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USDA invests $2.3 billion in rural clean energy and infrastructure

Initiatives in 23 states, focusing on solar energy, smart-grid technologies and reliable electricity in rural America.

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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s PowerXchange annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas that USDA is moving forward on clean energy investments in 23 states to reduce pollution and strengthen rural America’s power grid. The announcement includes the first five awards totaling $139 million under the Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) program and $2.2 billion in funding awarded to 39 projects to ensure over 2 million people in rural areas have access to reliable electricity.

The USDA is financing projects through the Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee program and selecting the first applications to move forward in the awards process for the Powering Affordable Clean Energy program. These projects aim to reduce electricity costs for families and small businesses, prevent power outages, strengthen energy independence, and create jobs.

The Powering Affordable Clean Energy Awards include projects in Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, and Nebraska, serving disadvantaged and Tribal communities. The funding will expand battery energy storage systems, deliver affordable clean solar energy, and finance solar facilities to make efficiency improvements to energy distribution systems.

The Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program will support 39 projects in 21 states, ensuring more than two million people in rural areas have access to reliable electricity. Projects include building and improving power lines, advancing smart-grid technologies, and installing renewable energy systems.

President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act provides funding for these initiatives, marking the largest single investment in rural electrification since the Rural Electrification Act of 1936. The act aims to expand clean energy, transform rural power production, create jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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