A key area of focus from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, in recent years has bled into the world of energy and utilities, specifically in assisting the nation's rural population to fight climate change, increase energy resilience, and embrace new energy technologies that can bring commercial benefit. To highlight the efforts of USDA in these areas, specifically via the Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP, the latest Energy Central Power Perspectives Podcast featured a discussion with Bob Morgan of USDA and Greg Saubel, a business owner who benefitted from a REAP grant.
Having been involved in the $100,000 USDA grant to install solar panels on the roof of Greg's family-owned grocery stores, these two guests are perfectly positioned to discuss how critical these types of programs are, as well as the successful implementation process already in place. In highlighting the benefits to the rural areas of America for these opportunities, Bob notes:
Well, our recipients cover a wide spectrum of rural businesses from family farms and rural small businesses of all types. Most of the projects are ground mounted or roof mounted solar arrays, but with the ground mounted, generally speaking, we want to make sure that we can raise that above the ground because a farmer can't afford to give away a field for the purposes of hosting the solar array. So oftentimes you'll find animals underneath, grazing underneath those solar panels, because you just have to be able to do that to be as efficient as possible.
Our funds may be used for all other types of renewable energy systems, such as biomass, for example, biodiesel, ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels, geothermal for electric generation or direct use, hydropower projects for below 30 megawatts, so a rather small hydropower generation system, a hydrogen, small and large wind generation, small and large solar generation. Ocean related, although that really doesn't impact us too much in Pennsylvania, but funds may also be used for the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements such as high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, insulation to make the building use more efficient, lighting so that may include LED lighting, things of that nature, updated cooling, and refrigeration units, new doors and windows, and electric, solar, and gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots. So it's a program with a pretty broad use.
This entry into the podcast, like all of the series episodes, can be found on all major podcast outlets, including iTunes and Spotify, or it can be listened to directly on the Energy Central platform. Give it a listen and share your reaction in the comments.
Episode #79: 'Bringing Home the Rural Energy for America Program' with Bob Morgan of USDA and Greg Saubel of Sabuel's Markets [an Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast]
About Energy Central Podcast Series:
The ‘Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast’ features conversations with thought leaders in the utility sector. At least twice monthly, we connect with an Energy Central Power Industry Network community member to discuss compelling topics that impact professionals who work in the power industry. Some podcasts may be a continuation of thought-provoking posts or discussions started in the community or with an industry leader that is interested in sharing their expertise and doing a deeper dive into hot topics or issues relevant to the industry.
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The Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast is hosted by Jason Price, Community Ambassador of Energy Central. Jason is a Business Development Executive at West Monroe, working in the East Coast Energy and Utilities Group. Jason is joined in the podcast booth by the producer of the podcast, Matt Chester, who is also the Community Manager of Energy Central and energy analyst/independent consultant in energy policy, markets, and technology.
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