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The US government sets up a fund to encourage rural clean energy generation

The US government sets up a fund to encourage rural clean energy generation

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks at North America’s Building Trades Unions Legislative Conference at the Washington Hilton. Photo credit: Reuters / Leah Millis.

By Anders Lorenzen

The Biden Administration has set up an $11 billion grant to encourage rural clean energy projects.

Rural energy companies, co-operatives as well as other providers of energy, will soon be able to apply for funding in the shape of grants and loans to fund clean energy projects. It is a part of the government’s Inflation Reduction Act which was signed into law in August last year. 

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has said that by the end of July, they will be able to apply for $9.7 billion in grants for renewable and zero-emission energy and carbon capture systems. 

In addition, USDA added that renewable energy developers and electric service developers such as municipal and tribal utilities will, at the end of June, be eligible to apply for another $1 billion in what will be partially forgivable loans to finance wind, solar, geothermal as well as other renewable energy technologies.

A historic day

The administration hopes that expanding clean energy to rural communities could be an important tool in meeting the government`s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack commented: “This is an exciting and historic day and continues an ongoing effort to ensure that rural America is a full participant in the clean energy economy.” A key advisor to the Biden Administrator on climate and energy, John Podesta added: “The money would bring good-paying jobs to rural communities”.

On the objective around this policy, Vilsack added: “We have a climate crisis that requires all of America to participate in reducing emissions to get to the net-zero future.”

According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, currently, rural electric cooperatives serve 42 million people and draw about 22% of their energy from renewable sources.

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