ENERGY PROGRAMS

A Cooperative Agreement between Rhode Island Resource Conservation and Development Area Council, Inc., the Department of Environmental Management, Division of Agriculture and Office of Air Resources, and the RI Office of Energy Resources.


THE RHODE ISLAND AGRICULTURAL ENERGY PROGRAM (RIAgEP)

The Rhode Island Agricultural Energy Program (RIAgEP) is a competitive grant program that funds agricultural energy projects in an effort to improve energy efficiency and to facilitate the adoption of alternative clean energy technologies by Rhode Island farms in order to reduce energy consumption thereby, decreasing the carbon footprint of the agricultural community and keep agriculture a viable and growing sector of Rhode Island's economy.

RI Ag Energy Grants will fund projects up to $20,000 that fall into either the renewable energy category or the energy efficiency category. All farm related energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that meet the program requirements will be considered, although priority will be given to proposals that focus on the technologies listed in the application.

Eligibility and Applying

The farming operation must have received an energy audit/energy assessment, or demonstrate the initiation of such. The operation must be a legally recognized entity within the State of Rhode Island, and must have the ability to enter a legally binding agreement with the State of Rhode Island. The operation must be an agricultural operation as defined in the Application (RFA).


RURAL ENERGY FOR AMERICA PROGRAM (REAP)

Section 9007 of the 2008 Farm Bill provides funding for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. USDA Rural Development administers these funds and offers grants, guaranteed loans, or a combination to farmers and rural small businesses.

The Rural Energy for America Program is part of the Energy Title of the 2008 Farm Bill. It provides assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to complete a variety of projects, including renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy development, and energy audits. Offering both loan guarantees and grants, the REAP program helps eligible applicants install renewable energy systems such as solar panels or anaerobic digesters, make energy efficiency improvements such as installing irrigation pumps or replacing ventilation systems, and conduct energy audits.

The Rhode Island Farm Energy Program, through the Rhode Island RC&D Area Council, Inc. in cooperation with USDA Rural Development offers informational workshops and grant writing assistance to farmers applying to this program.

The REAP program is comprised of the following components and are available to review in detail on the USDA Rural Development web site. Additional information regarding Eligibility Requirements, Technological Requirements and Financing Information for each component can be found at these links.

Eligible Projects

  • Renewable Energy: Renewable energy systems can include small and large wind turbines, active or passive solar energy systems, geothermal heating and cooling, anaerobic digesters using food or livestock waste, systems using or producing biomass fuels, or facilities producing ethanol or biodiesel. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, tidal, wave, ocean thermal and hydroelectric technologies are also included.
     
  • Energy Efficiency: Projects that save energy (electricity, propane or natural gas, or diesel fuel) are eligible. Examples include dairy pumps and cooling systems, weatherization of poultry houses, efficient lighting and ventilation, irrigation equipment, industrial motors and supermarket refrigeration systems. Projects that save fuel used in mobile sources (tractors, trucks) are ineligible.

REAP Grants - Overview

The grants are awarded on a competitive basis and can be up to 25% of total eligible project costs. Grants are limited to $500,000 for renewable energy systems and $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements. Grant requests as low as $2,500 for renewable energy systems and $1,500 for energy efficiency improvements will be considered.

The program is designed to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses that are able to demonstrate financial need. All agricultural producers, including farmers and ranchers, who gain 50% or more of their gross income from the agricultural operations are eligible. Small businesses that are located in a rural area can also apply. Rural electric cooperatives may also be eligible to apply. To review the eligibility map and small business standards web sites, visit USDA-Rural Development.

Most rural projects that reduce energy use and result in savings for the agricultural producer or small business are eligible as energy efficiency projects. These include projects such as retrofitting lighting or insulation, or purchasing or replacing equipment with more efficiency units. Eligible renewable energy projects include projects that produce energy from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro power and hydrogen-based sources. The projects can produce various forms of energy including, heat, electricity, or fuel.

For more information visit: The Rural Energy for America Program

A project of Rhode Island Resource Conservation & Development Area Council.

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