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USDA Invests $15 Million in Climate-Smart and Resilient Infrastructure for Rural Communities in New Hampshire and Vermont

Members of the Breadworks team take a quick break from work in front of the bakery. (Courtesy photo: Orchard hill Breadworks)

$14.4 Million Funding for GoLight LLC Among Projects to Make Rural Communities More Energy-Independent

On December 06, 2021, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small announced the Department is investing $15 million to reduce the impacts of climate change on rural communities in New Hampshire and Vermont. With the enactment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and as part of the broader Build Back Better agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration has made investing in rural communities, creating good-paying jobs and combatting the climate crisis top priorities.

All of America depends on the success of rural America,” said Torres Small. President Biden is committed to helping people save money and find good-paying jobs while tackling the climate crisis and expanding access to renewable energy for rural communities in New Hampshire, Vermont and across the country. Thanks to the recent enactment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, USDA will be able to make the essential investments in climate-smart solutions that support rural communities on the frontlines of increasing natural disasters. These are investments we all need now, more than ever.”

Background:

Torres Small highlighted 20 investments that USDA is making in two programs specifically designed to help people and businesses in rural areas. These programs include the Electric Infrastructure Loan Program and the Rural Energy for America Program.

For example:

GoLight LLC will use a $14.4 million USDA Electric Infrastructure loan to construct seven solar arrays within Goffstown (2), Franklin (2), East Conway (1) and Pittsfield (2), New Hampshire. The projects will have a total rated capacity of 9.188 MWDC and they are expected to provide a net output of 6.75 MWAC. They will deliver power to Eversource Energy, a distribution utility that reduces electricity costs for its customers as older nuclear and fossil fuel plants are retired.

Orchard Hill Breadworks in Alstead, NH will use a $31,245 grant from USDAs Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to build a 32.5kW solar array where Owner Noah Elbers grandparents had lived since 1972. Before he repurposed the 19th-century barn on their property and turned it into one of Food & Wines 100 Best Bakeries in America,the structure had been a playland for him, his siblings and cousins. Read the Orchard Hill Breadworks USDA success story.

In Bethlehem, NH, the Profile School District will buy electricity at a discount from BP Profile, LLC, which will construct a 334-kilowatt solar array next to the school with help from an $80,000 REAP grant. The estimated 405,920 kilowatt hours generated per year is enough to offset nearly 100 percent of the school’s current electricity use and save it about $500,000 over 30 years.

Eden Sand & Gravel in Eden, Vt., will install a 778.4 kW ground-mounted solar array with help from a $250,000 REAP grant. The 897,500 kWh produced will generate enough to power 82 homes and provide over $150,000 in annual revenue to the company.

These investments will help build and improve rural electric infrastructure and connect residents to affordable and dependable power. They will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. They will also help transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities offer higher ethanol and biodiesel blends to customers by sharing the costs to install fuel pumps, equipment and infrastructure.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high- poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways, transforming Americas food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate, smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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