By Erin Voegele, Biomass Magazine.
On Oct. 25, the USDA announced it is investing more than $300 million to help hundreds of small businesses adopt renewable energy sources or implement more efficient energy options. The investment includes $327 million to support 423 businesses through the Rural Energy for America Program and a $68 million loan awarded to the Pedernales Electric Cooperative of Johnson City, Texas, through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program to fund system-wide energy efficiency improvements to assist a rural portion of the co-op’s service territory.
"Cutting our energy waste is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to help families save money on their energy bills while reducing harmful carbon pollution. Over the course of nearly eight years, the Obama Administration has taken strong actions to advance energy efficiency in our homes and businesses," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Through efficiency upgrades and private-sector partnerships, America has been able to cut its carbon emissions, create jobs and save families hundreds of dollars at the pump and on their utility bills every year. The Rural Energy for America Program alone has helped roughly 15,000 rural small businesses, farmers and ranchers improve their bottom lines by installing renewable energy systems and energy efficiency solutions. When businesses lower their energy costs, they are also able to expand their services and contribute to stronger local economies."