June 2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) workable guidance for electric co-ops seeking to access $9.7 billion in energy innovation funding was released in mid May.

“This is an exciting and transformative opportunity for co-ops and their local communities, particularly as we look toward a future that depends on electricity to power more of the economy,” National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jim Matheson said. “USDA has smartly structured this program in a way that will help electric co-ops leverage new tools to reduce costs and keep energy affordable while meeting the future energy needs of their rural communities. I’m grateful to USDA for listening to us throughout this process and for settling on rules that ensure the program is flexible and accessible to all electric cooperatives.”

NRECA worked to help shape the program, which was passed by Congress through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). It is designed specifically for electric cooperatives interested in purchasing or building new clean energy systems and will be administered by USDA’s Rural Utilities Service.

A wide range of eligible projects — including renewable energy, storage, nuclear, and generation and transmission efficiency improvements — allows each cooperative to determine its path based on its unique circumstances. Co-ops will be eligible to receive a grant for as much as 25% of their project cost, with a maximum amount of loans and grants limited to $970 million for any one entity. — NRECA

Category: News & Notes

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