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USDA to assist rural communities with extremely high energy costs

Posted on Monday, July 9, 2012 at 11:32 am

Moore County experienced record-breaking heat this week and with it likely increased energy costs.

Extremely high energy costs in rural and remote communities typically result from a combination of factors, including high energy consumption, high per-unit energy costs, limited availability of energy sources, extreme climate conditions and housing that is not energy efficient.

The USDA is now accepting applications for grants to assist communities with extremely high energy costs.

USDA Rural Development is making available up to $7 million in High Energy Cost Grants during fiscal year 2012 to assist communities where expenditures for home energy exceed 275 percent of the national average. The maximum amount of grant assistance that will be awarded under this notice is $3 million.

Applicants must demonstrate that proposed communities meet one or more high energy cost benchmarks, such as average total household energy costs that exceed $4,860 annually.  Funds may be used to acquire, construct, extend, upgrade or otherwise improve energy generation, transmission or distribution facilities.

Eligible applicants include states, local governments, businesses, federally recognized Indian Tribes and Tribal entities, and other entities organized under state law.

Applications are due July 30. For additional information, visit the USDA Rural Utilities Service website.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $170 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.