The USDA is offering two loan and grant programs that could be used to start an electric co-op.

According to a Growing Produce article, “USDA will begin administering two loan and grant programs worth almost $11 billion to support clean energy in rural areas.” The article advises farmers to “use the loans to usher in more electric co-ops. Electric cooperatives are community-based organizations that provide members with electricity. Because the people who use their services own and govern the co-ops, they have a say in how the co-ops function. This local control allows members to make decisions that align with specific needs in the community.” See the details below.

Electric Co-Op Details

The article shared the details of the loans and grants that those in agriculture could utilize to start an electric co-op. They are:

  • “New ERA: The New Empowering Rural America (New ERA) program — part of the Inflation Reduction Act — will allocate $9.7 billion for rural Americans to transition to clean, reliable energy. It provides funding for member-owned rural electric co-ops, and aims to reduce air and water pollution, lower energy costs and improve health outcomes. The New ERA program is the largest investment in rural electricity since the 1936 Rural Electrification Act.”
  • “PACE: Congress also approved $1 billion for the Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) program. Under PACE, the Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service will forgive up to 60% of wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydropower renewable energy projects loans.”

See the article for more information.

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