U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
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USDA has a Big Interest in Wind

USDA has a Big Interest in Wind

Date: 11/17/2010

Location: OH

Source: Stacia Cudd, National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service

Audio with Tony Logan, USDA Rural Development Director for the state of Ohio (MP3 1.1 MB) Download Windows Media Player. Time: 00:02:15.

USDA sees wind development as a driver for economic development in rural parts of the country for generations to come. USDA Rural Development Director for the state of Ohio Tony Logan explains.

"We think the installation, maintenance and supply chain manufacturing associated with wind can bring jobs to small towns. And of course the deployment of wind, both small wind and utility-scale projects, will provide new revenue streams to rural Americans in the form of both rents and royalties and of course increased energy savings."

That's why there are programs within the USDA Rural Development umbrella designed to support wind energy.

"Our Rural Energy for America Program, or the REAP program, is the best known of our funding programs under the Farm Bill titles. That provides loans and grants up to 25% of the project for wind projects. But we can also provide funding for communities and schools through the Community Facilities program, including Wind for Schools-type programs that benefit the community while providing educational outreach. And then our Rural Utilities Service can finance some of the larger wind-generation projects, both community distributed type winds and projects that are going through the rural electric co-ops or the investor-owned utilities."

Logan mentioned the Wind for Schools program, which all started with a pilot project in Colorado. Now more than 20 states are home to installed school wind projects. The program doesn't just help schools lower their electricity bills; it teaches students about wind energy.

"It's critically important that we acquaint our elementary and high school students with the basic merits of wind energy, along with solar, biomass and other renewable energy sources, and we're looking in Ohio at ratcheting up our Wind for Schools program to make that happen."

According to Logan, it's not just about preparing the next generation for wind industry jobs. He says the U.S. simply can't effectively compete in the world economy without this kind of outreach.

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This information was last updated on November 17, 2010