Friday, September 25, 2009

First returns on 2009 grant season

The USDA announced the bulk of its Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) awards on Thursday. If you page all the way to the bottom of the announcement, past hundreds of Midwestern projects, you can find Farm Power Lynden's award: a $500,000 grant plus a $2.4 million loan guarantee! Once again, Shorebank Pacific stepped up for the loan portion, strengthening their bid to be the premier green power lender in the state. This year continued the trend towards smaller grants, so we only had a little competition from a couple wind turbine projects for the largest loan/grant combo of 2009. FP Lynden needs more development before it's ready to go, but this is a great start.

Along with a smaller round announced several weeks earlier, the total national REAP funding exceeds $75 million. A small amount of this has been directed to feasibility studies, but otherwise this program is one of only a few available to small businesses that actually funds construction (rather than research). One blogger suggested that REAP be renamed "Renewable Energy for Iowa Program", but it's good to see other states outside the Midwest getting into the action; our state USDA office would love to help more people put together competitive applications--give them a call!

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