USDA Rural Development has selected 68 study grants for funding nationwide to determine the feasibility of renewable energy projects. In all, studies will be funded in 27 states and the Western Pacific through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) under the 2008 Farm Bill.

“The Obama Administration is committed to helping our nation become more energy independent by helping rural businesses build renewable energy systems,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These investments will not only help our farmers and small businesses reduce energy costs, but also help find renewable alternatives to generate energy.”

One of the 68 projects chosen is at a ranch in San Fidel, NM owned by the Gilbert R. Gutierrez Family Limited Partnership, which will receive $8,978. The project will study the feasibility of creating wind, solar or hybrid energy to sell renewable energy to residents in western NM through a nearby grid near Grants, NM.

REAP loan guarantees and grants can be used for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies and energy audits. More information on the program, which was authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill, is at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ReapGrants.html. Information and an application can also be obtained at any USDA Rural Development area office or by calling the state office in Albuquerque at 505.761.4953.