REAP grants include money for biomass projects

By Holly Jessen | October 22, 2012

A total of $16 million in investment for 244 projects received funding from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, including several blender pumps and a few biomass-related projects. The program offers funding to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems and energy-efficiency improvements.

“As part of President Obama's ‘all of the above’ energy strategy, USDA has partnered with thousands of America's farmers, ranchers and rural businesses to help them save energy and improve their bottom line," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in an announcement Oct. 19. "This effort is helping to provide stable energy costs that create an environment for sustainable job growth in rural America."

Grants for biomass-related projects include:

* $49,250, wood-fired boiler, Georgia, Troy Aldridge

* $30,000, biomass system, North Carolina, Philip R. Patterson

* $455,840, biomass system, New Hampshire, Balsams View LLC

* $500,000 (plus a $2.1 million loan,) anaerobic digester, Washington, Edaleen Cow Power LLC.

Grants for ethanol-related projects include:

* $43,556, two blender pumps, Iowa, Baxter Oil Co.

* $50,000, three blender pumps, Iowa, Sperry One Stop Shop LLC

* $37,875, flex-fuel pump, Indiana, Somerset Super Store Co.

* $89,747, flex-fuel pumps and tanks, Nebraska, Jackson Express Inc.

* $39,233, flex-fuel pumps, South Dakota, Ronald Fischer

* $50,320, several flex-fuel pumps (at three stations,) South Dakota, Pump N Stuff.

The press release provided additional details about two biomass projects. The Balsams View project involves replacing an old heating system with “a state of the art, high-efficiency, wood fired biomass boiler system,” the USDA said. “The new energy-efficient system is expected to use 77 percent less wood.”

The anaerobic digestion project will produce power that will be sold to a utility. It is expected to generate 4,635 Megawatt hours per year utilizing mature from a 2,450-head herd of dairy cows and will, in turn, receive a bedding byproduct produced by the digester.

The USDA website includes a complete list of projects as well as more information on other rural development projects