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USDA launches new program to support renewable energy adoption

Renewable energy gains more financial support in the US

Renewable energy has been growing more popular in the U.S. recently, and the federal government has begun offering more financial support to encourage the adoption of clean power. Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled the Rural Energy for America Program. The program is meant to provide financial aid in the form of grants. The grants will be issued by the USDA to renewable energy projects that are taking place in rural parts of the country. These grants may be especially helpful to farmers that are showing more interest in adopting cleaner forms of power.

Clean power growing more popular throughout rural America

The rural parts of the country are not often associated with staggering levels of energy consumption, as these areas do not typically host large cities or dense populations. Rural areas are home to thriving businesses, however, which do consume considerable amounts of electrical power and fossil-fuels. Farmers, in particular, rely heavily on fossil-fuels to power their equipment. There are several manufacturing and processing organizations that call these rural locations home as well, many of which have been showing strong interest in renewable energy.

USDA - Renewable EnergyCosts often detract from allure of renewable energy

Renewable energy systems, such as solar panels or wind turbines, have long attracted attention due to their environmentally friendly nature. These energy systems do not produce harmful emissions into the environment themselves, thus making them somewhat appealing to the environmentally conscious. These energy systems are, however, considerably more expensive than those based on fossil-fuels. As such, the adoption of renewable energy is often kept at bay due to the high costs associated with clean technology. The new grant program from the USDA aims to address this issue.

Program may help placate financial aspects of clean power

The Rural Energy for America Program will cover approximately 25% of the costs associated with renewable energy projects in rural areas. The USDA expects that this program will help draw more attention to renewable energy and provide people and organizations with a away to adopt clean power without having to shoulder the entirety of the financial burden.

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USDA invests in smart grid infrastructure

USDA Smart Grid Infrastructure

USDA announces reaching financial goal for smart grid infrastructure

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it has reached its $250 million goal of improving the rural smart grids of the country. The agency has been keen to improve these grids for some time, hoping to better prepare them for the adoption of alternative energy systems. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack claims that taxpayers will see minimal cost in maintaining the smart grid infrastructure due to the fact that the agency was able to reach its financial goals.

Infrastructure has become a priority in the country’s energy plan

Modernizing the country’s energy grid has become a priority for the federal government. Alternative energy is becoming more common in the U.S. and, as such, the energy grid that was based around supporting fossil-fuel power systems is becoming outdated. The lack of an efficient and up to date energy grid means that much of the energy that is generated through renewable means is either lost or poorly used. Thus, a smart grid infrastructure is needed to make the adoption of alternative energy more viable and less expensive.

Funds to be used to update existing structure and develop new systems

The money obtained by the USDA will be delivered in the form of loans to companies interested in helping establish an efficient smart grid infrastructure. Companies in North Carolina, Minnesota, and Missouri have already committed to the effort and will receive funds from the USDA according to the work they are undertaking in this endeavor. Some of the money will be used to update existing infrastructure, while the rest will be used to develop new infrastructure that is specifically designed for alternative energy systems.

Infrastructure may make alternative energy more accessible

A smart grid infrastructure is expected to generate more momentum behind the adoption of alternative energy. Infrastructure has long been an issue that has kept alternative energy at bay in the U.S. The USDA believes that an appropriate support structure for alternative energy will make it easier for companies to break into the energy market and make renewable power more accessible to consumers, especially in rural areas.

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USDA researchers focus on unused land for alternative energy systems

Alternative Energy News

Availability of land an issue for alternative energy

As the U.S. becomes more interested in alternative energy, the issue of space is becoming problematic. For alternative energy systems like solar panels, large amounts of space are required. Unfortunately, the U.S. has a limited supply of suitable land for such energy systems. Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture may have found a solution to this problem. The agency has been looking into how to make use of land in a more efficient way and has targeted the country’s airports as promising hosts for alternative energy systems.

Airports could be an ideal host for solar and wind energy systems

Airports cover large expanses of land. The only land used by airports, however, is that used for runways, terminals and storage facilities. The vast majority of space that is allocated to a single airport is, therefore, excessive. USDA researchers believe that this land can be put to good use without disrupting an airport’s operations. Researchers have produced a report that suggests that this land would be well suited to host solar and wind energy systems as well as biofuel production projects.

Airport energy systems could help wildlife survive and improve safety

The report indicates that the U.S. currently boasts of more than 1,200 square miles of unused land that is located at or around airports. Doctor Travis DeVault with the USDA believes that this land could be used to harbor wind and solar energy systems. Researchers suggest that alternative energy systems taking root in these areas could also have a beneficial impact on local wildlife while improving the safety of these airports. These systems could discourage wildlife from making their way into the airports and causing problems.

Land managers may not be accepting of new energy systems on unused land

This unused land is not without an owner, however, which may mean that alternative energy systems may never find their way to airports. Land managers are, in the past, been highly cautious of introducing anything that may affect local wildlife to the land around airports. USDA researchers note that if managers cannot be persuaded to be more accommodating of alternative energy systems, the land may continue to go unused for some time.

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