USDA invests $2.5 million into rural Coloradan community infrastructure


FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2017 file photo, a petroleum industry storage tank borders a ranch, left, near a drilling rig, right, with the Front range of the Rocky Mountains rising up in the background, near Mead, Colo. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)

DENVER – United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the Department is investing $633 million to reduce the impacts of climate change on rural communities.

“Rural America is on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen all of our resilience,” Vilsack said. “President Biden has created a roadmap for how we can tackle the climate crisis and expand access to renewable energy infrastructure, all while creating good-paying jobs and saving people money on their energy costs. With the Build Back Better agenda, USDA will be able to fund more and more critical projects like those announced today in the coming months and years.”

USDA Rural Development Colorado State Director Armando Valdez said, “The investments announced today will strengthen and enhance Colorado’s communities by promoting energy efficiency and increasing renewable energy production leading to rural sustainability. These projects showcase the initiative of entities across our state to provide clean energy infrastructure and reduce their carbon footprint.”

In Colorado, $2,567,234 in grants were awarded through the Rural Energy for America Program and the Higher Blends Infrastructure Initiatives Program.

The REAP program offers funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. In total, the energy saved through these projects is equivalent to providing enough electricity to power nearly 1,100 homes.

The following entities were awarded REAP grants:

  • $5,900 to Dan Barger in Clark to purchase a new 8.37 kilowatt solar array for a business in Clark
  • $6,680 to Ridgway Veterinary, Inc to purchase an 8.32 kWh solar system solar array
  • $13,644 to Aspen Ridge Cabins, LLC in Southfork to replace windows and doors, replace and increase insulation, replace old heating/cooling and hot water systems in each cabin
  • $14,526 to Second Avenue Properties, LLC in Durango to purchase a 22.8 kWh solar array
  • $15,037 to Durango Nursery & Supply for a 22.04 kWh solar photovoltaic system at the nursery
  • $19,102 to J&K Venture Corporation, dba La Plaza Inn in Southern Colorado to purchase and install a 25.08 kWh solar array. 
  • $30,825 to Yoder Farms, LLC in Trinidad for a 33 kWh and 18 kWh solar array to offset the farm’s electricity costs
  • $31,125 to Malgosa, LLC for Fenceline Cidery in Mancos to install a 52 kWh roof mounted solar system.  
  • $46,425 to Telluride Storage, LLC to install a 80.3 kWh solar electric system to be interconnected with the San Miguel Power Association
  • $168,750 to Prowers Enterprises, LLC a USDA certified organic products business in Lamar to purchase and install a new 663,900 kWh solar system
  • $200,000 to Morwai Dairy, LLC for a new 869,360 kWh solar system on their barn in Hudson
  • $250,000 to Vasquez V, LLC in Platteville for a 4.8-megawatt solar array system

Sapp Bros Petroleum Inc., a fuel distribution facility, received a $1,765,220 grant through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. The monies will go towards the installation of a new dedicated biodiesel tank and associated pumping and piping system, biodiesel storage tanks and loading equipment as well as will convert a 200,000-gallon tank to hold biodiesel by adding insulation and heat trace piping at five locations in Colorado, Connecticut, Nebraska, and Wyoming. 

Vilsack highlighted 791 investments that USDA is making in five programs specifically designed to help people and businesses in rural areas which include Community Facilities Disaster Grants, Electric Loan ProgramRural Energy for America ProgramRural Energy Savings Program, and the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program.

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