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Federal $$ Aim To Expand Use Of Renewable Energy

USDA Rural Development California State Director Maria Gallegos Herrera recently announced the United States Department of Agriculture is investing $10.4 million to upgrade clean fuel infrastructure and help agricultural producers and rural small business owners make energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy investments.

“People in rural California are the ones who regularly provide the food, energy, and fuel our country depends on,” Gallegos Herrera said in making the announcement on Friday, Nov. 3. “Through today’s investments we’re making sure they have the support they need to continue their work with the latest in energy technology and efficiencies.”

Through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), $8.7 million in loans and grants will go to supporting 24 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects throughout California. For example, Couco Creek Dairy Biogas LLC is receiving a $1 million grant to build an anaerobic covered lagoon digester and make carbon-negative vehicle fuels in California.

Through USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Investment Program (HBIIP), $1.7 million in grants will create the necessary infrastructure to expand the sales and use of renewable fuels for seven recipient organizations in California. For example, Veer Management Company Inc. expects to increase the availability of ethanol by more than 1.8 million gallons per year by installing ethanol blend fuel dispensers and a storage tank across eight fueling stations in California.

The purpose of the HBIIP is to increase significantly the sales and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products. The program is also intended to encourage a more comprehensive approach to market higher blends by sharing the costs related to building out biofuel-related infrastructure.

The investments advance the Investing in America agenda to grow the American economy from the middle out and bottom up by rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, driving more than $500 billion in private sector manufacturing investments, creating good-paying jobs and building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make communities more resilient.

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