The Biden-Harris Administration recently announced the availability of nearly $11 billion in grants and loan opportunities that will help rural energy and utility providers bring affordable, reliable clean energy to their communities across the country. This represents the single largest investment in rural electrification since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Act into law in 1936.
Funding is available through two programs under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which makes the nation’s largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be opening a Letter of Interest process for the Empowering Rural America (“New ERA”) program, which makes $9.7 billion available to eligible rural electric cooperatives to deploy renewable energy systems, zero-emission and carbon capture systems. This program helps rural Americans transition to clean, affordable, and reliable energy. By reducing air and water pollution, New ERA funding improves health outcomes and lower energy costs for people in rural communities. New ERA program funding is available to member-owned rural electric cooperatives, which have been the backbone of America’s rural power delivery for nearly a century. Rural electric cooperatives, including current and previous USDA borrowers, are eligible for funding.
In addition to New ERA, USDA will also be opening a Letter of Interest process for the Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) program, which makes $1 billion available in partially forgivable loans to renewable-energy developers and electric service providers, including municipals, cooperatives, and investor-owned and Tribal utilities to help finance large-scale solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower projects and energy storage in support of renewable energy systems. This program is available to eligible applicants that generate electricity for resale to residents in both rural and nonrural areas. However, at least 50 percent of the population served by your proposed renewable energy project must live in communities with populations of 20,000 or fewer. PACE helps make clean, affordable, and reliable energy accessible to the people of rural America. Learn more about the funding opportunities.
On June 22nd, Tantalus Systems will host a webinar covering these programs, their deadlines, funding applicant categories, allowable uses, requirements, etc.