The House and Senate have passed the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, otherwise known as the farm bill, which keeps intact funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in agriculture.
According to the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), the legislation maintains the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) at $50 million per year of mandatory funding.
REAP, as described by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (USDA), provides “guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.” Eligible renewable energy projects include solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal, hydrogen and ocean generation.
The farm bill now heads to the desk of President Donald Trump.
“REAP has done much for many farmers and rural small businesses, as well as our environment,” comments Andy Olsen, ELPC’s senior policy advocate. “We welcome the continuation of the program and seek to increase funding to do even more for our country.”
“We’re pleased to see continued bipartisan support for the Rural Energy for America Program, which enables the spread of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements throughout America’s heartland,” adds Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “This USDA program finances projects in every state, helping entrepreneurs in rural communities reduce their energy costs.”