. Ohio had the largest number of awards – 10 – for digesters, solar and wind.

Table 1: Breakdown, by state, of the number of projects and the total amount of funding for those projects


Grant Totals


Alaska $50,000 1
California $32,750 2
Colorado $1,500 1
Georgia $21,875 1
Hawaii $10,000 1
Idaho $73,624 4
Indiana $30,257 3
Iowa $110,936 5
Kentucky $20,000 1
Michigan $78,246 6
Minnesota $50,000 1
Missouri $112,875 4
Montana $45,250 1
Nebraska $78,502 3
New Jersey $97,500 2
New Mexico $8,978 1
New York $49,500 2
North Carolina $49,625 1
Ohio $128,750 10
Oklahoma $50,000 1
Oregon $164,787 6
South Carolina $10,000 1
Tennessee $25,000 1
Texas $163,203 4
Utah $40,000 1
Washington $69,650 2
Western Pacific $21,931 1
Wisconsin $21,500 1

Click on charts to zoom.

Breakdown of 2010 REAP Feasibility Study Funding, by Technology

Breakdown of 2010 REAP Feasibility Study Funding, by Technology

Number of 2010 REAP Feasibility Study Awards, by Technology

Number of 2010 REAP Feasibility Study Awards, by Technology

ELPC’s John Moore Interviewed on Policies that Encourage Wind Energy

Friday, December 18th, 2009

As many states are already learning, wind energy development presents a tremendous opportunity for economic growth. Environmental Law and Policy Center Senior Attorney John Moore says that’s especially true for the Midwest.

According to Moore, several government policies have helped spur the development of wind power in rural America. Listen to the interview on the Brian Allmer Radio Network (BARN).

Community Wind Financing Handbook

Friday, November 6th, 2009

ELPC’s second version of the Community Wind Financing Handbook is now available.  This guide reflects new financing opportunities available from federal energy and economic stimulus legislation, the new Farm Bill, and state incentives. (more…)

Wind Power Development in South Dakota

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Wind power is the fastest growing source of electricity generation in the United States. In this report, ELPC summarizes South Dakota’s embryonic wind industry, the many benefits of the industry, and offers policy solutions to expand wind development and maximize the benefits for all South Dakotans. (more…)

ELPC’s Andy Olsen Discusses REAP on Montana Radio

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

ELPC Senior Policy Advocate Andy Olsen visited Billings, Montana in January 2009 to participate in Harvesting Clean Energy’s 2009 Conference. While there, he sat down with Kristi Pettis from the Northern Ag Broadcasting Network to discuss the new Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) (requires Windows Media Player, QuickTime or other media player).  Andy emphasized the opportunities for both smaller producers and businesses and larger operations to use REAP’s grants and loan guarantees.