USDA to Award $10 Million to Rural Areas With High Energy Costs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that they are seeking applications for grants to offset high energy costs in rural areas.

The High Energy Cost Grant program will have up to $10 million for grants to state and local governments and nonprofit agencies to acquire, construct, extend, upgrade, or otherwise improve energy generation, transmission or distribution facilities. Grants may also be used to install on-grid and off-grid renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements. Eligible projects must be in communities where the average residential home energy expenditure is at least 275 percent of the national average.

According to USDA:

This program helps to offset extremely high household energy costs in areas where local conditions cause energy costs to exceed 275 percent of the national average. This type of assistance increases economic opportunity and the quality of life in rural communities nationwide by maintaining a seamless electric network for all Americans, regardless of where they live.

For the purposes of this program, the high energy cost benchmarks effective for 2021 High Energy Cost Grant Funding Opportunity Announcement:

  • Electricity  $3,779 ($0.3627 per kilowatt hour)
  • Natural gas  $1,639 ($30.06 per thousand cubic feet)
  • Fuel oil  $3,317 ($7.10 per gallon)
  • LPG/propane  $1,843 ($5.25 per gallon)
  • Total household energy $5,104 ($66.19 per million Btu)

Applications are due by July 6, and more information can be found on the program’s page.