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Growing A Greener Ohio

2008 USDA Farm Bill Section 9006 RE & EE Grant Funding Available

Below is March 7, 2008 summary from Environmental Law & Policy Center of the Midwest: 
For more see: www.farmenergy.org/newsitem.php?item_id=399

$36 million in funding available.  Farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses have new opportunities to install energy efficiency upgrades and new renewable energy systems.

On March 6, 2008 USDA Rural Development released its NOFA (Notice of Funding Availability) for this year's Section 9006 clean energy grant and loan guarantee program. The program rules are similar to last year's, with a few changes. Congress recently boosted total 2008 funding for this program from $23 million to $36 million in recognition of the value and demand for Section 9006.

Below are key changes for 2008:

Grants: For grants, the USDA is making $15.9 million available for 2008 (though more may come later from unused loan guarantee allocations). The USDA has established two grant cycles this year, with application deadlines of April 15th and June 16th. 50% of the grant funding will be set aside for each cycle. Applications not funded in the first cycle will be reconsidered in the second cycle.

Loan Guarantees: USDA will review and decide applications for loan guarantees on a continuous basis, but must be received by USDA no later than June 16th. Applications for combined loan guarantee-grants will be reviewed bi-weekly and USDA also must receive those applications no later than June 16th. The USDA has provided funding resulting in $205 million in loan guarantees (leveraging $19.9 million from original Congressional funding).

On-Line Applications: Grant applicants have the option to submit applications online from www.grants.gov and submit their application electronically. (At the time of this writing, the application is not yet available). Loan guarantee applications can only be submitted in paper form.

Further Information: Further information on the program including frequently asked questions, official application forms and templates, checklists, tips, case studies, application instructions and regulations can be found at www.farmenergy.org.

2006 Farm Bill Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program

USDA Rural Business Cooperative Service requests applications under the Farm Bill for Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Grants and Guaranteed Loans.  Through this RFP, the USDA will make loans, loan guarantees, and grants to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.  $11.4 million is expected to be available for projects.  75% cost share is required.  Responses are due 5/12/06.  $176.5 million is available in guaranteed loan authority.  Loan responses are due 7/3/06. http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/farmbill/index.html.

2005 Farm Bill Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program

On March 28, 2005 the USDA Rural Development Business Programs published a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) to implement the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program for FY 2005. The NOFA announced the availability of up to $22.8 million in competitive grant funds for FY 2005 to purchase renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements for agricultural producers and rural small businesses.

Of the $22.8 million, $11.4 million is immediately available for grants. The other $11.4 million will be set aside through August 31, 2005, for guaranteed loans. The NOFA does not provide for a guaranteed loan program. USDA plans to administer the guaranteed loan set aside funds under a final rule anticipated for publication in the Federal Register later this fiscal year. A fiscal year begins October 1, and ends September 30. Any guaranteed loans funds not used by August 31, 2005, will revert to the grant program under the NOFA.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) web site has materials that may be helpful to you.  It is being continually updated during 2004 as the FY04 Farm Bill solicitation process evolves, so you may want to check back periodically.

2005 USDA Workshops were held in Ohio in March, including technical session discussion with GEO staff, members and Ohio renewable energy installers.  The Farm Bill renewable energy program is closely monitored by the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Chicago.  See the ELPC information here.

2004 USDA Grant Ohio Workshops were available to help people navigate the requirements for renewable energy projects eligible for funding under the Farm Bill Section 9006 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program. Download a PDF of the workshop brochure for Toledo and Reynoldsburg, Ohio Farm Bill workshops held on April 8 and 14, 2004 to explain the grants. The USDA 2004 Grant Fact Sheet (PDF) summarizes the Section 9006 grant provisions.

Related to Ohio farming and renewable energy see: GEO Board Member Dale Arnold's Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, March 15, 2004 presentation at Dayton Rural Energy Summit: "Clean Energy Development - An Agricultural Perspective" (.pdf)

See example of Rural Ohio Small Wind Installation in May 2004 at the Dull Homestead.

After passage of the original 2002 Federal Farm Bill, GEO participated in an April 17, 2003 Federal Farm Bill Renewable Energy Grants Workshop in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.  This GEO web page refers to a USDA fact sheet and other information on this first solicitation of renewable energy projects eligible for funding under Farm Bill Section 9006 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program.

In August 2003, 5 Ohio companies were awarded USDA grants of over $2 million total to help fund renewable energy and efficiency projects.  Competing with 113 applications, the 5 Ohio firms were selected as part of the overall $21.2 million available nationally. Farmers and rural small businesses in the Midwest and Great Plains received nearly $13 million of the total.

The first-round of USDA grant recipients by Project Type and Percent of Funds Awarded Nationally ($21.2 million awarded) were:
                 Wind 36%
                 Digesters 33%
                 Biofuels 18%
                 Energy Efficiency 7%
                 Solar 3%
                 Other Renewables  3%

Applications selected for funding in Ohio in 2003 include:

Liquid Resources of Ohio, LLC for $500,000 to build a six million gallon ethanol plant in Medina using waste beverages as feedstock.

Three ethanol producers- Harrison Ethanol (Harrison County), Central Ethanol (Perry County), and Pike Ethanol (Pike County) - each were awarded $500,000 grants to contract an ethanol plant that will convert animal waste to gas and electricity.

AgriEnergy, Ltd. in Wood County received $43,612.