USDA Giving Power Generation, Transmission Co-ops Billions for Energy Innovation

Cardinal Plant in Brilliant, Ohio, owned by Buckeye Power, Ohio's Electric Cooperatives.

Washington DC-The USDA announced $9.7 billion in funding for rural electric cooperatives involved in generation and transmission of power, to invest in clean energy systems.

Ohio's electric cooperatives do not generate their own power individually-instead their power is supplied by Buckeye Power, which would be eligible to apply for a funding award. The application period begins July 31 and ends August 31, 2023.

The grants cover up to 25% of of project costs, with a maximum of $970 million going to a single organization.

USDA will begin announcing the first funding awards at the end of this year. The program, which USDA is calling New ERA (Empowering Rural America), will be administered by the Rural Utilities Service.

Eligible projects include carbon capture, renewable energy, storage, nuclear, and generation and transmission efficiency improvements.

“This is an exciting and transformative opportunity for co-ops and their local communities, particularly as we look toward a future that depends on electricity to power more of the economy,” said Jim Matheson, President of NRECA.

“USDA has smartly structured this program in a way that will help electric co-ops leverage new tools to reduce costs and keep energy affordable while meeting the future energy needs of their rural communities. I’m grateful to USDA for listening to us throughout this process and for settling on rules that ensure the program is flexible and accessible to all electric cooperatives.”

NRECA worked to help shape the program, which was passed by Congress through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). 

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