This story was originally published by States Newsroom and is reproduced here with permission.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin to administer two loan and grant programs worth nearly $11 billion to boost clean energy systems in rural areas, administration officials said Tuesday.
Congress approved the federal spending — $9.7 billion for a grant and loan program the department is calling the New Empowering Rural America program, or New ERA, and $1 billion for a Powering Affordable Clean Energy program that will provide partly forgivable loans — in the energy, health, and taxes law Democrats passed last summer.
The funding “continues an ongoing effort to ensure that rural America is a full participant in this clean energy economy,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters on a teleconference in advance of the announcement.
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