On Friday, January 20, 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will begin accepting new applications for grants and loans under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Authorized by Section 9007 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the Farm Bill), REAP provides funding for agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and implement energy efficiency improvements.
Created in 2008, REAP has been a unique addition to the Farm Bill's energy title, particularly with respect to advancing the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technology. In fiscal year 2011, REAP provided $23.2 million for energy efficiency projects, $20.9 million for biodigesters, $20.3 million for solar energy projects, $8.2 million for hydroelectric systems, $7 million for biomass energy projects, $4.28 million for flexible fuel pump projects, $3.9 million for wind energy projects, and $1.4 million for geothermal installations.
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