US government to provide $1 billion for rural renewable energy

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Rural small businesses and farmers in the US will be eligible to apply for $1 billion (€915m) in grants to invest in clean energy beginning on 1 April, the US Department of Agriculture and the White House announced on Friday, reported Reuters.
The money, part of the Inflation Reduction Act's (IRA) budget, will be distributed through the USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and is intended to further the Biden administration's efforts to cut climate-harming emissions across the American economy.
"Through this administration we are taking an approach that tries to expand the affordability of clean energy to folks living in every zip code," said White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi on a call with reporters.
The grant money can be used to install renewable energy systems - such as anaerobic digesters, solar panels or wind turbines - or to make energy-efficient improvements, the USDA said.
USDA will allocate 20% of the funds to grant requests of $20,000 (€18.2k) or less, the agency said.
The funded projects will create jobs, reduce emissions and improve rural resiliency in the face of a changing climate, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the press call.
The IRA provided more than $2 billion (€1.8bn) for REAP, which the administration anticipates will fund projects for 41,500 farms and small businesses, according to the USDA website.

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