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USDA Invests $131,000 in Michigan Renewable Energy Infrastructure
Michigan Ag Connection - 09/10/2021

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday announced that the Department is investing $464 million to build or improve renewable energy infrastructure and to help rural communities, agricultural producers and businesses lower energy costs in 48 states and Puerto Rico.

"USDA continues to prioritize climate-smart infrastructure to help rural America build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before," Vilsack said. "We recognize that lowering energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers helps to expand economic development and employment opportunities for people in America's rural towns and communities. The investments we are announcing today demonstrate how the Biden-Harris Administration has put rural communities at the heart of climate action and climate-smart solutions."

USDA is financing $129 million of these investments through the Rural Energy for America Program. This program provides funding to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. These climate-smart investments will conserve and generate more than 379 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) in rural America, which equates to enough electricity to power 35,677 homes per year.

USDA is financing $335 million of these investments through the Electric Loan Program. The loans will help build or improve 1,432 miles of line to strengthen reliability in rural areas. The loans include $102 million for investments in smart grid technology, which uses digital communications to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.

Michigan has nine recipients, who will use $131,914 in grant funds to purchase and install photovoltaic systems. The combined energy provided by the systems will power the equivalent of 42 homes per year. Recipients are:

Allegan -- Maplebrook Farm Holdings LLC, $8,197

Barry -- Andrea D. Landis, $4,546

Berrien -- Stephen Curley, $13,693

Gratiot -- Willow Creek Enterprises LLC, $20,000

Hillsdale -- Donald Johnson, $20,000

Kalamazoo -- Prairie Piglets LLC, $20,000

Kalamazoo -- Payla Meadows LLC, $20,000

Marquette -- Seeds & Spores Family Farm LLC, $13,666

Muskegon -- Kantola Quality Farms LLC, $11,812

To learn more about these and other resources for rural areas, contact a USDA Rural Development state office.

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