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Idaho Businesses Benefit from $266 Million in Loans and Grants for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Idaho businesses are set to receive a significant boost with $266 million in loans and grants being awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These funds will be utilized by agriculture producers and rural small businesses to make investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements. This initiative is made possible in part by President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which is the largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis.

The AI legalese decoder plays a crucial role in facilitating this process. By decoding and simplifying complex legal jargon, it aids businesses in understanding the necessary requirements and procedures for accessing these loans and grants. This technological tool ensures transparency and accessibility, enabling a wider range of businesses to benefit from this funding.

Furthermore, a total of $142,000 in grants, along with a $25 million loan, have already been awarded to nine Idaho businesses. The loan will specifically aid Hidden Hollow Energy in refinance and converting landfill gas to electricity at the Ada County Landfill in Garden City. This not only promotes renewable energy but also contributes to waste management efforts in the area.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, emphasizes the importance of investing in rural communities. He states, “Creating opportunity for rural communities means investing in farmers, ranchers, and small businesses. These once-in-a-generation investments in renewable energy, like wind and solar, and energy-efficient technologies create new markets and deliver real cost savings for our small and mid-sized agricultural operations and Main Street businesses, building and keeping wealth in rural America.”

The USDA is allocating $266 million across 1,334 renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects in 47 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. These loans and grants are part of the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and receive funding from the landmark Inflation Reduction Act.

Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, the USDA has made up to $1.3 billion available in REAP funding since December 2022. Rural small business owners and agricultural producers are eligible to apply for this program. The initiative also aligns with the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure that communities marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment receive 40 percent of the benefits from federal investments.

This funding is a significant component of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. It plays a vital role in fueling the growth of the American economy, particularly through the middle-out and bottom-up approach. The investments range from rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure to fostering over $500 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States. By creating good-paying jobs and building a clean-energy economy, it addresses climate change while enhancing community resilience.

USDA will continue to accept applications and hold funding competitions quarterly until September 30, 2024. The funding includes a substantial portion of $144.5 million allocated for underutilized renewable energy technologies. For specific application deadlines and submission details, interested parties can refer to page 19239 of the March 31 Federal Register.

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