The Biden-Harris Administration today announced the availability of nearly $11 billion in grants and loan opportunities that will help rural energy and utility providers bring affordable, reliable clean energy to their communities across the country. This represents the single largest investment in rural electrification since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Act into law in 1936.
“The Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to cleaner energy provides rural communities with an affordable and reliable power grid, while supporting thousands of new jobs and helping lower energy costs in the future,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “These investments will also combat climate change and significantly reduce air and water pollution that put children’s health at risk. The U.S. Department of Agriculture stands ready to partner with municipalities, tribal entities, entrepreneurs, rural electric cooperatives and other utilities to see this transformative investment come to life and create new economic growth and healthier communities.”
Funding is available through two programs under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which makes the nation’s largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be opening a Letter of Interest process for the Empowering Rural America (“New ERA”) program, which makes $9.7 billion available to eligible rural electric cooperatives to deploy renewable energy systems, zero-emission and carbon capture systems. In addition to New ERA, USDA will also be opening a Letter of Interest process for the Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) program, which makes $1 billion available in partially forgivable loans to renewable-energy developers and electric service providers, including municipals, cooperatives, and investor-owned and Tribal utilities to help finance large-scale solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower projects and energy storage in support of renewable energy systems.
“This new funding from the Inflation Reduction Act shows that President Biden, and our entire administration, is serious about investing in rural America,” said John Podesta, Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation. “This announcement embodies what the Investing in America Agenda is all about—building a clean energy economy that works for everyone.”
Together, these two programs represent the single largest investment in rural electrification since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Act into law in 1936. This announcement is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to grow the American economy from the bottom up and the middle out by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, driving more than $435 billion in private-sector manufacturing investments, creating good-paying jobs, and building a clean-energy economy to tackle the climate crisis and make our communities more resilient.
“All across America, rural cooperatives lift up our rural communities. President Biden’s investment agenda positions his Agriculture Department as the ultimate partner in this work – financing not just upgrades to clean and affordable power, but also economic empowerment and uplift,” said Ali Zaidi, Assistant to the President and National Climate Advisor. “For so many of our rural communities, this is simply a gamechanger. It’s a big deal.”