Iowa will take in a substantial chunk of money being distributed by the U-S Agriculture Department for energy efficiency projects. Bill Menner is the state director of the U.S.D.A.’s Rural Development office in Iowa.
Menner says it’s called the “Rural Energy for America Program” and it is intended to help rural businesses enhance energy efficiency and try new technologies. It includes wind turbines, geothermal projects and energy efficient grain dryers. Menner says there are a total of $62.5 million dollars in loans and grants in the program nationwide.
Menner says 25% of all the projects awarded nationwide are going to Iowa recipients. Menner says it’s a reflection in part on his staff and on the fact that “Iowans get it” when it comes to these type of projects. Menner says the projects vary. He cites a turkey producer in Aurelia, Russ Winterhof who is getting nearly $300,000 in grants and loans to put up two turbines to power his turkey operation and will save about $50,000 a year.
Menner says Winterhof will be able to pay off the investments in about five years. He says the rural areas have come up with a lot of ideas for projects. Menner says rural businesses and producers have embraced the renewable technology because of the impact on their operations. You can see a complete list of the projects on-line at the U.S.D.A.’s website.